Road To Recovery

It took 24 years, but it finally happened. I have the official scars inducting me into the surgery club. It’s not exactly a club I want to be in, but there’s some pretty cool people in it so I guess I can manage 😉 .

Let me recap:
I tore my meniscus mid February at practice. There wasn’t some crazy fall or accident, but by the end of practice I was hobbling around. It took me one week to be on a flight heading to Anaheim with the US National Team for surgery and rehab. 4 weeks later I was on a flight bringing me back to Germany and here I am, nearly 9 weeks post surgery and back on the court!

I wanted to share some of the what I went through and figured out during my first real surgery. I realized this was also the first time in my career (I’m pretty sure) that I had to sit on the sidelines and watch my team play because I could not, no jersey, no nothin’. THAT was weird. I’m no pro at the injury/surgery/recovery thingamajig but getting my thoughts out help me a lot, so prepare for my ramble…

CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL.
Hearing the news that my injury required surgery was pretty traumatic, I honestly did not see that diagnosis coming. My doctor didn’t seem quite so sure on what to do with the crying (nearly sobbing) girl in the office, but we got through it. It took me a couple hours of tears, ‘why me’, ‘this sucks’, and chocolate to calm down and say, “Okay, this has happened, how do I respond now? What’s the next course of action.”

That’s one of the big lessons I’ve learned through college and especially in my last few years overseas that thankfully served me well: Control what you can control. There are so many crazy things that happen in life, and one thing you get to control is how you react, or more so respond, to the cards you get dealt. My initial reaction was a little rough, and I’m okay with that, but I responded well shortly after: by that evening I informed the people that needed to know- my pro team, my family, my National Team staff and doctors, and I was planning the next steps with them regards to surgery, travel, and this process I was about to embark on. Taking control of the controllables helps me feel strong even though I was relatively crushed just before.

react

SEE THE BIG PICTURE.
The day I got hurt, there were 22 days until my Pro Team played in the German Cup Finals. This Championship match is a big deal here in Germany and it was something the team and I were REALLY looking forward to- we were working towards that goal for the past 3 months. On top of that, my parents were planning to come that week, as well as my Aunt and Uncle! Great timing, right?

I ran through a lot of scenarios before I had to stop myself and re-evaluate. My #1 priority is to get healthy- as best and as quickly as possible. That meant push the Cup Final aside, push the visitors aside and make decisions that get me to a healthy knee as quickly and as perfectly as can be.

Not only that, my long term goal is a big one: helping Team USA win a gold medal in 2016. Keeping the end in mind helps keeps me going and keeps my head on straight.

What you want most

TRUST THE PROCESS.
I know for sure that I don’t know how to heal my knee from surgery on my own. Luckily I have some great people that do know how and I am putting my trust in them. So even though I want to do more some days, I’ve had to check myself and listen to them.

You have to walk before you can run and, being pretty competitive, I rather skip a couple steps to get to the running part faster. But this has been a baby step process, a day to day process, and there is no cutting corners. Like I said earlier, I want to do it right, and right means not skipping any steps.

closer

PATIENCE.
The journey through surgical recovery forced me to become more patient than I ever thought I could be. I had the itch to play and to touch that ball, to get back on that court so bad (I might always have that itch). But, I couldn’t. I could, actually, but that would be really stupid. There’s no cutting corners (see above). Do the little things, do them right. And that takes time. The road to recovery is a long, windy, twisty process that requires patience. That’s not easy, but it’s really important.

patience

CELEBRATE LITTLE STEPS.
Literally. I was ecstatic when I could take little steps, and then when I could walk stairs, and then when I could walk stairs normally. When I jumped for the first time a few weeks after surgery I could not wipe the grin off my face. It’s a long journey and celebrating the little successes helped me stay positive one step at a time.

CHECK YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
Oh expectations. I have so much to say about you. I try to remember what Karch Kiraly has said before: Keep your expectations a little lower and your hopes a little higher. We can be awfully critical of ourselves and set some pretty high standards, but imagine if you let yourself succeed a little bit more. That success creates so much more positivity and that in turn is motivation and progress and improvement, and those things can snowball into great things. It’s creating more happiness.

I tried to keep my expectations pretty low with this surgery thing, so I was shocked when I could walk (read: hobble) around my apartment the evening after surgery. And 5 days out I could actually walk pretty normally. Talk about blasting through some expectations. My next 3-4 weeks went crazy good really and I was feeling great. Just when I was excited and expecting to work back onto the court week 6, things took a bit of a hiccup. My knee told me that it wasn’t ready for the running and jumping I was doing at the end of week 5. So I was a little crushed to have to take a few steps back. I let my expectations get ahead of me. I knew that I should have expected some hiccups or setbacks along the way, but I got distracted with the great progress I already had! Staying day to day, one step at a time oriented helps me keep those expectations in check.

get up

I’m no expert on this surgery and rehab thing. This menisectomy is my first surgery and it could have been a WAY worse one (knock on wood). MAJOR props to ALL surgery patients. I’m amazed thinking about a lot of my friends who have had to come back from injuries way worse than mine. But this has reminded me of a lot of great lessons I’ve learned through my life and career, and it’s nice to know I’m still learning: about myself, my body, and how to handle setbacks and different situations. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? And I’m feeling stronger every day.

