Monthly Archives: April 2011

Linky Links

I did a post like this back in February and had fun sharing all my favourite recent internet finds! I figure with the long weekend coming up there may be a few spare minutes to dedicate to interesting reads ;)

For starters, here are two recipes I’ll be trying this weekend:

Pioneer Woman’s Hot Cross Buns

TPW_3253

I think I’ve got this yeast thing figured out and I’m eager to experiment with it more! What better way than with some hot cross buns this Easter weekend.

Martha Stewart’s Mustard Maple Ham

I told my dad we should have ham this weekend, so he went out and bought 7 lbs for me to cook. I really don’t want to screw up 7 lbs of meat, so I’m going with a Martha recipe. Martha never fails me. Plus, we just bought really nice maple syrup I think will be perfect for the ham.

Some other things I’m dying to try…

Tracey’s Sticky Pecan Bites.

sticky

Is it a cookie? A cinnamon roll? I don’t care, I just need these in my mini muffin pan stat.

Leah’s Amaretto Almond Chicken.

051

Aka just another reason why I need to buy Disaronno ;)

Homemade Wheat Thins from Two Peas and Their Pod.

homemade wheat thins

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at homemade crackers for a long time now. I think this recipe will be my first go at them!

Angharad’s chocolate chip muffins.

104

I loved her story describing how these muffins reminded her of childhood. Growing up, the chocolate chip muffins from Tim Horton’s were one of my favourite treats. Now I want to recreate them at home! Except, I will need to add a sprinkle of coarse sugar to the top.

 La Fuji Mama’s Apple Braid on Eat Live Run.

For something so cool, it has simple ingredients and doesn’t look too labour intensive! You had me at apples.

Then there’s some non-recipe related must-reads!

Deb’s Weight maintenance: What’s working for me now. Deb is so honest about maintaining a significant weight loss. Even though what works for her may not work for me, it reminded me I should be doing the things that do work for me!

The latest Hyperbole and a Half post. Go read it. Now.

45 McDonald’s Items Not Available in the U.S. That Should Be (and Canada too!)

Serious Eats explains dim sum.

Slideshow 

Wish I had read this before my first dim sum experience.

For those of you following the Canadian election:

Margaret Atwood, one of my favourite authors, wrote an awesome piece in the Globe and Mail.

Catch up on the Shit Harper Did.

Go watch Rick Mercer’s recent rant. Did you know the advance polls open this weekend? Don’t forget to VOTE!! I’ll be there this weekend because I’m working at the polls for Elections Canada on May 2nd!

And some shameless plugs:

I write for Danica’s  Friends For Weight Loss site as their personal trainer. Ch-ch-check it out!

I wrote a guest post for Lisa a looong time ago about living with a social anxiety disorder. It’s a topic very close to my heart.

I also wrote a guest post for Morgan a while back on getting creative with upper-body workouts!

That should keep you busy for a few days I think :)

Question of the Day: What are some of the best things you’ve read on the internet lately?

Things I’m Loving About Being Home

Thank you so much for the support on my latest injury update! I’m a lucky girl to have so many good people rooting for me.

To be honest, I’ve been feeling a little blue lately. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that I’ve started work and the reality of my injury has really sunk in. I had a job that I loved. I legitimately loved working with clients as a personal trainer. It had its downsides like any other job, but day in and day out, I really really liked it.

The fact that I can’t do it anymore and am forced to look for other work really depresses me. People spend their lives looking for jobs they love. Here I am, having just discovered mine, and it was taken away from me just like that.

I started at the running store this week which I love too!! As far as retail goes, hanging out all day talking about running is about as good as it gets. But being in the store again yesterday made the “handicap” of my arm glaringly obvious. Little things like handing customers receipts or untying a pair of running shoes are more of a struggle. Sometimes I forget and move my arm or wrist the wrong way, igniting a surge of pain.

Anyways, this is not intended to be a depressing post. My mom sent me an e-mail this morning reminding me to stay positive. All that positive energy is crucial to my healing!

So I’m doing one of my favourite kind of posts. A list of things I am loving right now. Except, it’s not about just anything. People keep asking me how I like being home. It certainly is different and taking some adjusting, but overall I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. So here is a list of things I am loving about being back home:

1. Sunsets

I never realized it, but I couldn’t see the horizon in Toronto because of the tall buildings. Almost every night here in Moncton the sky lights up a beautiful pink colour. Because I can see the horizon here I can see those colours intensify as the sun ducks underneath. I appreciate it so much more now!

 
Pointe-du-Chêne sunset, just 15 min from where I live.

2. Fresh air

When I first got to Ontario, I had a hard time running. It felt like I could never catch my breath. I blamed it on other factors, but turns out my lungs were having a hard time taking in the polluted air! I’m sure Toronto has many great running trails, but because of the air quality there, I could never truly enjoy them. Here at home I can breathe. Deep, clean, fresh breaths. It makes running so much more enjoyable.

