Harder, Better, (slightly) Fatter, Stronger: One year after I broke my leg in roller derby

Funk Roll Brother, my roller derby alter ego, a few months before breaking my leg.

On October 16, 2010, I broke my leg playing men’s roller derby. I shattered my fibula and broke my tibia, the only two bones that connect the knee to the foot. After two surgeries, I now have a metal rod in my right leg, plus a plate on my ankle and a dozen screws holding it all together (see: x-ray photos).

A year later, I’m harder, better, (slightly) fatter and stronger.

Harder: With my new bionic leg, the doctor told me I was virtually indestructible. It should be harder to break my leg than ever. Kind of like the movie Kick-Ass, only I’m certainly not about to dress up like a superhero and run around fighting crime. “Virtually” is not the same as “completely.” Plus, spandex? Ew.

Better: I’m about 98% recovered. I can walk normal, go up and down the stairs, dance, skip, even run a little bit. My knee is the only thing still holding me back sometimes, as the joint still hurts if I push it too hard — so I try and stick with non-impact cardio whenever possible, but I’ve done a few kickball games this summer and I’ll sprint through the rain to my car. I’m almost all better.

Fatter: Since I broke my leg, I’ve gained about 10-15 pounds. I was on a couch for two months, recovering, but that’s not much excuse 10 months later. My diet isn’t great (but it never has been) and my job is pretty sedentary; still, I really just need to motivate myself to exercise more. I’m not going back to roller derby, but that wouldn’t help much anyway — the sport’s fun, but it doesn’t really do a whole lot for fat burning. Suzy Hotrod didn’t get her body from just roller skating around, folks.

Stronger: Not being able to use my leg for two months, I built up upper body strength. Using crutches, I was forced to use my arms more for everything. I don’t have tickets to the gun show or anything, but I can carry my DJ equipment more easily than I used to.

In the rest of my life, I’m still doing the same things I enjoy doing — music, going to concerts, socializing, writing, movies, etc. The only thing I have yet to attempt with my new bionic leg is airport security. I haven’t flown anywhere since the injury, and I’d be curious to see if I set off the metal detectors. The doctor told me it wouldn’t, but we’ll just have to see…

Starting off 2011 on the right foot, a.k.a. an update on my broken leg

X-ray of my right leg

An x-ray of my right leg, two months after breaking it in a roller derby bout. You can see the rod going through the bigger bone, which still hasn't fully healed.

On October 16th, I broke my leg in a roller derby bout against Mass Maelstrom near my hometown in Massachusetts. I shattered (and I hate to use the word “shattered” because I’m a hypochondriac, imagining the worst of every injury) my fibula and broke my tibia, meaning there was nothing connecting my foot bone to the knee bone. After two surgeries and 39 staples, I’m bionic – I’ve got a plate on my ankle, a metal rod in my right leg, and a dozen screws holding it all together.

For the first month, I was relegated to a couch and wore a huge, awkward boot that left me largely immobile. I watched more crap movies (did you know that Netflix doesn’t offer subtitles/captions on most of their instant titles?) and crap TV than I care to recount.

At my doctor’s request, I stayed at my father’s house twenty miles outside of Boston. It was good because a) I got to see family and hometown friends; b) my recovery required lots of check-ins to make sure I was recovering well; and c) I couldn’t even get around with crutches or a walker, much less make meals or do basic chores. I did get to have my favorite sub, though, the Budster: chicken fingers, bacon, BBQ sauce, and cheese in a torpedo sandwich. YUM. However, I couldn’t sleep, and I was taking painkillers like they were breath mints. Worse, I missed Syracuse and my life there.
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