Wednesday, August 10, 2022

post-op progression following meniscus surgery

A timeline since knee surgery:

May 13, 2022: arthroscopic meniscectomy

Apparently only 10% was removed!
PT started pretty much immediately.

3 weeks to 4 weeks post-op: walked all around Denmark unrestricted*

homeland of LEGO

5 week post-op: first swim

not from the first pool swim, but first OWS

6 weeks post-op: first outdoor ride, an hour easy

also not my first ride,
but my girl loves her helmet

9 weeks post-op: started the run/walk protocol

actually from my first run :D

11 weeks post-op: matching strength in both quads

12 weeks post-op: first 50-mile outdoor ride!

Why have pictures of me on my bike
when we can have pictures of Ainsley on her bike?

*Yep, my last post in early June was actually written and posted during our Denmark trip, and my first post-op goal was to just be able to walk around and enjoy our 2-year postponed babymoon, which became our first child-free trip! (My mom came over to the East Coast very willingly to watch her.) That was also the ulterior motive for weaning by early June. I had some mild soreness after one of our longer days of walking around Copenhagen and only needed to ice one time. It was so nice to see my pal Carolina from our Dallas days (2006-2007). She was my Texas bestie as I was getting recruited onto teamTBB via many, many emails!

Since June, you can see I've made lots of progress. We've had some great family time while I'm also rebuilding my triathlon engine. I'm looking at doing a race in October! More details soon. I'm still following the run/walk protocol and I believe next week I get to try to run without so many walking breaks!

my two favorites at Rehoboth Beach

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

3 weeks post-op and 18 months postpartum

3 out of 4.5 weeks of blogging ain’t too bad for AAPI month blogging! Alas, it’s already June. It’s been pretty busy and I’ve recovered like a champ. Last week I hit 3 weeks post-op and 18 months postpartum already! I Norma-tec’ed pretty hard the first week, and haven’t worn any compression or knee sleeve since then. Only 10 days post-op I caught myself walking really fast down a back hallway at work and realized I should slow down because I had actually FORGOTTEN I just had a knee surgery! That’s how good it felt.

I had a follow-up 12 days post-op and was cleared to swim and bike indoors, and continue with physical therapy. I’ve been biking up to 30 minutes easy and my range of motion is about 95% there. Swimming has been tricky with weird pool hours at the university pool, so I just haven’t gotten in. But I saw my massage therapist last week, and she remarked that she’s worked with a lot of folks post-op knee surgery and I’ve recovered the fastest of anyone she’s ever seen!

We still do bottles sometimes, open cups and sippy cups.

Weaning also finally happened a few weeks ago! After I learned the connection that nursing had with ligament laxity and my knee injury, I gave us a goal date of early June and my little milk monster transitioned completely over to cow’s milk a few weeks early. I never thought we would breastfeed for 17.5 months, but I had very low expectations on as a lifelong member of the IBTC (IYKYK)!

Feeling this deflated pancake/pita analogy SO HARD 😂

Speaking of post-nursing boobs and postpartum bodies, as someone that really struggled with my weight when I was a pro triathlete (and in the years following), I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I’ve gotten pretty trim with pretty low effort. I understand every mom has a different experience with weight fluctuations during and after pregnancy and I’m certainly not trying to rub it into anyone’s face.

I’m actually a bit smaller than I was pre-pregnancy (and I had gained like 65lbs and was over 200 by the end of that). But who knows, this could be because I had been burning an extra 1000 calories a day feeding a milk monster, and I could very well start going the other direction again, haha! OR, I might just be super strong from this impromptu strength training lifting up my big toddler every day. It’s all to be determined. I am looking forward to recovering completely from the knee surgery and getting back into regular triathlon training again soon!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Netflix & Chill After Partial Meniscectomy

Aero being a therapy dog

I am now 4 days post-op and feeling pretty good. When you are the mom of a toddler, the actual procedure can be described as “a refreshing nap”! During the prep, we got done and had about 20 minutes of waiting, so they asked “do you want us to dim the lights and lower your head back?” Yes, please! They then put me under general anesthesia for about 45 minutes (thank goodness it wasn’t a spinal block, as you may recall my trauma from the birth story) and when I woke up they gave me ginger ale and Cheez-its and I didn’t feel groggy at all. It really was like I had a nice refreshing nap! 

Two little holes in my knee
Two little holes in my knee

Swelling and pain have been pretty minimal as I spent the first 48 hours icing, and hanging out in my Normatec boots, while debating if the discharge instructions meant I wasn’t allowed to shower for 2 days or if I could do it with waterproof bandages over my steri-strips (Kevin made me wait, and he was right…). 

