Tibial Plateau Fracture Recovery Moving On With Life

My first post of the new year. Happy 2018 everyone! I’m glad I decided to journal my tibial plateau fracture recovery. I hope that it is helping those of you reading this in some way. I remember early on, I feverishly searched for blogs of people who had this injury who journaled their recovery. I’m so grateful to them for sharing their experience. Now, I will try to pay it forward as best I can.

It’s been seven and a half months since my open reduction internal fixation surgery. Life moves forward with or without pain. You can let the pain stop you or you can push through it and carry on with your life. I choose the latter.

You can live your life miserable and feel sorry for yourself, or you can choose to be happy. Remember, someone out there most definitely has it worse than you do!

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I learned this lesson somewhere around 5 weeks post op. I wasn’t even partial weight bearing yet and my boyfriend took me to the beach to get some fresh air and lunch by the ocean pier. As I was exiting the pier on my crutches, an older gentleman walked up behind me and said, “I’m glad you’re getting out.” Startled, I looked back to see who was speaking to me. The man proceeded to tell my boyfriend and I how he was swimming in the ocean one day and had a stroke in the water. He was paralyzed and couldn’t speak or move. He couldn’t call out for help and he said the beach was rather empty.

Can you imagine the horror of that? He continued with his story, “The ocean tide was coming in and the water was rising. Luckily, a passer by came and realized I was in distress and saved me.” At that very moment, I realized that if this man lived through that and overcame such a horrible ordeal staring death in the face, and rehabbing to walk and talk again, then I knew I most certainly could do the same. We chatted a bit more and he asked me what had happened to me. He left quite an impression on me.

I realized that someone always has it worse off than I do. I carried that story and lesson with me through out my recovery. Whenever I was having a bad day or found myself crying, thinking I would never walk again, I would remind myself of this run in with this man and readjust my attitude right quick. It’s funny how fate places someone directly in your path, right when you least expect it and need it.

I do something everyday to work on my recovery. Even at almost 8 months, I’m still healing and trying to build muscle back on my injured leg. It’s hard work. I walk as much as I can throughout the week and on weekends. I pedal my desk cycle under my desk at work when time allows, and if I’m sore from doing too much of one activity, I’ll work on something else. Like my core. Or maybe I’ll only have time to do some leg exercises for the day.

The point is, I work on my recovery every. single. day. I’m trying hard to avoid more surgery to have my hardware removed, but that is looking less and less likely as I am approaching the year mark. When I walk I have a constant tight feeling around my knee like someone is tightening a vice grip around it. Then there’s the tuning fork sensation that begins at my knee and resonates down my shin all the way to my ankle with every step that hits the ground.

I can’t say it’s painful but it is definitely uncomfortable, annoying, and unnatural. I feel that if this metal were out of my leg, that my leg would feel more like my own again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful my ever so skilled trauma surgeon and the metal did me a solid over this period of time, but now that my bone has healed, it’s time for it ta go!

I have overcome a lot since this horrible injury first happened on May 20, 2017. There have been many firsts…again. Like, how I taught myself how to walk again. I walk mostly without a limp or maybe a slight limp. I’m not sure anymore. Honestly, a limp doesn’t bother me because I’m just so grateful to be walking at all. I am back to going up and down the stairs at home alternating feet again, for the most part. Some days I’m just too doggone tired to walk up or down the stairs normal. All kinds of creaks, clicks, and pops go on when I descend the stairs.

Let’s see, there was the first shower standing up again and sleeping in a bed for the first time again. The list goes on and on. After I accomplish one goal, I set my sights on another. One of my goals was to get back on my bicycle. It doesn’t matter how one acquired this injury, there is always some post traumatic stress that accompanies it. Most physicians don’t address the emotional or psychological aspect of our injuries. They are more focused on the physical side of it. Rather, the more concrete side that they can see.

Unless you have this injury, it’s hard for others to truly relate and understand the struggles we go through. It’s weird but the PTSD will mess with your mind and try to stop you from doing a lot of things. Even if your injury didn’t occur from what you are afraid of. I was thrown off a run away horse, and I’ll probably never ride a horse again. I wasn’t in a motor vehicle accident, but I’m terrified to drive on any highways or express ways, but I do it, because I can’t let fear paralyze me. If I see a dog running full speed I get anxiety, thinking they will run into my knee. I’m afraid of falling down and breaking my leg again. All kinds of weird shit that my boyfriend thinks I’m crazy to think.

