Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Post op- Day 5

Day 5

So my tubey-grip tried to attack me last night. I woke up at 3am with my knee area hurting like hell, only to feel that my tubey grip had all rolled up and was digging in super right right above my knee. You know when you wear a pair of socks that are too tight around your ankle, and it digs in, and you get a good itch from it where it's gone all red? Well, it was like. Only, replace the satisfying itch with excruciating pain. I might start sleeping with it doubled over rather than tripled over. I fell back asleep again, s'all good.

I've taken some swelling pictures. I'm pretty impressed. There's not a lot of difference, from my biased perspective.


I know, I know. You want a close up of these bad boys. Well here you go.
Still a bit squidgy

I am, however, legitimately concerned that I may have been beaten up by the surgeon and his team. My leg looks like a prop from The Walking Dead..

Corpse leg vs normal leg

EURGH. From this angle, my bad leg is definitely more swollen. Mainly in the calf and ankle though. It doesn't seem to bad looking down on it. On second thoughts, I have done such an unreliable photo. The picture of my bag leg was taken considerably closer to my leg than my right one. And I'm a freakin' scientist. How embarrassing. Anyway, I digress.. 

I've officially hit boredom today. The weather is too inconsistent to lie out in (I'm lying out in the sun for like, 7min intervals. It's hardly worth lowering myself into the sun lounger), my brother has just gone back to uni so I have nobody to bully, and I suck at PS3.

I'm about to write a diet plan so I a) avoid turning into a super fatty and b) can return to Jiu Jitsu just sucky, not fat and sucky. I eat pretty good on the whole (too many treats recently) but I know what works well for my body and how to lose the weight properly (I've lost about 40lbs since starting Jiu Jitsu). I'll have to keep doing bits and pieces like that to keep myself busy. I'm really hoping I'll be able too do a small upper body workout maybe tomorrow or the next day. I've bee feeling good today, so we'll see.


3 x 10 Knee Flexion
3 x 5 mins knee hangs
3 x 10 straight leg raises
3 x 10 quad tensening thingies

My exercise regime has yet to change, as I'm following my rehab notes given to me when I was discharged from hospital. It says to do this stuff from day 1 to day 14. I'm booking a Physio appointment tomorrow sometime, so I guess I'll be doing the same thing until then. 

It's good because I can tell I'm getting better at them. I don't have to shout "Up! UP!" at my leg when doing straight leg raises anymore, and I only swear a little bit when I do the knee flexion drills (again, they felt really good today, maybe even reached a 110 bend)

I've been slacking on strengthening my quads. Which is stupid because one of the things I was worried about was having one hench leg and one chicken leg, yet I'm doing nothing about it. The exercise is to literally tense your quad. When I do that, I feel it over my entire knee cap. I just did it then, as I typed this. I'd rather stick pins in my eyes. It's foul. No thanks.

I'm waiting until I can weight bare better, then I've read that they start getting you to do baby squats. Maybe I should just man up and do the tensening drills though..

Knee hangs are fine again. Feeling like I can relax more, and really sink into them. Weeeee.

Here's a video of my knee flexion drills. I reckon I'm close to 110 degrees on them:

Icing (20-30mins)


My best friend (the cryocuff) is serving me well still. Oh, that reminds me. I lied yesterday. I said I took no pain killers. It got to about 7pm and I felt really achey so I was persuaded to take them. Today I took some ibuprofen late morning, it's 4:30 as I type, so I may take some more at dinner. I guess they're antiinflammatory too. Bonus.

Technically today has been another success, I'm just feeling a little deflated. It's one thing being off work, but if I can't train/go to the gym/paddleboard/DOANYTHINGILIKE then what's the point? Man, I can't even carry anything anywhere. I roll my bottle of juice down the hallway as I make my way to the lounge. Winner.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Post op- Day 4

Day 4-

Woke up at 5am. Not in pain or anything, but that was the time my body decided to wake up, and I was wiiiide awake. 

Not much to report today, other than I've stopped taking painkillers. I figured I'm not actually in "pain" much, it's just a dull ache. And I figured I could (wo)man-up enough to not take any pills anymore.


