Walking around on broken legs

Well just one broken leg but in sticking with the songs as blog titles thing, this is what I went with.

** This is dedicated to my moon boot buddy Bree from work who broke her ankle the night before I did and who’s had it so much worse than me ****

I have deliberated on whether or not to write this, because to be honest, I am not proud of some of my actions and the way I ended up mentally after breaking my ankle recently. The reason for this is that I ended up very depressed and I just kept thinking about the fact that there are people who have permanent disabilities, some have had these their entire lives and some end up disabled later in their lives. And there I was, with my very temporary disability, too depressed to get out of bed and being shit to my loved ones. I figured though that as some of this obviously stems from actually having mental health issues, that I take daily medication for and frankly, mental health issues or not- it was a shitty thing to happen. I think that people (including me) are entitled to feel a sorry for themselves when shit things happen. Why do we have to feel bad when we feel down? Why does guilt play such a huge role in depression and when you get down about the hand you have been dealt in life? I figured the best way to go about this was just to tell the truth and how I felt and try not to get all philosophical about disabilities as I felt that may be a little condescending. So here is the story of my experience breaking my ankle.

It happened when I was heading into the office for work on Friday the 17th March, I’d been working from home for a month and so I was really excited to go in and see all of my friends. The night before I washed my hair, shaved my legs and was ready to face the outside world. That morning I put on my uniform, passed Emily on my way out as she was coming home from nightshift and walked to the bus stop. I walked down the stairs at the bus stop like I had a million times before and thought I’d reached the bottom step- I hadn’t. My stomach dropped along with the rest of me and before I knew it my ankle had rolled and I was on the ground. Honestly, writing this is freaking me out. I replay that moment over and over in my head and it makes me feel sick every time. The night after the accident and for a little bit after I would wake up suddenly after thinking about that moment in my sleep. This was my worst nightmare, I have a legitimately fear this exact occurrence- I used to think my constant fear of rolling my ankle while walking downstairs was irrational but in that moment I knew it wasn’t. It had happened.

This was not the first time I had hurt my ankle (it is the first time its actually broken though, got to thirty before breaking a bone, not too bad I guess). This is the third time I have injured my right ankle and I have also badly sprained my left ankle. The last time I sprained my ankle was almost ten years ago when I was still cheerleading, I rolled it on a gym mat. I was at my heaviest back then though and walked with a limp for a long time. I used to use my ankle pain as an excuse to not exercise but of course I found that as I lost weight the ankle pain went away. I used to walk slowly downstairs and had a real mental thing with my ankle. I realised after I had hurt it this time that I had finally gotten over that, I no longer was careful on stairs and I had no problem exercising. I just hope I get back to that mentality quickly after this recovery.

So I have fallen and people have seen it happen (how embarrassing!!!!) I’m sitting at the bottom of the bus stop stairs, crying and trying not to vomit from how bad the pain is. I lock eyes with a girl who suggests moving to a seat and tell her I have seriously hurt myself, I am not moving. A lady asks if I should call an ambulance- I tell her my sister is an ambulance (my brain is obviously working well) and I call Em who comes and gets me. The wait between the lady leaving me (only after I convinced her it was fine to leave me) and Em coming is awful. I am crying, embarrassed and in so much pain. A few people stop to ask if I am okay- I assure them I am. It was nice to see how many people actually cared about me- thanks Buranda bus station people. Em and I decided not to go to the hospital that day because we both couldn’t be bothered waiting forever in emergency, plus we figured it was just sprained. The next day it was very swollen and very sore, I went to the Doctor, then off to radiology, confirmed it was broken and then off to ED. The kicker was that because it was a weekend, they couldn’t put me in a moon boot as they weren’t available but not to worry- they would call me through the week and I would get the cast swapped for a moon boot. In the following two weeks while I struggled with my cast, I would lament the decision to go on Saturday not Friday, i just kept think “I would be in a moon boot right now, not this awful cast.”

As I mentioned, I was then in the cast for two weeks and a half weeks. I have never had a cast before and man, was it the worst! I was pretty immobile for that time because I had crutches and they are useless! It is absolutely impossible to carry anything at all while using your crutches and if the ground is wet, forget it. I had a scary incident when I tried to go outside with Henry and Daisy and the tiles outside of my apartment building were wet, as soon as I put weight on the crutch, it slipped. What a terrible design! Everything changed- Henry had to take Daisy downstairs to the toilet because I couldn’t hold her lead and crutch at the same time, to wash my hair I had to sit down in the shower with a plastic bag I had taped around my leg. When I ate dinner I had to sit at the bench on a chair instead of the couch and sleeping was almost impossible. The worst part about sleeping is that I move my feet in my sleep and I kept waking up with awful cramps in my calf because I had moved my foot but I couldn’t get it out because it hurt too much to move my foot again. I also had this awful spasming of my tendons that would wake me up as well which again was from moving my foot. I know this sounds pretty inconsequential but when every single thing about how you do day to day tasks changes, its rough. It was also my right foot so I couldn’t drive and I felt pretty trapped inside my house.

