Tag Archives: psychology

  After being pretty much homebound for the last 14 weeks (following my lisfranc surgery on May 10th) I took my first vacation this last week-end.   My husband and I decided to visit his senior partner who has a home on Lake Geneva.  It is a 45 minute flight from Minneapolis to Milwaukee, so it was the perfect flight to take for my first post lisfranc outing.  I was really excited to get out of town for a short week-end.


My physical therapist and I  agreed that I should wear my boot and use my cane to navigate all the walking I would need to do in the airport.  And even then, I still may need to use the handicap transportation at the airport.


I wondered how I was going to get through TSA with my boot and my cane!  As I approached the place where you take your shoes off, I was surrounded by 2 TSA agents who were more than willing to assist me.  They took my cane and gave me one of theirs.  (Mine had to be X-Rayed.)  And then I took off my one shoe and placed it in the X-ray along with my carry on.  Next I was helped up the ramp into the full body scan.  I never noticed before that there is a a definite sharp decline to walk out of the body scan, so I needed help there as well.  

After the body scan I was put in a roped off area where I offered to take off my boot.  This suggestion was met with a lot of emphatic “NO’s” from more than one agent.  Instead, the TSA agent scanned my boot!

TSA Scanning of my boot

Getting through TSA airport security with my boot

Getting through airport security was really easy and all the agents were helpful.  I was surprised they let me take pictures for my blog!

Being able to travel once again was a huge boost, psychologically, for me in my lisfranc recovery journey. It felt wonderful to be one step closer to living a normal life once again.

When my surgeon promised me cute shoes by September, I think we differed on our ideas of what I meant by cute shoes!  I was thinking cute shoes meant being able to wear some of the sandles collecting dust in my closet or maybe even maybe even slipping on a  pair of low heels! 
 After my appointment with my surgeon last week, it was clear that I will be wearing sneakers for 3 more months.  After I got through my disappointment, I turned on my computer and headed to the Zappos website for some shopping therapy.  I ordered these Saucony sneakers in a  half a size larger than I normally wear and guess what?  My recovering foot not only fits into the sneaker perfectly, I can even tie the laces!!!!
Sneakers that fit after lisfranc surgery
I am hoping my physical therapist will soon be taking away my beloved boot and upgrading me to sneakers all the time!

These new sneakers will now join my cherished pink sneakers in my closet. A girl needs choices, especially when it comes to shoes!   Both pairs have the added benefit of screaming to the world              “Back away from my feet!”  

I won’t have to worry about my recovering foot getting accidentally stepped on!!!

Yesterday, my husband and I attended the Global Leadership Summit and one of the speakers we heard was Dr. Henry Cloud.  Dr. Cloud is a famous  psychologist who wrote the 4 million best seller “Boundaries.”  

His topic yesterday was taken from his newest book, “Boundaries for Leaders.”  While the topic specifically targeted C level people (CEO’s, CFO’s etc) I couldn’t help but apply his ideas to my lisfranc recovery situation.  

I realized that after hearing my surgeon tell me I still had 3 more months of recovery in front of me my sadness and grief came from a sense of loss of control.  After all, I was taught that A + B = C.  In my reality, that would mean therapy plus ice/elevation = healing.  My thought was the harder I worked, the better outcome I would have.  I never considered the one thing I couldn’t control……healing.  Bones take time to heal.  That is something I cannot speed up, no matter how much therapy I do.  And I cannot control the amount of pain I have either as my foot continues to adjust to the titanium plate drilled into my foot. 

The loss of control is what started my downward spiral in attitude on Tuesday.  Did you know that when you start the attitude spiral decent that your actual brain starts to change?  Dr. Cloud explained his theory of the 3 P’s:

Personal:  A negative attitude causes the brain to interpret the situation in a personal way.  In my case my negative thoughts started telling me I’m not good enough or that I haven’t worked hard enough to “earn” pain free walking.

Pervasive: A negative attitude causes the brain to interpret the situation as all encompassing.  In my case my negative thoughts include saying my whole life sucks, not just the pain when walking, but every area of my life is terrible.

Permanent:  A negative attitude causes the brain to interpret the situation is never going to change and is permanent.  In my case, my negative thoughts included starting to doubt if my foot was ever going to heal.  Will I always walk with pain?