3 x 10 knee flexion
3 x 5 min knee hangs
3 x 10 straight leg raises
3 x 10 hamstring strengthening contractions

 I'm putting it down to the lack of painkillers, as today has been tougher than yesterday. I'm not so naive to believe that every single day is going to be an improvement on the last, as today has proven. I couldn't manage any more flexion in my knee, but I'm still managing the 95-100 degrees which I'm happy about.

I've focused a a lot more on knee extensions today. One of the common side effects of not following rehab thoroughly, is be the long-term inability to fully straighten the leg. I can't afford to not be able to lock out my leg, so I've been making sure I do my knee hangs. Where possible, I've been 'hanging" my good leg too, for comparison. The pictures don't show it very well (at all) but I was very close to full extension today. It's a case of really really relaxing. Any tense muscles and it prevents your knee sinking into the hang.

Knee hangs- comparing good and bad knee
 The suns been out lots today so I've taken the opportunity to lie out in the sun in a reclining sun lounger whilst resting.

Icing (20-30mins)


Side note; my Mum/Brother freakin hates me for asking them for ice so much. Haaaaaa. Love.

That's all for today really. Not much to report, but I guess there will be days like this. 

In terms of general exercise, I decided before my operation that I'd give myself 5-7 days to fully rest. I figured my body needs to spend time healing before I try and do anything (which will primarily be upper body stuff for a while). 

Tried some walking today. Not much, because I'm a bit achey. My ankle and calf are still a little swollen, maybe a little less than yesterday though.

Yawn, bit of a boring one today. Hopefully more to report tomorrow.


Monday, 28 April 2014

SWOT Test in BJJ

I've just nabbed this off the UK BJJ Underground Forum. Richard, the guy who runs the BJJ website/blog Attack The Back uses this, with the guidance of his coach, Gary Davies at Somerset Jiu Jitsu Alliance, to help self evaluate his Jiu Jitsu.

I'm a massive believer in setting goals to achieve things. Specific goals, not general goals. The best way to progress in anything in life is to assess your current situation, and work out what you need to do to improve. Which is why I get a little annoyed when I read posts from experienced people in the Jiu Jitsu community telling newer people to "just train" in order to get better.                        
 "You need matt time". "Just train". "Shut up and train". 
 Well, no. Not really. If you're doing something shit, you're going to continue doing it shit if you use that approach. Yes, you figure a hell of a lot of Jiu Jitsu out for yourself. It's a massive game of trial and error. You work out what techniques work best for your body type, height, strength, flexibility etc. But for people to achieve their potential in anything (not only Jiu Jitsu), they need targeted, specific, individual guidance. S'what we do in the education system, innit.

SWOT stands for Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Here's how the guys at Somerset Jiu Jitsu Alliance use it;
"We were all given print outs that our instructor had made specifically for members of the club and asked to fill it out in our spare time, he would then spend some time with our answers, roll with us and write out a personalised analysis about our game and how we can improve."- Taken from Richards blog which can be found --> here
So Imma have a go. But I'm going to make 2. Because I'm going to be off the mats for a few months, I'm going to do a physical SWOT test (for when I can train again) and a mental SWOT test, for now. To keep me sane.

So, let's do this;

Physical SWOT 


  • Knee slide pass
  • Regaining half guard
  • Movement when on top (always moving to maintain a strong position in side control)


  • Speed. I'm slllllllllow.
  • Attacking mentality- I lack it. Too often I find myself on the defensive rather than pushing forward and being offensive.
  • Passing/sweeping on my "bad side". 


  • Bestest coaches and training partners. Ranging from monsters to tiny little people, white belts to black belts.
  • An ego less atmosphere to train in.
  • A coach who encourages you to try new things, not be afraid of getting smashed, and to develop your own style of Jiu Jitsu.


  • I'M CRIIPPPLLLLEEEEEEEDDDDDDD. Stupid freakin' knees.
  • I might forget, EVERYTHING. By the time I get back on the mat I'll have forgotten how to shrimp, and will think a peruvian necktie is an item of clothing.
  • I'll be super paranoid about my knee when I train. Might make me hesitate and slow down any progression until I build back my confidence.