Taking it easy with Mama

What I watched:

  • Bel Air on Peacock
  • Senior Year on Netflix Z
  • Bling Empire Season 2 on Netflix

(Yes, I literally “Netflix and chilled” my knee).

Hitting recovery hard means ice cream in my JFK mug :)
Also coincidentally my favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s…

And, my mini reviews! (The latter 2 actually came out on Netflix ON surgery day.)

Bel Air: I started watching this months ago and you know, #MomLife, it takes a knee surgery for me to get to actually finish it. I grew up watching Fresh Prince in the 90’s so I was kind of excited that this is a more dramatic version (a la All American from the CW). Uncle Phil is skinny! Will and Carlton hate each other! Hillary is an influencer! Will actually got in a fight (in West Philadelphia near a playground where he spent most of his days) and his momma got scared, and sent him to live with his auntie and uncle in Bel Air! It was really good. Geoffrey the butler AKA “head of security” was my favorite. He was so savage! I really hope The Slap doesn’t affect them coming out with Season 2.

Senior Year: I was class of 1999 in high school and just turned 40, so this was super full of nostalgia as Rebel Wilson plays a class of 2002 senior who falls into a 20-year coma and wakes up as a 37-year-old. I definitely LOL’ed and loved the Britney Spears “Crazy” music video remake. Rebel looks somewhat unrecognizable from her Pitch Perfect “Fat Amy” days, as she dropped a ton of weight to get healthier, but at the same time, she has the very same mannerisms where you wonder if most of her roles are the same character. I still found her hilarious and enjoyed the heck out of the movie.

ALSO—you know it’s a movie because the football player boyfriend and rival cheerleader are both still hot 20 years later. That doesn’t happen in real life! Our high school football team got cut after my freshman year and the players all transferred to the other school across town. About 10 years after I graduated, I bumped into one of the formerly hot football players when he was working as a personal trainer at 24-Hour Fitness and I was in the thick of pro triathlon training. I remember him performing at the middle school talent show doing the shirtless Samoan fire stick twirling dance! Time was not his friend and he followed me out of the parking lot to give me his phone number. 

Bling Empire, season 2: OMG. Now, I don’t typically enjoy reality tv shows about rich people (like the Kardashians or Real Housewives), but you know, representation matters even in terrible trashy reality tv. So consider those 4 or so hours I wasted my contribution to AAPI month. My impressions—Kevin, stop trying to date your friends (it just makes everything awkward in their small friend circle). Kane, stop stirring up s***. He is the worst gossip and so obnoxious! I love that they showed Jaime’s super cringe date. And the Cherie and Jessey backstory that got dropped like a bomb pretty early on, DAMNNNNN, no wonder he didn’t want to get married in season 1. I was stunned they just POOF disappeared after episode 3. They could’ve had a chance to explain their side of the story, and I think that says everything. Overall, it is very hard to sympathize with super rich folks and their rich people problems.

Anyway, back to recovery. It wasn’t a meniscus repair, just the little fragments got “cleaned up”, so there are just 2 holes in my knee and I’ve been allowed to WBAT—weight bear as tolerated. No crutches needed. I abstained from walking the dog or getting in a car the first 2 days and on Monday took Aero out on a couple of walks.

During my second walk, the orthopedic doc’s office called to check how I was doing, which was nice! I got cleared to do some light cycling on the trainer (“only to improve range of motion, NOT FOR CARDIO”), was told not to “OVERDO” the walking the dog, and any other restrictions? “NO RUNNING!” Okay, okay! I actually wonder if they flagged my chart, which does actually specify that I’m a retired pro triathlete, haha! 

I alsod got my first PT evaluation Monday night from my neighbor. My range of motion is looking pretty good. She is not just a physical therapist, but also a personal trainer, marathoner, and running coach, and I’m hiring her to help guide me back to recovery safely. This whole thing has been a big wake-up call to stop training so haphazardly! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

AAPI month podcast interview, and 10 hours of sleep

I was on another podcast! It’s been 13 years since I qualified for my pro card, and last week I was honored to be the interviewed as the first Asian-American female pro triathlete on the Tri Beginner’s Luck Podcast for AAPI month. I was introduced to the host Michanda by my good friend Becci in DC, because just like the state of Delaware, the triathlon world is small. 

It was super fun and we laughed a lot! We talked about how to pronounce “prosthetist”, if I would ever go pro again, and my thoughts on peeing on the bike. You can check it out here or wherever you get podcasts (iTunes etc).

