Thursday, 2 January 2014

Happy New Year 2014 !

Gosh, 2014 already & in April it will be the third anniversary of my injury. I have been seeing posts from other Lisfranc victims via the Facebook page; www.facebook.com/LisfrancFractureClub & I often see questions & enquiries from newly injured people on long term pain, shoes etc. This got me thinking about how my situation has progressed & I remember only too well the uncertainty I felt & misery of the constant pain during the recovery process. I also remember the despondency that I felt when even 18 months later I still experienced severe pain after walking or being on my feet for a period of time. The doctors were reluctant to speculate on my prognosis, I think that this is probably something that most Lisfranc sufferers experience at some point from their medical team. I have had to work quite hard in the gym, with physiotherapists & personal trainers to rebuild the muscle & tendon strength etc lost during the none & partial weight bearing period of recovery. At times this has been embarrassing, frustrating & quite frankly slightly depressing, but interestingly the by product of this work has definitely been a significant reduction in the pain.
I still have the pins & a plate in my mid foot & I had a cuneiform fusion, whilst I do sometimes experience tenderness in my 3rd & 4th metatarsal joints I can confidently state that I am pain free most days. If I know that I will be on my feet for a long time then I prepare with perhaps taking with me a second pair of shoes & some Ibuprofen as I know I'll need to manage my foot. However the period of time involved has lengthened considerably from around an hour or so 18 months ago to 3-4 hours now. To be clear this is normally standing or walking in a court shoe on a hard floor surface, or walking quite vigorously. In thicker soled footwear or on softer surfaces I can be pain free for longer. I walk at a normal pace again these days & can even run if I want to. I won't be entering any marathons anytime soon though :-) Not that I wanted to run a marathon even before the foot !
I would advise anyone with this injury to seek expert help & advice on the physical rehabilitation as it will help you to get the best results possible. I am planning to go skiing again in a couple of weeks, this time for a whole week. I recently purchased my own ski boots with a custom fit boot liner so that should help too. I have had 19 sessions with a personal trainer to help me prepare for skiing. We have focused on weight bearing strength, lower back strength, hip, knee & ankle flexibility as well as upper body. At one stage I was leg pressing 120 kilos ! It has been hard, I have had to step outside my comfort zone & push myself to beyond it.
I can also wear high heels again, a two inch heel to work for most of the day is quite comfortable now anything higher is for special occasions only ! Stilettos are tricky, wedges or thicker heels work better I find as there is more support incorporated within the shoe design. The happy feet insoles I previously mentioned are also worth a try, the good thing about those is that you can insert them into any shoe & improve your comfort pretty much instantly.
Anyway this update may help I hope, don't give up it does get better !
Special shoes ! Not bad for a girl with a broken foot :-)




Tuesday, 23 July 2013

My own home !

In four days our solicitor will hopefully complete our purchase of 1 Lilac Cottages. Finally after over 10 years of living on my own in rented accommodation I will actually own bricks, mortar & all of the home that I'll be living in. It almost feels surreal right now, although I am packing up belongings in boxes it's almost like I'm doing it for someone else.......

In April 2011 when I fractured my foot & was diagnosed with the Lisfranc I felt like my life had been put on hold, like I was in pause mode whilst the world carried on. 2011 was to be one of the toughest years of my life as it turned out. But sitting here now, writing this latest post I'm glad to say it is firmly in the past & the emotions have now subsided into an almost melancholy memory. I finally feel like I'm back, life is progressing, I'm ticking the boxes on my bucket list (not that I intend to go anywhere soon), doing things that I enjoy & I've learnt to live with the foot.

I saw Bruce Springsteen play live last weekend in Cork, Ireland. I managed to stand for the whole 3 1/2 hours that he was on stage, I then managed a 1 1/2 mile walk to get back to the town. The foot was sore, as it often is these days but it doesn't inhibit me anymore. I manage with anti inflammatory medication when I need it, rest & regular exercise. I still hope to recover further, cycling is by far one of the best methods of exercise for the foot & my health that I have taken up since the foot. I strongly recommend it if like me your consultant advises you against high impact exercise like running or racket sports.

