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Megan's Post Surgery Training Update
By:  Megan McTavish   (2004/10/18)


As you all know (in case not see previous article "Megan the Klutz: 4 Summers, 3 Surgeries") I had knee surgery earlier this summer. In my last article I described the actual surgery and the two following weeks. Those were by far the most painful and toughest two weeks of my summer, but the rest has been a bit of a struggle as well. I thought that I'd give a bit of insight as to what it is like to try to continue training with a serious injury since it seems to have become my specialty.

Once the surgery was over and I had spent my first two weeks at home on the couch, it was time to get back into school and training. School was a bit difficult at first, simply because I was really tired due to lack of sleep (I had to sleep with my leg in a brace that kept it straight....not the most comfortable position!). Luckily, after 4 weeks I was allowed to discard the brace and life became a lot more comfortable!

The bigger obstacle was ski training. After the first week, I tried weight lifting which was fine (upper body only!) as long as someone came with me and handed me weights....my walking wasn't steady enough to do this on my own. Once I arrived in Ottawa, I was itching to do something more aerobic than weightlifting and was very excited to get in my kayak and head out on Meech Lake under strict instructions to "stay close to shore!"...it would have been hard to swim with the big brace on my leg! I also started physio and was working on getting my foot all the way around on the stationary bike. My saving grace those first 3 weeks back in Ottawa was my teammate Alicia Berthiaume! She was home visiting her parents and was free to come and pick me up...I couldn't drive...carry my canoe or kayak, help me get in the boat and either canoe with me or if I was kayaking, go running and return at a predetermined time to help me get back out. The final activity I was allowed to do was swimming, with no legs. I used a pullboy (foam floatie thing) between my legs to keep them afloat and did front crawl. So, between canoeing, kayaking, swimming and arm weights,....I definitely got a good upper body workout! Meanwhile, my leg was shrinking!

Finally a month after surgery I removed the brace and about a week after that I could ride my bike outside (I can't stand stationary bikes!). This gave my arms a much deserved break, although not much of one since my riding was rather slow and only on flats. Every time I went out, I was a little bit better and graduated to the hills after a couple of weeks. Luckily I have a really easy gear on my bike that usually goes unused because without it I would never have made it up Fortune or Blacks!

Now, four months have passed and I am able to ride my bike hard, double pole, walk with poles (with some striding) and run, not very fast yet though. I am also doing leg weights and jumping. It has been a rather frustrating summer but at the same time, there was always something new to do and look forward to. At times, the progress felt slow but when I think about what I couldn't do only two weeks ago, I realize I'm just being impatient.

Soon enough it will snow and luckily I will be able to ski! I can't wait! At the very least.....I should be pretty good at double poling by then!

An artist impression of Megan's current physique.

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