It is scary how quickly my mental health slipped, I was starting to feel pretty down even by the end of that first week. It was hard to look after myself and I seriously resented Henry and Emily for being able to go to work and for leaving me. I was lonely, sore and tired. I also don’t think it helps that I wasn’t taking my anti-depressants (I know, I know but I ran out and I couldn’t easily go get them and just kept forgetting as silly as that sounds). By the end of week two I was barely getting out of bed, I just didn’t see the point. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone and didn’t feel like going anywhere even if that had’ve been an option. I was awful to be around, I was angry, resentful and tired. I remember getting ready for something and getting so frustrated I hit the wall in anger- that is absolutely something I would normally do. I snapped at Emily and Henry and treated them like crap even though they were helping me. I still hadn’t heard from the fracture clinic to get my moon boot. I called and called and it just rang out, adding to my frustration. When I finally got through, the lady told me I didn’t have an appointment until the 13th April. I cried after I got off the phone, that was still two weeks away.

On the Monday of the third week, I was at my absolute lowest, I was home alone, had slept until 2pm and was sitting in the kitchen trying to will myself to cook food. I had been mean to my poor boyfriend and started a fight even though he had been amazing and looked after me. Instead of making food, I just sat and cried. Then I remembered
I had gotten two phone calls that morning from the same number- I checked the message and it was the fracture clinic. I could go in and get a moon boot and I made an appointment for Wednesday.

Henry took me to the clinic on the Wednesday, I was given my moon boot and that afternoon we went to New Farm park and I went for a slow but very happy stroll along the riverbank. Everything has looked up from there! I got rid of my crutches just after Easter and now I am only using my moon boot when I walk outside. In my apartment I don’t need it. I started Physio which is helping so much and I have almost normal movement in it again.

One of the biggest things I was scared of was gaining weight, I was absolute terrified of it. In the past, I would have just gone back to terrible eating and no exercise at all but this time I forced myself to hobble straight back into the gym. Obviously the exercises have had to change a bit, no legs, only arms and back and no cardio. To begin with Henry and to carry everything for me and set me up at each machine and I had to modify anything that required me to stand up. The moon boot meant me being able to carry my own stuff and stand up properly and then last week- I started cycling on the bike again. I am looking forward to the day when I can deadlift and squat again and it annoys me that I will have to start all over again with being the weights back up. But at the end of the day, I know I am lucky. I get to actually be able to do those things again and I know there are people that never will. Damn, I broke my promise to not get philosophical!

So theres my story, that’s how I felt and what happened to my brain when my normal life was interrupted. I am not one hundred percent proud of my actions but there really wasn’t anything I could do to stop it. I was lucky to be able to recognise that I was depressed and knew it was just because of my ankle and even though there was the old dark cloud fogging everything, I knew I just had to push through and it would get better. Depression is a bitch and it can really make you feel pretty hopeless and please, please if you are in the black fog and don’t feel you have a way out- know I am always here and there really is a way out.



Walking around on broken legs

Whole Lotta Rosie

I have legitimately been trying to lose weight since I finished high school, it started when I saw my formal photos and the image of myself in my head didn’t match what I was seeing. I have always been overweight, I was really tall in primary school and always a little bigger than everyone else. I remember as a six year old starting dancing and having to wear a leotard and I was thankful I wore a green sash around my tummy as I felt like that distracted the lack of flatness. I always wore a ‘special’ costume that was different to everyone else’s because most costumes showed tummy and I was very self conscience of mine. The thing is though as a teenager, I thought I was fat when I was wearing size 12 and 14 when all of my friends were in 8s and 10s, my best friends were always the tiniest little things but boy did I have a surprise coming. You know that meme that says “man I wish I was the size now that I was when I first thought I was fat” that’s exactly how I feel.

I had always been an eater- as a child I remember convincing my Grandma to let me have four pieces of toast lathered with butter but the rapid weight gain started when I started dating a boy.  I would go and stay at his place for the weekend, there was never food in my house because we were pretty poor but when I went to his there was just so much food! I remember us making a cup of tea and finishing a packet of Milk Arrowroot biscuits together. He used to make me sausages for lunch- like eight of them and we used to regularly drink this milk shake thing that was milk, milo, chocolate ice cream and these chocolate flakes on top. Not only were we eating so much, we were also not doing any activity. We would go to the video shop- hire a number of movies and watch them for the entire weekend. There were meals between meals of chips from the fish and chip store, every Monday at dancing I would get chicken and chips and then eat dinner at home afterwards. My sister and I were very busy with lots of extra curricular things and during eisteddfod time we would be a McDonald’s pretty much every night. Life was just so busy so there wasn’t time for home cooked meals. I distinctly remember going to put on my size fourteen skirts that had fit me just the week before and not being able to get them past my thighs. I was a bit concerned but I had no idea just how serious the situation was.

