The recent festive season found us enjoying 10 days of restoration at the beach. My mantra down there is “sleep, walk, swim, eat, read, repeat”. We frequently walk 12 to 15 kilometres per day down South. Along the beach or on the Cape to Cape track. I knew, 7 weeks into ACL recovery that that would be unrealistic, and I wondered how I would feel about my favourite place without my usual walking capacity.
On day 2 I attempted the walk down to the nearest rock pool, a sublime place to swim where the waves crash on to the rocks, the pool is calm, clear and deep. This was a more difficult walk and part of it is rocky. I had to go slow and hang onto Jeff for support. I was sad that I wasn’t skipping along the track like usual.
By the end of a week I had walked 70000 steps. Significantly more than I had been. What I was happy about was that I felt my knee was no worse – in other words I wasn’t aggravating it with this increased activity.
I was continuing to read Brene Brown and her thoughts on compassion and courage resonate within me as I experience this healing journey. The courage to be real and not put on a mask, the reminder that to be truly compassionate towards others we must be compassionate towards ourselves. She writes about this in “The Gifts of Imperfection”.
Six years ago, we started a New Year tradition of greeting the New Year at dawn on the beach. As my walking capacity was reduced, I decided to not set the alarm for 4:45am and wake when I was ready. It was 6:30 when I opened my eyes, the sun shining. We were on the beach by 7am. My goal was to get to Yallingup. When you reach the northern end of Smiths beach there is a 5-minute climb up the hill which includes steps made of pine posts. I marched up there enthusiastically and felt triumphant that it wasn’t too difficult. The next stage is downhill on a loose gravel track – my triumphant feeling didn’t last long. My knee was starting to ache, and I was anxious about slipping on the loose gravel. By the time we reached Yallingup I was relieved to sit down. After a short rest we continued down to the beach where the cold water brought instant relief. In previous years we had continued our walk past the far end of Yallingup beach to Rabbits. Not this year. I phoned our son who came and picked us up and we returned to our chalet for a celebratory breakfast.
Two days later it was our 32nd wedding anniversary. I was determined to return to the rock pool. Imagine my delight when I got down there with much greater ease. I was now at the 8-week mark.
There is a lot written in the literature about weeks 6 to 12 being a high-risk time because your knee is starting to feel strong however the blood supply to the graft is not well established. I had been reassured that this is less of a risk when you have been diligent about your rehab exercises as the muscles are supporting the joint and your proprioception (awareness of where the joint is in space) is much better.