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Friday before the weekend I had a PT visit with Jacquie. My appointments are always at 7:30am, and begin the same each time. I head in and warm up for 5 minutes on the exercise bike, then stretch and use the foam rollers. At some point in this process Jacquie appears and asks if things have gotten better / worse etc. Usually I respond that things are more of the same, a good day here, a bad pain day there. I think it threw her off that I said they’ve been fine. I’ve been biking minimally, swimming regularly, and doing stretches and exercises daily. That’s not to say that I think I’m all better, my knee still throbs a bit before I stretch, or when I’m going down stairs, but things seems to be normalizing at the level of activity that I’ve been maintaining for the past few weeks.
To celebrate this minor victory and enjoy the (relatively) warm and sunny afternoon on Sunday, I rode to the grocery store to pick up the week’s supplies. The store is less than a mile away, so if things got bad, I could just walk it in a pinch.
I made it to the store in no time, and continued on another mile just for the sake of it. I remember why I am drawn to jogging and biking, but often have to force myself to go swimming. I love that cold feeling in my lungs as I’m riding downhill, and the warmth of the sun. I had to reason with myself for a mile before practicality won the conversation and I turned around. I woke up and swam this morning without incedent or stiffness. I’m very relieved and reinvigorated…I really needed this boost of confidence that I’m progressing, as well as the reminder of what I’m getting myself back into shape for.
There’s still snow on the ground, but my knees are feeling stronger and the sun is shining. I think a short ride may be in the cards today. Wish me luck!
because I sure as hell have missed you all. It’s been a little batty lately. I had a great Christmas and New Year’s, which feels like it was so long ago. Emily and I went on vacation out to North Adams, MA to visit Mass MoCA, which you can read all about here.
I know you’re dying to hear about my knees, which are slowly improving. I have been biking fairly minimally, and am still waiting until spring to jog. Swimming has been improving, which has been a wonderful way to start my morning. When I began a month ago, I could hardly make it one pool length without gasping for air as soon as I touched the wall. Now I am swimming a full lap without stopping, and am building my lung strength (and moreso my confidence) and this week am planning to try for two laps without stopping.
Jacquie and I are meeting once every other Friday basically just to check-in, but for the most part I am self-sufficient for the time being. I’m doing low-stress cardio (swimming & biking) and on my rest days, am doing fairly intensive quad, hamstring, and glute workouts with my theraband and foam roller.
New Year’s blogsolution: more frequent posts, shorter length, less complaining.
When I began this blog way back in March, I never really took into consideration what I would write about during the winter months. Granted there are many folks who ride through the winter, and to them my helmet is off. But me, once the freezing rain starts falling, I bring my steed inside, give it one last wash for the season, and retire myself to my indoor trainer. Knee injury aside, I probably wouldn’t be riding right now anyway, so what to write about? I could weave a tale about how exciting it is getting up early, watching the news on mute and putting in a few miles before work…but I’ll spare you.
In PT related news, I’m only going once every week or two, just checking in with Jacquie as we slowly build my quads without flaring up my patella tendon. I’ve been swimming, which is kicking my ass. I thought that being a reasonably in-shape person would transfer to being able to swim pretty well of f the bat, but this is no where near truth. I can barely swim freestyle down and back without stopping, and feel sore in muscles I didn’t really even know I was using. The instep of my feet, my fingers, and pretty much every muscle that has gotten lazy on the upper half of my body. Basically I’m planning to keep doing what I’m doing until spring. Biking on the trainer will keep those muscles in use, and swimming is helping me mentally. I was getting a bit antsy and stir crazy not being able to bike or jog, so until the snow melts, I will just stick with what seems to be working right now.
My second opinion doctor agreed with the first opinion. That makes 3-2; 3 medical professions who think that the problem is solely weak quads and strained patella tendons / IT band vs 2 medical professions who think there is a small tear in my meniscus. Good news?! I guess we’ll just trudge along working on quad strengthening and loosing up some exhausted tissue in my legs. As a part of this process, I’ll be receiving doses of dexamethasone via iontophoresis. Don’t know what either of those things are? That makes two of us, so let’s do some learning:
from the always accurate, never skewed Wikipedia:
Iontophoresis is a non-invasive method of propelling high concentrations of a charged substance, normally medication or bioactive agents, transdermally by repulsive electromotive force using a small electrical charge applied to an iontophoretic chamber containing a similarly charged active agent and its vehicle.
To clarify, one or two chambers are filled with a solution containing an active ingredient and its solvent, termed the vehicle. The positively charged chamber, termed the anode will repel a positively charged chemical, while the negatively charged chamber, termed the cathode, will repel a negatively charged chemical into the skin.