Unbeknownst to me, the Zoom call also was recorded (I knew about the audio part obviously) and then put on YouTube (oops I would’ve washed my hair and looked somewhat more presentable). So you can also watch me looking like a scrub:

It also covers stories from my teenage triathlete days where I spent all my Chinatown scholarship money on a road bike and my first sprint triathlon (doggy paddling FTW) to how I’m currently “living my best life” and the story of putting together our Crazy Fit Asians JFK 50 team.

Obviously it was recorded before I sneezed my meniscus out of place (about 2 months ago because Ainsley just turned 17mos and I mention that she is 15mos old). Surgery is Friday and I am remaining both optimistic and realistic. I’m going to do everything I can to make it to the starting line healthy and able to tackle the challenge…BUT also get the expertise I need so I don’t do anything stupid that would compromise my long term health.

Also got to celebrate Mother’s Day weekend by hitting a huge milestone—felt comfortable enough for Ainsley to stay overnight at her godmother’s house so I could go on a fancy date with my husband and proceeded to sleep 10 hours in a row for the first time in forever and ever. MAGICAL!

Until next Tuesday, when I can report on how “the scope” went, send positive vibes this way please! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

...recalculating... Bumps In the Road

Happy Asian-American Pacific Islander Heritage Month! I'll try to get back to my #newblogTuesday blogging streak each week this month to celebrate and elevate AAPI voices. First, here's an oldie but goodie of me and my rugrat in our matching Asian American Girl Club outfits:

Back when she was still onesie size

I actually need to get her the kid size shirt now!

Welp, I got my MRI results back last week and...

The good news:

JOINT FLUID: No significant knee joint effusion.
BONE MARROW: No evidence of fracture. 

The bad news:

MEDIAL MENISCUS: There is free edge radial tearing of the body and posterior. There is subluxation of the midbody along with a meniscal flap fragment, best visualized on images 18-20 of series 6. There is a horizontal oblique undersurface tear of the posterior.

So it turns out that I did quite a number on my medial meniscus from that silly sneeze. I have since heard from 2 friends that have thrown their backs out from a sneeze, so I feel slightly less silly. I admit I was pushing my luck thinking I could just go on a 20-mile fun run on hillier terrain without a proper buildup (obviously I got a little cocky after that 23-mile run I pulled out of my butt). I have also since learned that breastfeeding hormones can cause your ligaments to be more lax, so I give the toddler partial blame and we have put together a concrete weaning plan this next month. ;)

aborted "epic long run once a month" training plan

The good news about the bad news:

I’ll be having a little “clean-up” procedure—ok technically it’s a surgery, but it’s arthroscopic and lasts only 45 minutes. I’ll be able to walk without restrictions the same day and full recovery is expected within 3-6 weeks. It’s scheduled for next Friday, 1 month exactly since the fateful sneeze.

When I look back at the last 5 years (I could go back more, but then I just start sounding like I’m full of excuses), every year has had some bump in the road or two as far as physical activity…

2017: hit by a car while biking for the second time = neck issues
2018: fell during a trail race and hurt my shoulder (supraspinatus tear of the rotator cuff)
2019: tore something in my foot (partial tear of lateral cord of plantar fascia) in June and then had pneumonia in July
2020: pregnancy!
2021: postpartum!

Which is kind of funny (not really funny) because I consider myself pretty injury proof. This data begs to differ. Let’s just say after 2017 and 2018 incidents, I finally signed up for Aflac supplemental accident insurance that was offered at work!

So once I'm recovered, I’ll just look back on this as another bump in the road. I just need to stay consistently active, injury free, and not do dumb things. I'll do whatever it takes to keep me active until the day I die! Sometimes I feel like an old school car GPS, where you go off course and that friendly female robot voice says "RECALCULATING..."

And I am laughing, reading my Q1 update in March: "So I may be pivoting my season opener to be a local trail race. TBD. I don’t like to commit until I’ve had more consistent training and tend to sign up for most races last minute as #MomLife can be unpredictable..." That season opener ain't happening this month. I'd say other than a global pandemic, this is as unpredictable as it gets!

But I'll be smart this time and do what I can to be careful and running around again like this little squirt.

I also encourage you to celebrate AAPI month with a poke bowl or boba drink!

side note: haven't let her try boba yet 
as she might still choke on the boba bubbles!

Monday, April 25, 2022

A catastrophic California sneeze

I took Ainsley on her first trip to California and we just got back last week. It was also my first trip home in over 2 years. I was last there the Christmas before the pandemic, got pregnant at the start of the pandemic and here we are 2 years later!

She did GREAT on the flights!

We did all the things you should do on vacation in CA, including but not limited to:

  • meeting allll the family and friends
All 3 grandkids together at last!