So now it is time to reverse the 3 P’s!

To dispute the Personal I have to tell myself that 99% of my negative thoughts are false.  I know I have worked hard trying to rehab my foot!  In my case, I have worked too hard at rehab and haven’t let my foot rest and heal enough in-between therapy sessions.

To dispute the Pervasive I have to realize that everyone’s life has injury and pain and just because I still have 3 more months of serious re-hab doesn’t mean I still can’t enjoy the parts of my life that are working well.  It is time to count my blessings once again

To dispute the Permanent I decided to Dr. Clouds’s suggestion and make a list of things I can’t control and compare it to the list of what I can control and then focus on the things I can control.  I mean, I do have control of some things, even if I have limited mobility. According to Dr. Cloud,  It’s all about disputing the negative brain noise.

What I can’t control
Bone healing
Amount of pain during healing
Amount of swelling
My sneaker not being able to fit
Walking with a limp
Walking with a cane
Using a handicap motorized cart while shopping at Target
Not being able to walk downstairs
Not being able to walk 1 block

What I can control
The amount of therapy I do each week
The amount of walking I endure
Stopping my activities and icing when I am in pain
My attitude
Finding activities that don’t require mobility
Making someone smile at least once each day
Being grateful for all I do have and not focusing on what I don’t have.

These lists are far from complete, but you get the general idea.  Thanks to Dr. Cloud, I have a brand new attitude and am now ready for the 2nd half of my lisfranc recovery period.

The above ideas were taken from Dr. Henry Cloud’s talk at the Global Leadership Summit 2013 and were meant to explain the downward spirals of people in leadership and to provide a solution to get back on track.  If you would like to read Dr. Cloud’s ideas without my interpretation for my personal journey they are included in his newest book:
“Boundaries for Leaders.”


Last evening was a tough night for me psychologically.  I had such high hopes that my lisfranc surgery recovery was almost over. After being so limited, mobility – wise, for such a long time,  I was really looking forward to resuming my normal routines.   

Mentally I had already started planning for what is left of summer with maybe a pool party or hosting a large family Labor Day party.  I  wanted to throw myself fully into fall life starting out with a fall vacation followed by long walks around our lakes looking at the fall colors.  I couldn’t wait to be “out there” among the living once again.
After meeting with my surgeon and finding out that realistically I will not be walking comfortably for another 3 months,  my dreams crumbled.  I tried really hard to talk myself into the whole glass is half full thing which sounded very much like blah blah blah.  But no matter how many “it could be worse” scenarios I could envision,  I had to come to grips that I was overwhelmed by disappointment.

When my husband walked through the door, I burst into tears which had been building all day.  I asked him not to “fix” my pain, but to just hold me and let me share my disappointment with him.  I think the amount of tears stunned him into doing the guy thing complete with a pep talk and telling me I was going to prove my surgeon wrong etc.  He was trying to help, but it made me feel worse.  I felt very alone in my grief.

This morning I woke up and knew that in order to survive the next 12 weeks, I was going to have to  re-enter my Zen mode of survival which I used during my 6 weeks of complete non weight bearing recovery period.  During that time, I can remember pulling into myself and learning to listen to my thoughts and emotions.  I was in my own little world since I had no power to enter the world of moving, active people.  My personal thoughts and emotions became more real to me than the outside world that I watched from my windows.  I was completely dependent on others for all of my needs, even my basic needs.

To try to achieve a partial Zen like sate I started out my day with a 90 minute massage and a good conversation with my massage therapist.  Turns out that she is also a psychologist and understood exactly what I was trying to accomplish with my massage.

I have now re-entered my Zen mode, slowing my life down once again.  It won’t be as intense as it was during my complete non weight bearing period, but this peaceful state of mind will prove to be just as useful.

I am slowly letting go of my fall plans and tonight I was even able to deal with the fact that I will be missing quite a few of the Vikings home games.  Our season tickets are 8 rows off the field and there is no way I can handle the steps or the amount of walking it would take to attend.  I have already started planning on who to give the tickets to, and have even enjoyed thinking about how the different people might find joy in attending a Vikings game.

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