Mental SWOT


  • PMA. (It's fizzling out by the hour..)
  • I have plenty of cool stuff to do; edit videos, take photos, write for Jiu Jitsu Style magazine, bore people I don't know to death with my blog.
  • Goal setting. I've set myself some things I'm going to achieve next year. And imma do it.


  • I miss training alreaaadddyyyy. 'Obsession' might be an understatement. I'm waiting for the shakes to kick in and I can't imagine not rolling hard for 9 months. If I don't think about it, then it's not real. Right?
  • I like food. I manage to maintain weight quite nicely when training. But that's 3 x Jiu Jitsu classes, and 4 strength and conditioning classes a week. I will might get fat/ter.
  • Uuuuhhhhh... I'm cranky when I can't train. Which means I might make those around me cranky. Crankiness for everyone!


  • I'm moving into a new house. A house with 2 spare rooms. I have permission to make one a Jiu Jitsu room. I have the mats and everything already. A FREAKIN' MATTED ROOM. Myself and Flavio are going to live in there. 
  • Spend more time with significant other/family/friends. Time to remind them all that Jiu Jitsu isn't my only love.
  • My coach wants to help keep me sane by coaching the junior class, helping out in classes, as well as doing the odd bit of reffing. More stuff to help keep me in the loop.


  • Falling behind at Jiu Jitsu. Stupid ego. 
  • Becoming frustrated at myself for not being able to train, or not progressing in rehab as fast as I want to.
  • Did I mention I like food? Food is a threat. A sweet, sweet, tasty threat.

The physical SWOT is something I will give to my coach Darren when I'm back training again. I guess the mental SWOT is for my own reference. 

Fightworx guys and visiting Somerset Jiu Jitsu Alliance guys

So, in order to progress, self assess yourself. You know what you're good at and what you suck at. Tell your instructor those things, and along with them monitoring you at training, they will be able to see where/how you're going wrong and will be able to recommend how you can improve. THIS is how you get better at Jiu Jitsu. As well as lots of trial and error..

Massive thanks to Richard for introducing me to the idea of using this strategy.Give it a go! And check out his website here.



Post op- Day 3

Day 3- 

Pretty impressed that this gammy leg hasn't interrupted my sleeping. I've been taking some co-codamol before bed, and not had to take anything else until late morning so far. Today I've had some Ibuprofen at 11am, and that's it (it's.... just gone 6pm now). Sweeeeet.

Knee swelling is still the same, but overall pain is minimal today. Lots of bruising and swelling around my (c)ankle. Eww.

Really good day today. Real productive. It's looked like this;


10 x 3 Knee flexion drills
5 x 10 Straight leg raises
2 x 10 Hamstring strengthening contractions
3 x 5 min Knee hangs

Felt reeeeal good doing the exercises today. Especially the knee flexion drills. I wasn't wimpering in pain and it didn't feel super tight over the stitches like yeseterday. I managed a 95/100 degree bend which I'm super happy with (as it can take up to 14 days to achieve this).

Knee flexion comparisons

Day 2- approx 90 degrees

Since surgery, I have been using a dinner tray to reduce friction along the carpet, and help slide my leg more easily.

As mentioned before, doing this exercise yesterday was immensely uncomfortable. 

Day 3- approx 100 degrees
I managed about 3 sets of 5 throughout the day, and hated every minute of it. 

Compare that to today...

Where I managed a much larger degree of bend. About 100 degrees.

 It felt much easier to achieve (even without the tray). I could pull it in, in one smooth motion, compared to the jolting I was only capable of yesterday. WIN.

Icing (for 20-30mins)


Trying to get rid of my swollen cankle

It may well be the use of the cryocuff all of yesterday that had helped me achieve so well in the exercises. It really is incredible, and I'd encourage anyone who experiences frequent knee injuries/soreness to invest in one.

Inbetween icing today, I have been practicing my walking. I even managed to tackle some stairs today without injury/death. Weight bearing has been much easier today, and as mentioned above, I have managed to hobble a little without crutches- something I won't attempt again until I am a little more balanced. The main point I'm trying to make is I'm not experiencing any pain when putting weight through the leg (something which is fairly common).

It's still super early days, but if I keep progressing as I have been, I'll be a happy Shebeast.


