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Week 7-12

Crutches may go

The Friday that I was exactly at 6 weeks I was allowed to walk outside with a crutch. That was convenient because that Monday my studies just started again. That was something I found very exciting since I had been isolated from busy life for an entire summer and suddenly had to maneuver back to that. I also found going on public transport a task, climbing stairs was still pretty tough, I can't run if I'm in danger of missing a transfer and it was getting colder and I was wearing long pants so people didn't see my scars right away and I clearly had to ask if I could sit down. These things can sound dull but are incredibly tiring.

Week 7-12 after surgery

The first times

September was a month of firsts, though. For example, I went back to college for the first time. I watched my team practice for the first time. I went outside for the first time which was very exciting because you feel very vulnerable. In the beginning I was still working with the BFR, but in the meantime we started to train heavier so then I was crying in the legpress again for 4×15 reps. Still, it was all worth it because on Sept. 12 I squatted 30kg for the first time again. It felt like 100kg in terms of weight but also in terms of victory. At moments like that, I remember exactly what I do it for. Less than a week later I squatted 40kg for the first time. The Rugby World Cup was in full swing and I was going to a match in France two weekends in a row. That scared the hell out of me, because a city like that is incredibly crowded. Plus, I heard from many people that they often did too much on the first vacation and got a big knee again, so I was scared to death of that. I survived the first weekend and had a great time, and the second weekend was also great. My knee picked up very well and all the rugby supporters we met were very helpful and paid extra attention. I had physio the following Tuesday and immediately asked if my knee was okay (I often think it is thick when it is not) and it was indeed okay. That felt like a first victory that I knew when to slow myself down and listen to my body. 3 October I squatted 50kg and shortly thereafter 55kg. I was immensely proud! October 13 was twelve weeks since my surgery and I baked cake for myself. It was another milestone.

week 7-12 rugby vkb revalidatie

Daily life

In these six weeks, training my knee was not necessarily the challenge but rather managing the load capacity. The moment you get off crutches, you tend to do all kinds of things out of habit. It is important to plan your rest and maybe do some things at home instead of going somewhere right away. I managed this quite well because studying was exhausting as well, so I needed extra rest. As the weeks went by, studying became more doable, walking distances became easier. However, there are other things you have to think about, such as that a whole lecture with a bent knee leads to not being able to straighten it immediately afterwards or when I study at the university I always have to look for an extra chair to put my leg on. They are small things, but can be very annoying at times. I haven't been able to pick up work yet because I have a job where I have to stand on my legs for a whole day with young children, which is not possible yet, but it will come. Since we started quietly with jumping and running at the physio I notice that I am starting to regain more and more confidence. I am no longer afraid when walking in crowds and I can now comfortably go down stairs again, which is a real relief.

The mental aspect

Since I could somewhat walk again, the injury was less physically limiting and that did wonders for the head as well. I got back a piece of autonomy which I really liked. The first few weeks, as described earlier, were indeed still quite heavy with the BFR and everything. Fortunately, I was allowed to get off that at some point. We started training towards more one-legged exercises and that gave me a good feeling because I liked the idea that we were echt de spiermassa probeerde terug te winnen. When I had to jump sideways or on one leg for the first time, I suddenly found it very difficult. I suddenly became very afraid of another injury and started comparing myself to people. To keep going at a time like that is what makes the satisfaction afterwards so great. I find this new phase very refreshing and look forward to my first strength test when I reach 4 months.

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