After 8 months walking around in my air cast moon boot like Neil Armstrong, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am almost too scared to write this blog as to jinx the current spell of good luck I seem to be experiencing. It has been over 6 and a half weeks since my surgery to pin my left ankle – something I now wish I had underwent months ago. There was a little bit of confusion and mixed communications regarding my recovery, which you can imagine, is extremely frustrating. I had a face to face consultation with the surgeon who told me the time scales he felt were necessary. Unfortunately for whatever reason, British Athletics and subsequently the physio i’ve been seeing, had slightly different time lines. For me being stuck in the middle, it was extremely frustrating. I wanted to go with what the surgeon had told me but felt like I was continually being held back. However at the same time, I understand their concerns and I didn’t dare make a mistake – I can’t risk this going wrong. If the bone decides to not heal, I will have to undergo surgery to remove bone from my hip and graft into the ankle – obviously this would scupper any plans of racing next year and the recovery time would be doubled. Eventually, a decision was made to send me to the Intense Rehab Unit at Bisham Abbey for the week.
At first, I was a little apprehensive as I had got myself into a routine at home, alone and selfishly didn’t want to disrupt that. Thankfully, I decided to go and it has been one of the best decisions i’ve ever made. I hopped into Bisham like a shit version of skippy the kangaroo, still partially on crutches and have waltzed out in trainers (almost.. I still have to wear the boot for walking outdoors or any length of time etc..for the next week.) It was such a huge progression and more than I ever could of dreamed.
I also had a routine X ray at 6 weeks and the chance to interrogate my surgeon with questions once more. He was amazing and filled me with such confidence that this was finally the end of this seemingly never ending saga. He told me to ditch the crutches instantly and start weaning myself out of the boot over the next 10 days. He also stated that the pins and the scan all looked perfectly fine and that this whole escapade would ‘be totally fine’. BE TOTALLY FINE. Those three words, as soon as they came out of his mouth, almost had me in tears. I felt like jumping out my chair and hugging him but realised that would be a little inappropriate so I played I cool (whilst my brain was having a serious party.). I truly hope everything is fine and I can continue progressing forward but I am aware that nothing ever comes easy and that it remains to be a long process. Sitting at 6kg over my normal weight, I feel like a small Shamu (the whale) – Disney World will be trying to trap me in a tank as their newest attraction.. But joking aside, I know as soon as I commence training again my weight will regulate. It’s not that I look fat but i’m ‘soft’, like a big tub of lard. With very little muscle previously, whatever I did have has still managed to disintegrated into skin, bones and blubber. Starting back training is going to horrific but i’m so excited by the prospect!
Video from East Manchester Leisure Centre (forgot to film at Bisham!)
Bisham Abbey overall was brilliant and I couldn’t fault my experience. On my second day, I was almost beaten to death with 3 cardio sessions, 2 circuit sessions, physio and rehab drills. Considering I had spent a month lying in the same position on the sofa, eating chocolate raisins by the dozen, with never ending Netflix episodes, it was a little bit of a shock to the system. By 9pm, I was in bed and almost delirious. I had a small sprint session on the watt bike, a smaller session on the Ski Erg machine (which is a ski machine but arms only) followed by 45 minutes aqua jog in an endless pool – MUCH harder than normal aqua jogging I must add! My heart rate hit 192 on the bike which is pretty high considering I was only on there for about 15 minutes!
The next morning, it was a small miracle, that not only had I survived through the night but that I could walk. My ass was cramping every time I moved. I felt J’Lo, Kim K and Beyonce’s pain – my arse felt the size of the moon. I realised then that I do in fact have muscles hiding underneath all this skin -brushing my teeth, putting my shoes on, eating; were all major tasks for the day. However, the ABSOLUTE worst is knowing you have to repeat it all again – EVEN though your body is screaming with every step – ‘STOP IT YOU SILLY B*£$%’.
I was extremely nervous commencing the circuit in trainers and putting full weight through my foot as it was only just two days ago, I was still hopping around and balancing on one leg like a professional flamingo but the team fill you with huge confidence and keep such a close eye on you, throughout the day. Every day is regimented and all three athletes (that are admitted for the week) get a strict timetable. Breakfast at 8am, monitoring 8.30am (which includes urine sample, sleep monitor and a daily assessment sheet to mark where you feel they have broken you the previous day, fatigue scores etc), then the day takes hold from 9am till 4pm. Massage, physio, S&C, fitness, psychology, nutrition, doctor are all slotted in throughout the week. As you can imagine, by the time 4pm comes around, you crawl back to your room, slump on the bed and count down the hours until food. Even though they beat me to within an inch of my life – I couldn’t thank the team enough for looking after me this week and was sad to be leaving. The only issue I have now is finding where all my left shoes are! They must be in pristine condition!
The journey begins!