I have found an insole that is really working for me, they take some getting used to but the cushioning they provide definitely reduces the soreness in my foot. Particularly in the 4th metatarsal area where I still have the pin & plate. You can machine wash them, use them in almost any shoe & they are a lot cheaper than an orthotic. What are they you ask ? HAPPY FEET !
Take a look at their web site; http://www.happyfeet.net/ a work colleague recommended them to me & well all I can say is give them a try........

It's been a long hard journey for me, but I fought back & I've learnt a few things along the way. Without wanting to sound too philosophical my Lisfranc has been a life changing challenge, not all negative.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

42nd over the line !

                                          The sunrise over the solent 01/06/2013.

Well we did it ! Yacht Scream completed RTI 2013 in 6hrs 46 minutes, a record for the team. We had a really good start, crossing the line in about 5th position with ICAP Leopard. Of course ICAP quickly sailed off into the sunrise, we could only watch. ICAP is 100ft long & SCream a mere 37ft still managed 18knots boat speed down wind after we rounded the needles. Ben Ainslie started 10 minutes behind us & we watched him over take us in his BAR 45 ft Americas cup catamaran during our run up to the needles. The weather conditions were brilliant for SCream, we had the right amount of weight on board to be able to keep the boat stable during the 28 knot gusts that we saw around the back of St Catherine's point.
1459 yachts entered this years race, 1323 completed the race & Scream crossed the line 42nd ! Our handicap is harsh due to SCream being the only racing SC37 in the UK, maybe even Europe so after everyone had completed & the handicaps applied our corrected position overall is 201st. Best ever performance for the team so we celebrated with a glass of bubbly on the sail back to the berth in Hythe.
The foot held up well, I was overly protective in hindsight for most of the race, our run up to the forts was against tide & required several tacks to get us there. I had to move from the rail each time & the foot was fine. I was nervous as you'll see in the pic below, but despite the nerves I am so proud to have been part of this epic race & so ecstatic to be back out on the water............


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Freedom !

Where has the time gone ? It has been so busy & I can't believe it has been over 2 months since my last post ! Well as you can see from the pic above I made it to Morzine & I made it back- safely ! It all went quite well in the end. I was really nervous but my man & his boys were incredibly understanding & patient ! I booked another  2 hour lesson with an instructor at the start of the trip & she was great. Pushing me where necessary to bring me on but also understanding of my fear of injury. It was very tiring, without the gym I would never have managed it but it did pay off rather well. During the ski trip not only did I manage to get back to my beginner level that I was at before the Lisfranc, I then progressed & was managing a stable parallel ski technique with turns/stopping on the lovely blue runs that Morzine has to offer. I think the 4-5 day trip was about the right length for a starting point too. So all in all I was happy with that.
The foot was fine mostly, the legs ached as they do with skiing but it was all reassuringly normal :-) I even did a couple of easy Blue runs on my own whilst the boys were tackling the fearsome Reds & Blacks. I can recommend Morzine, a great French alpine resort with fantastic restaurants & beautiful runs. The transfer from Geneva airport is a reasonable 1hr trip by mini bus.
I have continued to work hard at the gym since being back, I've introduced some other exercises & I'm really enjoying walking & getting out & about now it's not so painful. I find my new found enthusiasm for walking  quite amusing as before my injury I'd walk but not really enjoy it. Perhaps it's linked to the whole fear of not being able to that I had throughout 2011 & most of last year. Either way I can & I very much enjoy it these days ! I have added a new page to the blog just explaining a bit about the exercises that I've done, I thought it might be of interest to someone who is wondering where to start :-)