IMG_2008
Centennial Park, Moncton.

3. Open spaces

Walking around King & Bay in the shadows of skyscrapers, fighting my way through the crowds at Yonge & Eglinton at lunch time, or Yonge Station at rush hour. There were times when I felt like I was being suffocated in Toronto. But Moncton has no skyscrapers. There is always sidewalk space to walk downtown at lunchtime. I never feel claustrophobic here. It’s just me and wide open space.

4. Wildlife

There’s more than just mice, pigeons, squirrels and seagulls here. Ducks, geese, pheasants, deer, moose, beavers, foxes, etc. In fact, I saw a mallard duck on my neighbours lawn just the other day! Speaking of which…

5. Yards

People have them here! And they don’t pay that much for them! Front yards and backyards. Not the two square metres they have close to downtown Toronto. But real yards you need a lawn mower for. A yard you could put a pool in. A yard for a dog to run around in!

IMG_6908 
My backyard at my dad’s house.

6. Trees and grass

You know, trees and grass aren’t really something I considered missing until I lived in a place without them. Mind you, there are beautiful areas of Toronto with trees and green spaces. My area however was not one of them. It was more along the lines of concrete and brick as far as the eye could see. I like green, and leaves, and bark, and dewy blades of grass.

7. Eye contact

This is something I’m still having to get used to again – people here look one another in the eye when they pass on the street! A lot of the time they even smile or say “hi!” Imagine! Humans… interacting with one another.

With that in mind…

8. Everyone on the bus knows each other

True story. Today, while on the bus, there were two people chatting with the bus driver like they were old friends. We drove past a house with an old man standing outside. The bus driver stops to say hi to this man. Then one of the women on the bus yells out that she wants the old man’s banana bread recipe. The driver then yells this out the door to the old man, and the whole bus proceeds to laugh. It was such a strange exchange to see!

I’ve been taking the bus for a few days now and it amazes me how all the regulars know each other, are nice to each other, and chat like old friends. One of the things I disliked the most about Toronto was how a people could cram in together on a subway car and not even make eye contact, let alone small talk. It was kind of inhuman. I don’t always feel chatty while on public transit, but it’s nice to know I won’t get told off for asking someone a question.

9. This face

IMG_6907

I know Archie is 14 years old now, but I don’t everever want him to leave me. Ever. The end.

10. Family

dad  momnana

Duh! Watching Survivor with my Dad, going to my mom’s for supper, or walking to my Nana’s after work. Being able to do these things, after years of living apart, is something I’ll never take for granted. In case you haven’t noticed, my family is pretty close and we all get along well. They’re the most important people in my life!

Shout out of course to my friends in Moncton too. Y’all know who you are :)

The only thing I don’t like about living at home? I need to drive!! I live in suburbia where a car is required to escape. I just got the okay from my surgeon to drive again, but I still have to wait to get my old Ford Focus put under my name and insured again. It’s only going to be 10 more days or so. But 10 more days of having to rely on others when I’m so used to being self sufficient is going to kiiiilllll me. Ah well! At least I have 10 other wonderful things to be thankful for :) Gotta keep positive to heal that arm!

Question of the Day: What’s one thing you love about where you live?

Arm Update Eleventeen

Hellohello. I hope you enjoyed the 5 Exercises For Runners post! I think I will have to make that a series of some sort. So many exercises, so little time ;)

Today I’m going to share with you some of the exercises I’ve been doing to rehabilitate my arm and get my level of fitness back.

For starters, I met with my new surgeon again today. If you’re new and want to know what the hell I’m talking about, here’s some background reading!

The accident & surgery
Recovery after surgery
Just being honest
Getting the cast off
Dealing with chronic pain
New surgeon & injury details 

So today was my second meeting with my new surgeon. He’s not the same one who operated on my arm. But I needed an orthopaedic surgeon to regularly follow up with when I moved to Moncton. You can read about my first meeting with him here.

Last time, I got the impression that he thought the reconstruction in my elbow was going to fall apart and that another surgery was inevitable. Well the good news is that it hasn’t fallen apart yet! Yay!

But it wasn’t all good…
 
img_6388_thumb

I shattered my radial head, a nubbin of a bone that connects my forearm to the top part of the elbow joint. It’s also responsible for wrist rotation (yes, it’s your elbow that twists when you rotate your wrist!).

The bad part is that some of the bone is disappearing. In the above photo I have an arrow pointing to a spot where some of it is visibly missing. The circle refers to a spot where there is a hole in the bone.

Having undergone a five hour surgery to reconstruct this piece means the bone was detached from its blood supply for a loooong time. Chances of a dead bone coming back to life and healing are slim!

Now, the more good news is that the current state of the bone in theory should not hinder getting mobility back. I should be able to mostly straighten and flex my arm in its current state. The screws that we thought may have to come out don’t seem to be in the way as much as we thought. So getting them out may not have to happen!

