I broke my leg! :(

AnneGenevieveS
AnneGenevieveS Posts: 469 Member
edited August 2023 in Motivation and Support
This was supposed to be my comeback year. A few years ago, I struggled with several physiological issues (thyroid, arthritis, etc) that contributed to weight gain, as well as depression and anxiety. I have been pushing myself to get back in shape, and I started therapy to work through some emotional things I had refused to face until now. I completed my first half marathon in May with a stress fracture in my foot (didn't know it at the time), and although I was at my highest weight ever (230), I had started to make progress and was down 20 pounds.

A week ago today, I was at a 5K, we were running through the woods, through mud, and over obstacles. I was going strong and jumped down from something that was only a couple feet high, and... my leg snapped in 3 places on my tibia and fibia. It was excruciating.

I am supposed to be non-weight-bearing for 12 weeks. It's only a week later, but I'm so worried that I'm going to go backwards. I don't want to lose the strength that I rebuilt so far. I feel helpless because I can't get around the house. I feel dizzy and nauseous every time I get up to hobble a few feet to the bathroom with a walker. I know this will get better with time, but it's so frustrating right now.

Have you been through something similar and have any advice for me and the road ahead? I would also like to connect with some new friends who are struggling (for any reason) or have been through an injury too (past or present). This is going to take a much different approach than I am used to. Instead of pushing through and ignoring pain, I am going to have to allow myself time to heal, go to physical therapy eventually, and find new, creative ways to stay strong in mean time.
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Replies

  • chris_in_cal
    chris_in_cal Posts: 2,082 Member
    Oh my oh my. I'm so sorry to hear that.

    Though it is a big big shocking setback, a tragedy really, you don't have to cave. A lot (most) do, but you don't have to.

    I plan on being here for the foreseeable future. Pick what you can do, tell us all, and at least I'll be here with support, encouragement, and accountability. Again, I'm so sorry to hear this.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 9,265 Member
    I feel with you! I've broken my proximal humerus 4x (yes, I do like puzzles, but...) in early December, also during running, and am only now getting better after two surgeries. It sucks to not be able to do anything. And it sucks not knowing how how healing will take. Have you considered a kneescooter? I heard those are quite good for just a bit more mobility. And one thing I've learned: Physio is super important. Do find a good pt once you're allowed to and do the exercises.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 9,265 Member
    I've bookmarked this thread and will see if you answer. If you want to complain, shout, get angry or anything please do here. I'm listening.
  • AnneGenevieveS
    AnneGenevieveS Posts: 469 Member
    Thanks Chris and Yirara!

    I have heard from several people that the knee scooters are great, but my cast goes from my toes to my knee, so I'm not sure how well I can bend my knee back. The back part of the cast touched my thigh when I bend a little. Right now I'm in a partial soft cast (back and sides are hard, but the front is partially open/padded to accommodate swelling). When I go for my appointment in a week, I'll ask about that. They will change up my cast at that appointment.
  • AnneGenevieveS
    AnneGenevieveS Posts: 469 Member
    I've also heard that you need 15-20 calories per pound, plus extra protein and calcium, in order to heal properly. That's 3000-4000 calories per day! I haven't been counting calories this last week, because it's been hard to eat. I feel so queasy all the time, but I'm trying to finish a good portion of protein (chicken, beans, cottage cheese, or lean pork) and fresh vegetables for dinner every day. I just have to graze on it and eat slowly to get it down. I'm also taking a multivitamin with iron and calcium supplements.
  • AnneGenevieveS
    AnneGenevieveS Posts: 469 Member
    I like the idea you both had to use this as a place to complain, talk, celebrate... I am sure others will face /have faced a similar challenge, and maybe they can read through this thread to help them on their journey.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 9,265 Member
    *hugs* I can somewhat comment on nutrition. I found that when I broke my shoulder I needed about 1/3 more calories than normal for more than a month. I lost weight like crazy until I ate more. But that went down again after a while. I also took additional calcium with vitamin C and vitamin d, and some magnesium at a different time of the day. I have no idea whether it helped for healing but my doctor was impressed on how quick it went. Mind you, I have no problems with kidney stones. Wishing you a very swift healing. I know it sucks, and I would rather not do this again. Big hugs.
  • chris_in_cal
    chris_in_cal Posts: 2,082 Member
    Yes, please fire away. I hope you can yell out all the disappointment, pain and frustration, and be an absolute focused killer, on healing, proper nutrition, physical therapy. Like a superhero movie, where you come back better and stronger, but with an edge....exhale out the bad, inhale in the health and strength.
  • AnneGenevieveS
    AnneGenevieveS Posts: 469 Member
    My family always jokes that I'm a plant. Give me water and sunshine, and my happiness grows. Before I broke my leg, I had been walking almost every day. My husband also started going on walk/jogs with me, and we would usually go to the park and watch the birds and animals. Well, I figured that all of this was over for now... but no. My husband helped me into the wheelchair and pushed me around the entire walking path. His idea. I was worried he would get tired, but he made it around the entire 1.5 mile loop. I've been married to my husband for two years now. I feel so fortunate to have him in my life. 🩷
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 31,392 Member
    Yes, please do not try to lose weight while in the acute phase of healing! Maintaining weight - getting enough calories to heal, and ideally good nutrition - is a good goal. Healing well is job #1.