I visited Newport beach, OC, CA & Glendale CA in April with my work colleagues. It was an absolute blast ! Never have I ever had so much fun on a work trip or been so well looked after. We hired bikes & spent a day on a bike ride/pub crawl all around Balboa Harbour & Newport beach, beautiful scenery & sunshine. Lunch was at Mutt Lynches that day, a great bar just off Newport Beach I think. We had a union jack handkerchief tied into a hat which we all took turns to wear...........
This certainly got us noticed amongst the residents ! I consider myself very lucky to be part of such a great team of people & to have such a fantastic job. I reminded myself of how brilliant my life is now so many times during that trip ! We must have ridden about 6-7 miles that day as well. The bikes were great fun, some were without brakes, you had to back pedal to stop, tricky after a few beers or when tying to stop in a hurry ! Another highlight for me was seeing a Sea Lion frolicking in the surf at the end of one of the piers, I'd never seen one so close & not in captivity so adorable to watch !
The following day we hired a boat & took a trip around the harbour & along the coastline, we were fortunate enough to catch 3 sightings of a whale ! Again so amazing & all of this before we started work.......... We spent 5 days working in Glendale after our weekend in Orange County, but it was worth it.
I planned a surprise weekend trip to Cornwall & Devon for my man just a couple of weeks ago for his birthday. Last year we also went but sadly I was on crutches following an inflammation of my mid-foot, so we took the opportunity to revisit the area this year & what a great time we had. We visited Exeter Cathedral, one of the greatest Gothic style cathedrals in Europe. It is magnificent with one of the longest uninterrupted Gothic vaulting in the world ! Then we travelled on to the Eden project at St Austell, & spent the evening in Carlyon Bay. The following day we moved on to Charlestown harbour which dates back to 1790 & was built by a private owner for the export of copper & china clay. What is remarkable is that the export of china clay still happens from Charlestown to this day, about 30-40 ships are still loaded from here each year. Films are filmed here, Dr Who was filmed here a couple of years ago & interestingly it was up for sale for £4.4m last year !
After a nose around the harbour & a lovely cup of coffee from the Orange Farm shop, housed in a brightly coloured bus situated on the harbour wall we moved on to Dartmouth. A lovely historical town situated in Devon, home to the Royal Britannia Naval College & the artist Simon Drew. We did speak with Simon Drew when looking around one of his shops, You can't miss him actually !
So a superb weekend & now it's back to work.........
I go to college each Tuesday evening to learn about photography, this is something that I'd been meaning to do for so many years. It's been really interesting, a real shame that there is only a couple of weeks left to complete the course. Next week we are on a field trip to practise low light photography, this I am really looking forward to.
Before I go just 
one last thing; On Saturday June 1st I am joining the team of Yacht Scream, sail number GBR8837R who is competing in class IRC 0 in the 2013 J.P Morgan Round The Island Yacht Race.

We are the 1st class to start the race at 5.00 am (GMT) & will be competing against some fearsome competition including ICAP leopard. The race is world famous & this year 1450 yachts have entered so far. The course is 58 nautical miles long & follows a course around the coastline of the Isle Of Wight. Wish me luck ! If you'd like to see how we get on you can find details on the following link;
http://www.roundtheisland.org.uk/

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Small Victories .......

This morning I awoke safely tucked up in my own bed, the foot was tired but OK, no traction, hospital beds or fractures- PHEW!............
Phew because last night I Skied ! Yes SKIED !
Oh how happy am I this morning :-) My Inner self was dancing victoriously last night & still going this morning when I woke up.

I didn't manage to persuade my employers to let me tag on a trip to Canada in April after my weeks work in California as I was hoping but  my lovely man is taking his two sons skiing to Morzine, France for Easter & in an impetuous moment I agreed to fly out & join them for 4 days before I fly to LA. So after much deliberation & of course shopping for the right outfit (Yes...... all the gear & no idea!) I decided that a couple of lessons on the artificial snow slopes in the UK could be a sensible plan. So last night was my first lesson. I have skied once before, a couple of months before I broke the foot I had a week at ski school in the three valleys & although it was hard work, challenging & scary I had got bitten by the bug & have really wanted to try it again since my Lisfranc.