Ooooooooh, now it’s crystal clear. What’s that you say? You think that sounds a lot like a transdermal patch? “Unlike transdermal patches, this method relies on active transportation within an electric field. In the presence of an electric field electromigration and electroosmosis are the dominant forces in mass transport”
So that’s ionto, the process, but what about Dexamethason, the actual drug I’ll be receiving into my body via electrodes and wizardry? Well, it’s an anti-inflammatory which packs 60 times the punch of a cortizone shot. I’ll be attaching the negatively charged pad to my patella tendon, directly below my left knee, and the positive charge will be on a pad stuck to my left thigh. This is, without a doubt, the strangest thing I’ve ever had my body hooked up to, and it’s too soon to tell the breadth of the benefits yet.
Still curioius about dexamethason or iontophoresis? (I know you are) Turns out a Polish cross country skiier was disqualified and issued a 2 year suspension for her doping use of dexamethasone back in 2004. Uhhh?
shared by Brenda
My bike has been preserved for the ages on Old Ten Speed Gallery. I realized that I haven’t every posted photos up here other than a few over my handlebars, so go over to OTSG to check out the old girl. While you’re there, I know a lot of you out there are riding old ten speeds, go ahead and send yours in for eternal documentation and mild smarminess.
For some reason when I’m not biking as much, my desire to buy cycling paraphernalia has grown. Distance makes the heart grow fonder I guess. I am often tempted to pick up a new helmet, maybe some some new tires, and I’ve even been considering getting a new bike (GASP). I do love my bike, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder if that’s because I haven’t ridden anything but it in so long and don’t know what I’m missing.
New England was made for Autumn, and Autumn for New England. We survive the winters and thaw into the spring, which is lovely as well, but the clear sunny days are few and far between before the warm spring days turn into muggy summer weeks. But Fall…the air is crisp, threatening to get chilly, but the sun has been so warming and the sky so clear. I took yesterday’s great weather as an opportunity to go for a short (therapist approved) ride. I made my way over to Lynch Park, where I stopped a bit and envied all the folks walking their dogs around.
Come spring, and presuming my knees are back to full capacity, I will be taking the train to work in the morning, and then riding the 15 miles back in the evening. My friend Jay can think of nothing he would like to do less than ride for an hour on a Wednesday evening, but for me there’s not much I would rather do. I have been hypothetically planning my route; trying to decide if main roads or back ways would be my best bet, and landed on taking Rt 127 all the way from Gloucester to home.
This would make for an easy, direct, and beautiful ride but I had never actually been on Rt 127 on a bike, in a car, or otherwise. All of the locals that I explained my ride to advised against it, saying the road was too narrow, cars move too quickly, and that it would generally be unsafe. Turns out they’re really just trying to keep me out of their hair. In this part of the world, there are not many roads I can think of that are better suited for riding. The speed limit is 30mph, there is a big tasty shoulder, and road parking is forbidden for the whole way I traveled.
There were dozens of other cyclists out yesterday, and to my shock and awe many of them acknowledged me and a few even waved back. My leg-benders felt great yesterday, but have been complaining a bit today. I have the next couple days off from riding, so we’ll see how they feel riding over to therapy Wednesday morning.
This week I have been giddy with excitement. The kind that sort of embarrasses me when I realize how glad I am to get to ride tomorrow morning. Upon Jacquie’s suggestion, I tried to go for a jog last weekend and didn’t make it more than a block. I was feeling the same excitement that I do now; glad to get outside and get moving. Emily came with me for moral support, and after jogging around the corner I had to stop. The pain wasn’t any worse than it had been earlier this summer, but I knew well enough not to push it. In June when I had pain like this I would just ignore it and run through it, knowing that after a half mile or so it would go away.
I partially feel like suggesting I go jogging was a clever way to trick me into realizing that even though we’re making progress in my knee rehabilitation, I’m not ready to jump back in. Luckily when I told Jacquie about the pain, rather than advising I take another few weeks off, she took to my suggestion that I could ride to our appointments as a warm-up. It’s only 1.5 miles, totally flat, I’ll take it easy I promise. I tried not to push too hard or seem too excited by the thought, that somehow the suggestion is so fragile that it would smash if I try to force it.
I can’t help but feel a bit silly about my injury. I realize it isn’t anything TOO serious, but still. Thousands of people ride their bikes each day, many of them riding more miles with less experience and conditioning…so what did I do wrong? I expect it was all those days I got lazy and didn’t stretch before riding home from work, or having never gotten a bike fitting. But I am not alone! Yesterday I found Chris‘ page. Finally, someone who is a more experienced rider having the same troubles as I am. I hate to say it, but misery loves company, but at least I’m in good company.