On the flipside, both my surgeons and physiotherapist are quite worried about my wrist rotation. You see, when I flex and extend my arm, the joint has a little bit of “give.” Meaning it’s always possible to push it a little bit further until I start screaming in pain.

My wrist however, when trying to rotate it towards the ceiling, just “stops” halfway. There is no give to it. It’s what my physio calls a “fixed end point.” It’s worrisome because in my current state, the rotation may not come back at all. It does not fall within the range of liveable motion and is not acceptable when other options are available, basically.

My surgeon told me today that he wants to see me again in five weeks. If I haven’t made much progress with my wrist rotation by then, he thinks there won’t be a chance of it getting any better. Thus, another surgery will be needed to fix it.

He wants to go in and just remove the whole radial head. Because I didn’t damage any ligaments or forearm, I could theoretically be perfectly fine without that piece of bone. He said I could even do push-ups again without it!

I’ve already decided that I want to go back to Ottawa for any further surgeries. My original surgeon is an upper-extremity specialist and knows my situation inside and out. I’ve been whining and whining about this whole “waiting it out thing.” And now that I have a timeline of five weeks I’m kinda freaking out a little. I don’t wanna be on an operating table in five weeks time!!

That’s why these next five weeks are going to be AAAALLLLL about rehabilitation. I’ll be working on rotating my wrist in my sleep!!

I’ve been taking photos of my arm to visually track the progress I’ve been making. I’m so happy I started doing this. Most days I just feel so stiff and frustrated with my arm, but these really show how far I’ve come!

Flexion on March 14 (after getting cast off):

IMG_6154

Flexion on March 28:

IMG_6469

Flexion on April 18:

IMG_6875 

Definite progress here after not seeing much the first two weeks! Oddly, I haven’t been working on this direction that much. But everyone tells me that once you start to make progress with one direction, it automatically comes with the other. Biggest things I notice with this are that I can reach my mouth now with my left hand (makes eating easier!) and I can just barely hold my hair in a ponytail with it.

Extension March 14:

IMG_6155

Extension March 28:

IMG_6468

Extension April 18:

IMG_6873

Definite progress here! This is the direction I’ve been working harder on at physio. She pushes my hand down while I pull up resisting it. That flexes my biceps for 5 seconds. Then she releases and pulls my arm down for 5 painful seconds. She’ll also put a weight around my wrist to pull my hand toward the floor and just let my arm stretch out for 5 minutes. This direction is all about relaxing my bicep, which you can see inadvertently bulging in that photo.

Wrist rotation March 14:

IMG_6156

Wrist rotation March 28:

IMG_6473

Wrist rotation April 18:

IMG_6876

I love this photo because it shows my I can make progress on my wrist!!! Three weeks ago I couldn’t twist it 90 degrees without help from my other hand. Now I can twist it to neutral all on its own :) The goal is to get it facing the ceiling. Just 90 degrees left to go!

For my wrist exercises we do something similar where I have to push and resist in the opposite direction, then relax it into a twist.

IMG_6877

I also have to grab a long object that’s top heavy. No, not that, more like a channel changer with batteries. With the weight at the top, I let it drop to the side and pull my wrist towards the ceiling.

I’ve been doing physio three times a week, and these exercises three times a day. When not sitting down and consciously going through the motions, I am alwaysalways just trying to move my left elbow back and forth and twisting my wrist.

In Toronto, my physiotherapist did acupuncture to ease the swelling. Thankfully, it doesn’t get that swollen anymore. Now we use heat to relax the muscles into letting the joint move. My favourite part being the warm whirlpool tank that I put my arm in for 15 minutes at the start of every physio session. I’ll often start moving my arm in the shower too while the hot water is falling on it.

One final thing I’ve noticed, as I’ve mentioned before, is significant muscle loss. Especially in my left shoulder on the injured side. When I first went to my physio she could see the muscle loss just by looking at the difference between my two shoulders.

In the gym, I’ve been doing a lot of cardio (trying to lose weight after all!). I’ve been doing all the lower body and ab stuff I can think of that challenge me without requiring my arms. But I’ve also been doing basic weightlifting shoulder and back movements using no weight at all. My left shoulder had to hold on to a cast in front of my body for four weeks, then work to protect my injured arm for the weeks following that. Needless to say, just moving it in new directions feels like enough work.

Then of course there’s always TONS of stretching. Like, 20 minutes of stretching at the end of each workout. My posture has already dramatically improved and I like to think my muscles aren’t quite as tense. Perhaps being back at the gym has led to the significant improvement over the last three weeks!

Anyways, that is enough rambling about my arm for today. Sorry if this is all horribly dull for you. But to be honest, I need to get it all out. So thanks for being my bouncing board today :)

Question of the Day: I haven’t asked this yet and I really want to know, what kind of injuries have you had? How did you recover from them?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 485 other followers