I nervously met my instructor & after coaxing my foot into the ski boot off I went, out onto the nursery slope. To begin with I had forgotten most of the basics, my legs were shaking with fear & the butterflies in my stomach were more like a fast spin on your washing machine cycle. Anyway my instructor was very patient & we went through some warm up exercises, including jumping with my skis on would you believe ? "Now I want you to jump" my instructor said, I looked at him open mouthed & after swallowing back the "NO, I DO NOT JUMP!" that my brain was screaming I bit the bullet & did it.
Just a few inches from the snow but I did it.
After nearly an hour of hard work practising snow ploughing, trying to turn & testing my leg strength I did manage a controlled run down the slope of about 50 meters with turns & stopped neatly at the bottom. I was knackered I can tell you and sweaty and hot but absolutely thrilled !
The toughest bit was taking the mental leap of faith. Physically I was fine (although very glad I'd been working out at the gym & aware that lots more work is needed) but mentally I was apprehensive to say the least. But by breaking it down into baby steps & gradually working my way up the slope I got to a point where I felt relatively safe & happy.
So there you go, we can recover from Lisfranc to a point where life becomes fun again !
I have one more lesson in the UK in two weeks, then I'm off to Morzine. They've just had another 5 cm of snow, conditions are good according to the reports so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it stays that way until we go. I'll let you know how I get on .......

Thursday, 3 January 2013

2013 is here already ?

Happy New Year Everyone !

I hope you are all doing well in your respective recoveries ? Still making progress, not looking back I hope :-)

I am participating in a regular gym programme now, managing 45 minutes in the gym, 3 times a week & I think I can see real improvement. My balance seems to be better, my walking pace is quicker, I can actually stride & my weight has stabilised. I need to get much stronger & I do need to lose a few more pounds (the bikini pics from Hawaii told me so :-)) but I'm hoping that sticking with this programme will reap further rewards in these areas. My latest 'new tricks' with the foot are; I can run up the stairs &  stand balancing on one foot; the dodgy one !- Woohoo.........
The foot is still painful & stiff most days, but not all day everyday & I can manage the pain. I believe that the gym work helps with increasing the blood flow by improving the circulation, this in turn helps with my mobility, I'm sure.
I am settling in well into my new role within my new company, off to a slow start but I've got positive vibes about this year being a good one, all round !
Hawaii in October was immense, I did celebrate my 40th on the beach in Maui, with a beautiful dinner at Mama's Fish house, after watching the sun set on the beach. I swam with the turtles, I was nervous & apprehensive due to the lack of personal fitness, but hey....... I did it & I saw dolphins too !
We drove the road to Hana 3 times to take in all of the sights & watching the sun rise at Haleakala was so incredibly moving & well, helps you put a bit of perspective on things :-)
I climbed the Pipiwai trek/trail  to see the Waimoku waterfalls, the uneven ground made it awkward for me & painful at times but hey ........ I did it !
So my plans so far for this year ? 1) Skiing, hopefully in Canada in April after a work trip takes me to California. 2) Get back out on the water & sail PROPERLY, hopefully complete the Round The Island Yacht Race in June. 3) Make a success of my new job & get myself back on top. 4) Hopefully buy my own house or save enough to be able to do it early 2014. 5) Put the difficult times behind me, finally.