There are mental things that go along with this as well, I was a very depressed teenager and I have on and off been a very depressed adult. Eating has always helped with that but I know the old “I eat because I am fat but I am fat because I eat” cycle very well. The eating with my teenage boyfriend brought me happiness, my home life was pretty rough with an abusive and very mentally unwell father so I escaped home, hung out with my boyfriend, ate and temporarily wasn’t depressed. There was also the constant hounding from my father about the fact that I was fat- note to fathers: telling your children they are fat, will NOT help them lose weight, especially when you’re not doing anything to promote healthy eating or family activity. Also when your daughter says “You’re lucky I don’t have an eating disorder” and you reply with “Not much chance of that.” or say things like “I am surprised someone your size feels the cold so much.” Also doesn’t help. But enough of that shit.

So 17 year old Caitlin gets her formal photos back, they don’t quite look the way she expected. I just couldn’t believe it!! Why had no one sat me down and really explained how much I had gained??? It wasn’t their fault though, I would never have believed it. So I finally weighed myself- I weighed 98 kilograms at seventeen years old!! My mum and I then tried on and off and fairly unsuccessfully to lose weight but back then there wasn’t the wealth of info there is these days. I lost a bit but nothing to write home about.

The next major turning point came again from seeing photos, this time from my 21st. I didn’t look twenty-one, I looked like a large 35 year old. This time I swore I would fix it. I was living out of home by then but mum and I joined weight watchers and I had finally started to cook for myself. I had some awesome success with weight watchers, I lost 15 kilos and it is great as a starting point. It taught us a lot of stuff we didn’t know like portion control and how to substitute food. To be honest though- since learning more and getting into gym and fitness more than ever, I just found that I didn’t agree with some of the things they do- this is absolutely not me saying weight watchers is bad because it absolutely is not, I just felt like it wasn’t the right fit for me and my goals anymore.

So I lost 15 kilos, bought a pair of size fourteen skinny jeans and was the skinniest I have ever been but then I moved to London and went travelling. Now I absolutely do not regret a single calorie I put on overseas- it was all so worth it. I had this attitude of “I am only here once and I am on holiday” even though this ‘holiday’ was a year long but I ate and drank everything I wanted to. I came home 8 kilos heavier. Not too bad considering I had a friend who was there for two years and put on twenty kilos.  I came home, lost most of that again and then I broke up with my boyfriend of six years.

I moved cities, I changed jobs, I started to enjoy my life in Brisbane and once I started making money, I loved going out and eating and drinking.Then I got a breast reduction and had a terrible recovery. And then I went to America for two months, met a boy and finally went back to the gym for the first time in a bout a year and a half and I was back to 95 kilos- nearly my heaviest.

That brings me to now, I can definitely attribute getting back into gym to my now partner. He has lost an incredible 20kgs and loves body building and I knew I couldn’t just sit at home being fat and lazy while he went out and gymmed. I know that even though he first met me at my near heaviest and still liked me, I want to feel better about myself and try again. Every other time I have lost weight I have done it just by doing cardio and gym was such a chore that I did not enjoy. This time though, my partner has shown me how to lift weights and I love it so much more. Sure I am not losing weight as quickly as I have in the past but I really like it.

I recently hit a snag when I broke my ankle, it came at the worst time, just when I was finally starting to make progress but this time I did something different that I didn’t do in the past. I kept going- I didn’t let the setback or change to circumstances undo all my hard work. Even at the end of last year after finally doing really well and losing about 6kgs, I got distracted by the stress of studying and by the time christmas was over I had gained it all back. This time however, I tried as hard as I possibly could to eat as well as possible and I didn’t stop going to the gym. I broke my ankle on a Friday and on the Sunday I crutched my way into a thankfully empty gym and did a shoulder work out. The next day I went when it was busy and I was so worried people would think I was an idiot but the trainers were so supportive and other members were supportive as well, one guy even said I was the most dedicated person there (I am not sure that’s true though). Now my ankle is getting better and I am able to slowly use the exercise bike and this week I did my first cardio since the injury a month ago. I don’t have much of an idea how I am going weight wise and I don’t think I have lost anything but the upper body stuff I had to stick to has definitely provided some results and I don’t feel like I have gained any weight. This year for my birthday I am going to wear a strapless dress- something I don’t think I have ever done. I am legitimately proud of myself for not letting this set back make me have to start again and I think this shows I am well on my way to this being how I live my life. I think that this shows how committed I am to being the healthiest I possibly can. My goal is to be a powerlifter but I want to be a small one so I am wanting to lose about 20kg first.

So that’s my incredibly long winded (and perhaps a little heavy in subject matter at times) struggle with weight loss, if you have made it reading this far- good work, I hope you enjoyed it. This gives a little insight into why when I see people who lose weight quickly and seemingly easily and who think they have found the magic recipe to weight loss, while I am genuinely happy for them there is a part of me that also hurts and sometimes gets frustrated. I have cried about my weight and weight loss more times than I can count and I know I shouldn’t compare my success to that of others but I do, and it makes me think “Why not me, why am I not good enough?” But it will be me and one day I won’t even gain it all back and I will just be healthy and happy for life.

Whole Lotta Rosie