    I know that's frustrating, but I'm pretty sure you want to come back strong and capable. That's going to take calories and nutrition. Talk to your doctor about when it's reasonable to resume gradual weight loss. Take it slow until you're well healed.

    I suspect there will be some forms of upper body exercise you can still do, when you feel up to it.

    Best wishes for speedy and successful full recovery!
  • fittocycle
    fittocycle Posts: 824 Member
    I can certainly imagine how frustrating it must be for you! And I wish you speedy healing and a quick recovery.

    A year ago in February, I had a mid foot fusion. I was in a soft cast for a week, then a hard cast (up to my knee) for six weeks. Then I progressed to a walking boot (yay for being upright!) for for weeks. During that time, I was blessed by friends bringing meals to us. But it was a little tricky because I had almost no control over what I ate during that time. My husband brought me meals but I was at the mercy of whatever portion size he deemed appropriate! I"m pretty active so to be sidelines from workouts for 3-4 months was tough! I did buy a Pilates ring and used it to do upper body workouts. And I did a little chair yoga too. Mostly, I raced around the house on my knee scooter as much as I could. I did get up and use my crutches several times a day, even though I hated them. Tough to use but a great workout!
    When I could finally step on the scale several months later, I learned I had gained 2.5 pounds. Not bad when I considered that historically, I could gain that much over the holidays!

    Whatever you do, be patient with your recovery. Even after the cast is removed, it'll take time before you can get back to your workouts. Celebrate the small victories. Focus on eating as healthy as you can now. Skip the junk food and comfort food and eat to nourish your body. You'll heal faster and feel better mentally too!!

    Take care and take it easy!
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 31,392 Member
    Today I had to get to the ortho doctor unexpectedly (I called them about pressure and a burning feeling in my skin and incision, and they wanted me to get evaluated today), but I was not dressed. Well, sort of. I had on comfy pajama pants, but they have all sorts of holes and are not entirely appropriate for going in public. I wanted to change my pants and grab a sock for my good leg, but all of the clothes were upstairs. So, I hobbled to the stairs with my walker, and scooted up backwards on my butt with the walker in one hand. I managed to get to the landing and somehow got off the floor and back upright with the walker. I made it down the hall and sat in a chair which happened to be near a pile of clean laundry. I switched pants with some difficulty, but I got the pant leg over my foot and managed from there. Then back down the hall, scooted back down the stairs on my butt, just in time for my dad to arrive and give me a ride (husband and son were at work). I felt really guilty about asking for his help. I'm the one who helps everyone. I'm not supposed to be the one who ever asks for help. For some reason, I fear I'll be a looked at like a nuisance, or people will let me down, but that's another story for another day. So my dad took me to the giant healthcare/hospital complex. We ended up in the wrong parking garage and entered the adjacent building. There where no wheelchairs, so I had to hobble on the walker for a good while to the right part of the building. My hopping leg eventually got tired, but my dad found a wheelchair at that point. The ortho group cut off my splint/cast, and I had instant pain relief! The cast was too tight. They rewrapped me, and then I did a bit more jump-hobbling with the walker to the car after ditching the wheelchair again.
    It sounds silly, but I am pretty proud of myself! 2 days ago, I could only go about 5 feet before feeling like I was dizzy and sick. Today is totally different. I feel really good about how I was able to move today.

    Good show: That was a rough day, and you conquered it. I'm glad you found pain relief, too.

    But I want to say something about the bolded: I understand feeling like that, truly. This was a thing I heard from people in my breast cancer support group, when they really needed extra support, but were used to being the one giving.

    Here's the thing, though: In my experience, people who really care about us want to help us, and can feel less than ideal about themselves if they're always on the "taking help" side of things. For people of what I perceive to be a normal, mature outlook, helping us actually lets them feel better about themselves.