Big plans I know, but the real difference is I've made some this year. To me this simple realisation says a lot about how I am continuing to improve & move forwards. I've continued with my photography as well, did I mention that I'd bought myself a DSLR a few months after breaking the foot ?
I had thought about it for so many years. I'd previously studied Photography at college using a Canon SLR you see & being a creative soul I had missed it. So I have been taking a few snaps & teaching myself the basics............. I took nearly 700 in Hawaii alone- LOL . I have also enrolled on a photography college course in Feb, I've decided that I need some technical direction to train my creativity into what I want to produce Haha & I'm hoping to make a few friends in my new area. Who knows what this year will hold........ exciting eh ?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Looking forward & enjoying it !

It's been a busy time here in Blighty with the 2012 Olympic fever which has been gripping the nation !

I can't tell you how wonderful it is to finally be able to blog about how happy I am & how well I feel.
I did lose my job as I feared I would. In fact just a few days after my last posting I was notified of my probable redundancy. It was a shock when it was confirmed even though I'd had my own fears for a few months. Of course I sought legal advice etc, but after a difficult few months deliberating over what to do I have decided not to look back !

I have been attending hydrotherapy now for 2 1/2 months & it has helped me immensely, god I wish I'd done this a while ago. I was referred after my last relapse in April & I seem to have gone from strength to strength in the past couple of months. I am still only able to wear flat supportive shoes but I am not utilising the metatarsal bar & appear to be coping very well without it. I have focused much more on the foot recently, taking notice when I am in pain & developing an awareness of the amount of time I spend on it etc. Resting it when it needs it & accepting that pushing it beyond it's limits (I.E ignoring the pain) is detrimental to my long term recovery. I realise that all of these points may seem obvious to anyone reading this, but I am a strong willed, stubborn & determined personality, accepting the restrictions that having a serious injury bring has not been easy for me to do.
The positive of being made redundant has been that I have been able to take a couple of months out to rehabilitate the foot with my focused attention. I have not had to drive 7-800 miles per week & rely on Ibuprofen to get me through the day. I have also registered & got a rehabilitative programme organised with the local gym. At the moment it is all sedentary stuff & not too demanding. But it's a start & I'm grateful to finally be at this point after so many setbacks !
I have been swimming & took a holiday to Bermuda last month. I spent all of my time in flip flops & swimming or snorkelling. The freedom of movement I experienced was so uplifting, I think it gave me a sneek preview into what my life could be like without pain & with improved mobility which has spurred me on to work harder at getting fit :-)
I returned home in love with Bermuda, such a beautiful island with friendly people & a wonderful climate.............. I will return :-)

I visited Weymouth at the start of the Olympics to take in some of the sailing action (spectator only) & stayed in a holiday park nearby which had a dry ski slope. I decided to take this opportunity to see If I could get the foot into a ski boot & to attempt a couple of very gentle runs down the nursery slope. The good news was that I could get the boot on, my confidence was low & I struggled with the reduced muscle in my right leg. But this was also a positive experience, as it left me with a clear understanding of what work I would need to do to be able to enjoy skiing again, importantly I feel that I can now allow myself to look forward to being able to do it again one day.
I walked for a couple of miles & some of it was quite uneven & tricky, even involving a little bit of climbing during the visit to Duurdle door, but the sense of achievement on reaching the top was exhilarating !
I've also purchased a second hand bike for myself & have been out on a two mile bike ride. Not exactly a marathon, but again a start & an important step in the direction that I have wanted to go for so long.
 I still require Ibuprofen most days, but only maybe one or two doses, I'm no longer dependant on it to be able to do things.
In October I am going on a trip to Hawaii & I'm determined to be fitter & stronger than I am now, what I can achieve will depend on what I can do & my commitment to getting fitter I know but I certainly am looking forward to being able to be mobile & strong enough to enjoy this trip to its maximum. I also want to try to go on a ski trip next Feb perhaps, so I will set that as a goal to work towards whilst I'm at the gym.
Maybe it's the whole Olympic fever surrounding the Team GB successes or just that I've finally reached a turning point in my recovery, but what's really great these days is how much more positive I feel in myself, I am now allowing myself to look forward & dare I say it -to a life beyond Lisfranc !