High school running teammates
& our kiddos

With my childhood BFF (ignore that Ainsley
is chomping on a FLIP FLOP) prior to
watching Everything Everywhere All At Once

  • eating alllllll the great food (authentic Asian cuisine and fresh local berries. Strawberries and Thai food are my faves)

Local strawberries within hours of landing

  • handing the toddler off to family so I could go on some long runs along the California coast

Unfortunately, make that ONE long run, singular and not plural. I was enjoying a mid-week run from my childhood home in Pacifica (we moved there in 5th grade, 1990-ish) to the Cliff House (high school senior year 17th birthday dinner in 1998) and Sutro Baths (engagement pictures with Kevin in 2014).

I passed my old stomping grounds, such as Lake Merced (high school summer cross country practice, where I first fell in love with running), and the Great Highway--which I was astonished was closed!

The southbound lane was completely closed due to sand erosion and apparently the northbound lane is closed on the weekends. It was kind of eerie, like zombie apocalypse time.

2022 selfie shot for Kevin

2014 engagement photo site

Of course I sent photos and selfies to Kevin along the way, since he couldn't make it out to CA this time around. I hit up Sutro Baths right at mile 10 and turned around to close out my 20-miler. I’ve had my eye on a trail 50k at the end of May when suddenly...


Right around mile 14, I was getting off the Great Highway back onto Skyline and suddenly sneezed while running downhill. I planted my foot weirdly and felt my knee get tweaked. I immediately felt REALLY BAD pain on the medial side of my knee and could barely walk. I know my body pretty darn well (and also work with orthopedic injuries) and knew right away that I EFFED IT UP.

It was bad enough I had to do a "dial-a-mom". She was not unfamiliar with the process, as she has had decades of experience being mom to a crazy endurance athlete. One time I hit a rock during a long solo bike ride to Pt Reyes Station and she had to pick me up at a random fire station (a 2-hour drive away). 

These two were happy to come
pick me up from my shortened long run

So, a week after that incident, I just saw my orthopedic surgeon last week who confirmed what I suspected—MCL strain and possible medial meniscus tear. My MRI is scheduled today, so this is TO BE CONTINUED... 

In the meantime, more family photos…my heart is full but my knee is hurting:

Her face when meeting MOST new strangers
(who just wanted to hug and snuggle her!)

A little suspicious but open to sharing snacks

LOVED playing dress-up with her cousin Cara

Finally met my brother!

Warming up to my sister

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Q1 MomStar WongStar Update: Ebbs and Flows

It’s the last day of March, which means we are a quarter of the way through 2022 already! It’s not my usual blogging day, but I realized I could salvage my broken blogging streak and at least have 3 March posts to add to the 3 in February and 4 in January. Not terrible for a retired/un-retired blogger!

After my epic 23-miler, I was starting to finally feel like I was getting into the groove again, running 3 times per week, when BOOM another daycare cold (or series of colds) hit me and baby girl. She likes to make those cute little coughs RIGHT INTO MY FACE so it is hard to avoid her germs.

It’s hard to be mad when she’s
so stinkin’ cute

Suffice it to say, my original training thoughts I formulated back in December for the first couple races of the season have already gotten thrown out the window. I didn’t end up signing up for the half marathon, partially because I couldn’t justify paying $100 to run 13 miles through my neighborhood when I had just run 23 for free (well, for the price of a boba drink). It made me realize that I am, in fact, intrinsically motivated. I don’t need to sign up for races to be motivated to run, I don’t need the swag and medal (already way too many race shirts and medals), and I definitely wasn’t in PR shape. I’d consider it if I felt I could PR or have a shot at going under 1:30 (I think my PR is a 1:32? I honestly can’t remember). 

We had fun cheering for the runners
during our morning walk instead!

Next up, the Bear Triathlon is in 6 weeks, my bike is still at the shop and I haven’t gotten in the pool yet. The weather has been super strange where we go from winter to spring to summer to winter and I definitely don’t get the itch to swim or bike when the weather is gross! Haha, see previous post on being a “fair weather” triathlete. Yesterday morning was in the low 20’s. This morning is in the 50’s. WTF?!

So I may be pivoting my season opener to be a local trail race. TBD. I don’t like to commit until I’ve had more consistent training and tend to sign up for most races last minute as #MomLife can be unpredictable and I’m willing to pay a premium for the higher cost (race fees generally go up as the race gets closer) rather than sign up for a bunch of things early and then no-show.

Hugs, love, and cooties
for everyone!

Stay tuned! I also have enough training ADHD that I’ve found I like to space out races about 6-8 weeks apart, because I can typically focus for about that many weeks before getting distracted or losing momentum. Daycare germs notwithstanding.