    Good people like giving to others. You do, right: Isn't that what you're saying here? Why would they feel differently?
  • AnneGenevieveS
    AnneGenevieveS Posts: 469 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    .
    For people of what I perceive to be a normal, mature outlook, helping us actually lets them feel better about themselves.

    Good people like giving to others. You do, right: Isn't that what you're saying here? Why would they feel differently?

    That's a really nice way to put it, and it's so true. I guess that's how you can see someone's character.

    My dad used to live pretty far away, and the only other family that I had around me could not be trusted to show up, or they'd act like they were inconvenienced. I only had myself to rely on for a long time, but my dad retired and moved back a few years ago. He is a really good man and dad, and I need to remember that he's here for me.

    This whole experience has showed me how much I'm loved. Brings tears to my eyes when I realize how blessed I am. I had no idea. I guess people all just go about their lives and we forget: forget that we are important and we forget to tell others they are important, because we assume they know. I'll have to write more about that tomorrow.
  • AnneGenevieveS
    AnneGenevieveS Posts: 469 Member
    Getting my cast adjusted yesterday was a game changer. The pain is so much better today. It's a night and day difference.

    I'm not feeling sick and dizzy anymore when I get up, and my appetite is coming back. Finally feeling like I'm beginning to heal!

    I'm starting to think about doing a little upper body tomorrow. I can actually move around enough now without feeling bad. If that goes well, maybe I'll add a bit of core. I just have to be careful with moving my leg until next week when they give me a full cast after the swelling has gone down.

    The hospital called us today about our experience in the ER. It felt very therapeutic to tell my story of how no one cleaned my IV when accessing it. They left me in pain without medicine for hours (they told me they were taking me straight to surgery, and then all of a sudden no one knew anything about me getting surgery and they "lost" my x-rays). The ortho resident started messing with my leg and re-dislocated my broken bones that had been set (reduced) and then he wanted to set them again without pain medicine or sedation. I was in so much pain that I started dry heaving, passed out, and lost bladder control from the horrendous pain. All I could do after that was lay there and cry, until another doctor stepped in and finally sedated me to reset my leg while I waited for surgery. I'm very thankful for being overall healthy, despite being over weight and temporarily busted. Who knows how many people are getting infections or dying there from poor care.
  • AnneGenevieveS
    AnneGenevieveS Posts: 469 Member
    edited August 2023
    Well, I had a good day, but here I am at 2:00 a.m., and I just can't get comfortable. The side of my leg feels irritated and burns. I'm waking up in sweats. My calf muscle is cramping. My foot feels like a giant bruise. My leg is definitely unhappy. Oh, this roller coaster.
  • chris_in_cal
    chris_in_cal Posts: 2,082 Member
    Such a difficult situation. Then throw in losing sleep.

    You will make it through. There will be healthy, happy, active, good days ahead. Just not so much today.

    You wrote about two good things: sunshine, and your husband. I hope you will prioritize the good thing. Tell that man you need :05 minutes of you time together out in the sun. The rest of the world can wait, while you get what you need.
  • AnneGenevieveS
    AnneGenevieveS Posts: 469 Member
    Today was rough. One side of my foot and leg keeps swelling and pushes into the new cast. It's a feeling like someone is continuously punching you in a bruise. While the rest of my leg is doing better, minus mild aching and nerve tingling, this swollen part is unrelenting. I know someone will say I shouldn't have (but too late, I did) I tucked some foam on either side of the worst swelling so hopefully that gives it some pressure relief. I hope I can sleep tonight.
  • AnneGenevieveS
    AnneGenevieveS Posts: 469 Member
    The foam has helped so much! The pressure is off the sore spots. I was finally able to sleep last night too. However, I had a dream and kicked out my leg in a stepping motion against a pillow, and that hurt! Thank goodness it was just a pillow.

    I am almost out of prescription pain medicine, and it seems that this trendy paranoia about opioid addiction, means that they won't give anyone more than a week of pain medicine after surgery anymore. My husband was talking to his dad about how he worried about me being in pain. His dad had shoulder surgery not too long ago, and offered to give me his pain medicine (I know, but wait for it...). He told me the name of the pain medicine, and I could not understand what he was saying. Tracnitrcjkued-a-something. What? I told him to spell it, and he spells it: Terazosin.... It's for your prostate. 🤣 Very sweet that he wanted to help me, but my prostate is doing good right now. Poor guy, I didn't want to embarrass him, so I told him that I think it's an antihypertensive (which it is), and that his doctor probably wants him to take it himself. ha ha ha ha.