It makes you acutely aware of your surroundings at all times. I used to love riding my bike and now I’m frightened someone will hit me while I’m riding it.  I’m looking for a helmet to purchase to ride my bike now, which is something I’ve never worn before. It’s just stupid not to wear one. Especially, while riding in traffic.

Any how, I got back on my bike for the first time yesterday. I felt safe riding away from traffic, so we went to Everglades National Park to Shark Valley bike trail and took in the sights on the 15 mile round trip bike trail.

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You can get up close and personal with the alligators right along side the trail you are riding on. In fact, sometimes alligator tails are lying on the path and you have to avoid running over one!

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It’s amazing how close you can get to the wildlife. You most certainly need a healthy respect for it as well.

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I feel so grateful to be back doing some of my favorite leisure activities and rehabbing my leg at the same time. All that cycling at work must be paying off. We did about 12 miles of the 15 miles and my leg held up pretty well. My back and shoulders hurt more than my knee did. This is why it is so important to work on building those leg muscles back up.

My next goal to conquer is running again. It’s not that I want to run for exercise. I never enjoyed running and it’s so hard on your knees, I would just like to be able to run from danger…or a bee!

Heal on TPF friends! Heal on!

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8 Comments

  1. avatar

    I’m glad you commented because my feed reader didn’t update with this post! The PTSD is soooo real. I’m thinking I might see if I can find a therapist for it. I think I’m making improvement, but every once in a while an abnormal sense of panic swells out of nowhere. It’s SO GOOD to see you riding your bike!!! I hope that’s me by the time all of this snow melts.

     
    • avatar

      I can’t imagine having to contend with snow and ice.Trying to balance and walk upright is hard enough. I guess if I had to do it I would, but it would be one more fear to add to my already full plate. Spring will be here before you know it. By summer it will be way too hot here to walk outside let alone ride a bike. I have to take advantage of the cool weather while I can.

       
      • avatar

        Your injury and recovery has mirrored mine so much! I’m coming up on 4 years and I’m still pushing to keep getting better! I’m never satisfied! PTSD is horrible and very real but thankfully there is help. Keep working hard!

         
  2. avatar
    Susan Voss-Crossette

    Thank You for sharing your journey.
    You have encouraged me to live life to the fullest as I had the same injury and are x-rays look identical. This is my first NWB week using a walker graduating to a cane next week.
    Surgery 12-13-16.

    Thank You Again for your upbeat attitude & active videos.

     
    • avatar

      Congratulations on WB! I was wondering about your surgery date. That would have been a super long time to be NWB, but some have other medical issues that accompany TPF. You seem right on the normal schedule for WB. Wish you all the best!

       
  3. avatar
    Susan Voss-Crossette

    Surgery 12-13-17

     
  4. avatar

    You have no idea how much it helped me to read your story. I fell off my porch and got an almost identical injury as yours. I was 71 years old when this happened. I still have the metal in my leg and my doctor tells me that he doesn’t want to remove it because I have osteoporosis in my femur and my tibia is very soft too. It has been a year and a half and I am walking without a cane, however, it has been a real struggle to walk again. My doctor never expected me to even walk with a cane. I still have to go up the stairs one at a time because of so much muscle atrophy in my calf. I also have a metal screw in my ankle, (same leg) and have developed tendonitis in my heel. I believe that I also have some damage to my ACL. When talking to the doctor about it he says the tendon was stretched rather badly because the bones were so displaced and hanging off to the side of my leg from the fall. He had to use an external fixiter to hold the bones in place for a couple of weeks before he performed the second surgery to put the IML in place. Your X-rays look identical to mine. I joined a gym and I am up to 14 minutes on the stationary bike. I know what you mean by pain in your back. I discovered that it was mainly caused by not being able to stand up straight, so I am working very hard on standing and walking with my back very straight. I get a thumping sensation in my knee when I walk that drives me crazy, but it seems to be getting less as time goes on. The doctor seems to think it is because the cartlidge is damaged and I am pretty much bone on bone. Again, thanks for sharing your story. It has helped me tremendously.

     
    • avatar

      Linda, I’m so sorry for your injury. You sound like you have a come a long way. I do love it when we prove our surgeon’s wrong. I wish you all the best in your continued recovery.

       

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