Sunday, 27 April 2014

Post op- Day 2

Day 2-

Another good night of sleep. Lying around and playing Mortal Kombat must be exhausting me..

I took of my tubey grip and had a nosey at the state of my knee today. Mainly because I'm a rebel, but also because, as mentioned yesterday, I couldn't feel the cold of the ice getting through to my knee. 

Side note: My iodine stained leg looks freeeeakin' nasty still. Despite having a shower this morning, I swear. Oh yeah, the shower was interesting. I decided I'd stand (because only old ladies sit down in the shower), which made for a terrifying ordeal. I reckon I'm about 70:30 in terms of weight distribution. But I thought I might trip and die. But I didn't. Hooray for me.

Post tubey grip wrinkle-age

Today has largely been a day of rehab exercises and icing like crazy.


2 x 10 knee flexion (aka holycrapthisistortureflexion)

5 x 10 minute holds of passive knee stretch
3 x 10 straight leg raises 

I've focused more on hyperextending my knee today. I've read so much literature before the surgery, and the fastest recoveries followed the regime of; get the swelling down with heaps of ice (check) and reduce swelling ASAP in order to be able to regain full ROM faster.

Despite what mummybeast says, I don't think the swelling is as bad as I had envisaged;

Thin (ish) vs. Fatty
However, the front of my knee has felt very tight today. I've managed to get a 90 degree bend again, but it was more challenging than yesterday. I feel like I'm about to blow out all the stitches when I try to get a 90 degree bend. Not an enjoyable experience. So I did them, but not as many as I did yesterday.

Despite hands on my hips, my face is more like "AAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHOOHHGODDDDDD"

So yeah, hyper-extensions and leg raises today. I should probably mention that when I'm not doing the exercises, I look like this;

Looking down on leg, but I swear it's raised to chest level with more height under the ankle

Icing regime (each for 20mins):

6pm- Introduced cryocuff (see below)

At about 5:30 I sent some minions over to collect a cryocuff from my coach Darren. It is the most incredible, beautiful, thoughtful creation in existence. Ram some ice in the top, a little cold water, pump it up and let the coolness flow round. It's lusssshhhhhh.

I approve

In addition to the exercises, I've also been practicing my walking- whilst wearing the sexy brace. Post ACL surgery you're encouraged to fully weight bare as soon as possible. As I can stand up unassisted, I figured I'd be walking pretty soon. However, putting all my weight on the operated leg feels horrrrrrrible. Not painful or anything, just, weird. I'll be taking it super steady, but I'll be practicing 4 or 5 times a day.

I'm trying to avoid developing any bad habits in reference to using the crutches too. I'm walking super slow, and making sure I bend my knee, and placing my foot down heel-toe.

My brother (she..bro?) had an MCL reconstruction in December last year, so has some experience in how to get back to walking properly. He's my walking guru.

He has more holes in his leg though.

Extra side note; Whilst we have had different ligaments reconstructed, his involved a hamstring graft, and mine is a patella graft. It will be interesting to compare when we are both fully healed, as I've heard conflicting opinions on each graft. 

Ah, I've also remembered I've bought some supplements to help fix me. Along with my usual whey protein (that I usually drink post workout, but am currently drinking pre bed time) I've bought this stuff:


So ligaments are made of collagen, collagen is in this lemon bon bon flavoured thing, so I've had a serving today and may start having a couple of servings a day.

Pain has been on and off today. Yesterday I alternated ibuprofen with co-codamol and felt fine. I've tried to ease off today and I've only had one serving of each. I am feeling it though. Again, not so much in my knee, but the stitches and actual wound hurts (probably from the compression of the tubey grip and the painful-bending-death exercises).

Pain-o-meter- probably a 4 or 5. Most painful thing today has been accidentally dropping a bag of frozen peas on my knee, and having a trapped nerve in my bum when standing up earlier on.

All in all, an improvement on yesterday, even if only a little.


Saturday, 26 April 2014

Post op- Day 1

 DAY 1-

I slept good. No waking in night crying out in pain or anything. I needed to pee at 5:30, but that was it. Getting on and off the loo is a challenge though. I'm very grateful I had been practicing single leg squats before the surgery!

Check out my morning ROM;

Pretty good, huh? 

