2011 wrapped up with a BANG! Actually it was a crack... a series of 3 cracks. We had moved to Bellingham August 1st and 2 short weeks later, I had an accident backpacking around beautiful Mt. Baker. I broke my lower leg, dislocated my ankle, and ruptured the ligaments in my ankle. My incredible partner, Erica, immediately began triaging my injuries, splinting them, made camp in a safe location and kept me from going into shock. I had to spend the night on the mountain before Erica hiked out the next morning for help. That afternoon, I was rescued by helicopter and taken to the hospital. (The photo above is awaiting the helicopter with my leg splinted - the mountain was my pain medicine) I'd never sustained an injury this extensive before, and was upset that I wouldn't be able to check off one of my goals in life - to never have surgery. The surgery placed a plate and 6 six screws in my fibula (the outer leg bone in the lower leg) to repair a spiral fracture, a screw to hold my tibia and fibula together because of a ruptured ligament, repair other ruptured ligaments, and reduce the dislocation. I was non-weightbearing for 10 weeks, in a number of casts, and wheeled around on a knee scooter. I come from a long lineage of women who have shown great resilience throughout all types of difficult situations in life. My time to tap into my genetic make-up was now. I had to first learn the lesson of patience. Then, to ask for help. It was a humbling time for me. It wasn't all easy and around the 8th week I began to grow tired of not being active. I wasn't the easiest person to be around at moments. I had set-backs like not being able to push the clutch of the car I hadn't been able to drive. Without Erica, I wouldn't have been able to heal or do anything for myself.
Why am I sharing this story? Because after all the years I have been rehabilitating people from injury I had never sustained a life-altering one myself. And now that I am on the other side of it, I feel it's made me a better athletic trainer. I have a new appreciation for all the day-to-day details which are affected by making accommodations. I have watched my advice and techniques work for others for years. It was time I listened to it and trust now. The first piece of advice I took from myself was to have someone else treat you. I went to physical therapy for 6 weeks until I had to switch insurance companies. At that point I began to follow my own rehabilitation plan. I'm now 21 weeks post-surgery and am up to 4 miles of trail walking, swimming, and stair climbing fairly comfortably. I plan to begin snowshoeing this beautiful backyard we call Mt. Baker very soon! The progress is gradual and continuous and will be a full 12 months.
I started school for massage therapy in September. I will be adding massage to my athletic training practice. It's a natural compliment to rehabilitating active people with injuries. In late July of this year I'll be able to start practicing as a massage therapist. I am so excited to begin helping people in the Bellingham community stay healthy and recreate and compete at a high level. All of my years of working in physical therapy, high school, and the Division 1 level of athletics has all prepared me to start this new chapter with massage.
Please continue to stop by my blog site to pick up some tips, learn about new concepts, and share your thoughts and ideas. I look forward to working with the physicians, occupational, massage, and physical therapists in Whatcom County to keep you healthy and successful!