The yellow stuff is iodine. I'm not a filthy animal.

Rehab movements today:

4 x 15 knee flexion 
4 x 5min holds of passive knee stretch (knee hang)
3 x 10 Static quad tensing
3 x 5 Straight leg raises
Knee flexion. Skanky legs still covered in iodine.. 

My icing regime is as follows;

Icing for 20mins at 

  • 8am
  • 11am
  • 3pm
  • 6pm
  • 9pm
As I mentioned in my previous post, the bandages around my leg are thick as hell right now. There's cotton wool and all sorts under there. So I'm not sure how much the ice is really helping with the swelling (or indeed, how much swelling there is, as I can't decipher swelling for bandage!).

I reckon I'm almost achieving a 90 degrees bend in my knee now (8pm).

Still trying to weight bear, but really struggling. I can stand up fine, but its 90:10 ratio of weight distribution right now. Very painful if I try to put any more weight down.

That's the only thing that causes discomfort. I'm on 400mg tablets of ibuprofen, and 500mg of Co-codamol and taking them throughout the day when it starts to ache a little. But that's all experienced so far, a dull ache. When doing my exercises later on, it got a little worse. But nothing like I'd imagined. On my (just this second made-up) pain-o-meter, I'd probably say I'm cruising along at a 3/4 today.


At about 5pm I took off the bandages. I was icing my knee, and whilst the top of the bandages felt cold, when I put my fingers underneath it (passed all the layers and cotton wool), my knee felt really hot. I know how imperative icing is to the rehab process, so figured I'd take off the bandages, but keep it compressed with a super tight tuby grip. I could feel the coolness of the ice afterwards. I reckon I've made a good decision.

Played around with bearing a little more weight later on and managed to walk much better. I'll take photos and a little video of that tomorrow though.

That's all for day 1. Day 2 to follow tomorrow..


ACL reconstruction- Day of Surgery

Surgery day- yaaay! Time for a new ACL.

After deciding I didn't like my birth one, I detached it in August last year after failing to sprawl properly on a double leg takedown (sidenote; wrestling hates me).

So I'm up and at the hospital for stupid o'clock. I was first on the list for surgery (wahoo!) which meant they chucked a gown at me, took a pee sample, and also gave me some of their own underwear to wear. Imagine, if you will, a shower cap with 2 holes in. And I'd worn my cookie monster pants especially. Dammit.

Some chick comes in and asks what leg I'm having done and draws "ACL and an arrow" on my left shin.

Pretty sure my ACL is a little higher up than that..

They ask all the usual questions, confirmed I was who they thought I was (about 8 times) and then I was off down to be cut open.

This was my first time receiving anaesaestehthia. I don't remember going to sleep. The nurses were all super friendly and were chatting away when I was told they were going to put me under.

I vaguely remember coming round and having the foggiest conversation with the surgeon. I asking him if I had any microfractures (something he said was unlikely, but the rehab to it involved being hooked up to some knee bending machine for 2 hours, 3 times a day for 6 WEEKS). I don't remember him answering me, but when I finally came round properly, the nurse who was there during this foggy conversation that no I didn't have any micro-fractures which was apparently followed by me fist punching the air and saying "yeaaaaahhhh" (awkward).

Kinda, not really come round yet

I then got wheeled to a recovery room where I was fed bourbons and custard cremes, how very British. Within half an hour or so I was wheeled off for an X- ray and then brought back again.

The Physio came round a while later and gave me some crutches and a knee brace that I have to wear for 6 weeks when moving around. She gave me an extensive list of exercises to do as well as information on how often I should be doing them.
*Note* the sexy compression sock and my loafers. Total trend setter.

I got a couple of packs of pills thrown at me and Mummy Shebeast was called to come and collect me. Putting my clothes back on was, interesting.

Once home I elevated and iced my knee. The dressing and wraps are pretty thick (they can come off after 48hours) so I'm not entirely sure much of the coldness is getting through. Regardless, I've set alarms on my phone to remind myself to ice it for 20mins every 2/3 hours, religiously.

Think that pretty much sums up my surgery day. Played a bit of Mortal Kombat when I got home. Dozed a bit. Ate some dinner as my appetite increased later in the day.

Day 1 to follow..