P.S. I wrote this blog entry a couple weeks ago and to update it, I have been practicing and I even got to play in our semifinal match last week! It didn’t turn out quite how we hoped but just throwing that jersey on lit up my world. And getting back on to the court? Just … 😀

Wish us luck for Wednesday as we’ll be playing to move onto the Finals!

Beach Party in January?

Beach Party!

What is this? A beach party in Germany in the heart of winter? Yup!

In our tiny town of Vilsbiburg, every January they turn the town hall into a sand filled, heat cranked party! I asked my teammate what I should be wearing to this and she said, “Summer clothes!” I was skeptical but threw on my Lulu tank top, some shorts and flip flops- under my big winter jacket and sweat pants of course. Low and behold, the beach party was Hot! The floor was covered in sand, there was a band rocking out, and bars in all the corners of the venue. It was a fun evening but now I just can’t wait to get that REAL sand in between my toes this summer 🙂

A Nice Sunday with Norisha

One Sunday morning I took a drive down towards Munich to see Norisha Campbell perform and give her testimony at her church. Norisha has a long, amazing story but I’m going to keep it short and sweet: She is an American and played volleyball for our National team but has been living in Germany for the past 11 years. She plays for the 2nd Rote Raben team and most recently was a contestant on The Voice of Germany! Besides all that, she’s a fantastic person 🙂

Norisha on my TV screen while on The Voice of Germany

Norisha on my TV screen while on The Voice of Germany

I was so excited to hear Norisha sing and let me tell you, she’s incredible. You can really feel her when she sings. But I did not expect to get so much more from my visit. Her story and her testimony is incredible. Her faith in the Lord is exquisite and he surely is using her to do special things. I was so inspired and am so happy I woke up early on a Sunday to see and experience her story and song.

Afterwards, Norisha and I headed over to the English Garden in Munich (think Central Park in NY but way bigger) and grabbed a hot chocolate at the Christmas Market at the Chinese Turendum. Again, it turned out to be such a beautiful day, nice and sunny, beautiful blue sky. We had an awesome view at one part of the garden. And as we were leaving, there were people SURFING in the water there. There is a smallish rapid at one part of the river and crazy people decided to put wet suits on and surf on that rapid. I think it’s a pretty normal occurrence but it is WAY too cold for that… crazy people.

The Chinese Tower- in the English Garden- in Munich, Germany… heh.

The Chinese Tower- in the English Garden- in Munich, Germany…
heh.

English Gardens

English Gardens

Beautiful

Beautiful

Surfing in Munich!? Was??

Surfing in Munich!? Was??

Norisha and I

Norisha and I

Anyways, it was a fantastic spontaneous day and just what I needed to relax, reboot, and be inspired for the next week.

Hagglund Siblings Take On Germany

[*ACHTUNG* (*WARNING*) This is a long post but jam packed with activities that I couldn’t cut out!]

First pic of the trip!

First pic of the trip!

As the holidays come around over seas, we generally have to find our own little ways to celebrate. Especially when days are usually centered around family time or being with your close friends, celebrating in a foreign country is usually pretty different and sometimes difficult.

Thanksgiving is a huge family holiday for everyone in the States and there generally isn’t a holiday that parallels that in other countries. I’ve made my own turkey the past few years and celebrated with my American teammates by eating our hearts out of course 😉

This year, my brother Nick came to spend a few days with me! Not to brag or anything, but we are quite the dynamic duo when it comes to adventuring around! I was so so so excited to see him and have him with me. We surely do not get to spend enough time together throughout the year. Maybe that’s why we have such a blast when we are in the same city!

Nick flew in on Wednesday afternoon and we headed directly into the heart of Munich to start his trip off right. The first thing I did was get a Starbucks from downtown 😛 as we headed to Marienplatz, the city center. Nick picked a great time to get here, because that day was the very beginning of the Christmas Markets, and let me tell you, Germany does their markets- Christkindlmarkts- right! We strolled around, checked out some churches and great views of the city. We got our first gluhwein (hot spiced wine) and for dinner we ate at the original Hofbrahaus. Nick had a pig’s knuckle- WHAT. Yes, he was left with what looked like a hoof at the end of his meal. No thanks! Afterwards we watched some people ice skating in the center hoping for some entertainment or big falls. We did a little color commentary and were most interested by the young guy trying to do a little too much in front of his girlfriend… typical 🙂

Starbucks makes expats happy :)

Starbucks makes expats happy 🙂

Munich at sunset

Munich at sunset

:)

🙂

You've got a line on your face...

You’ve got a line on your face…

Munich Christmas Market

Munich Christmas Market

I had 2 practices on our actual Thanksgiving Day so we planned to really celebrate the next day with some of my teammates. Instead of the classics on the 4th Thursday of the month, we headed into my neighboring city and had some mexican food and margaritas. Maybe not traditional for Thanksgiving or for Mexican food, but I’m not complaining whatsoever!

Friday was a busy day built around a crap ton of food. Nick and I celebrated with my 2 other American teammates- Dominique Marshall (Lamb) and MIchelle Hackley (Bartsch). Mich’s husband Corbin is here too and she also had an American friend (who plays basketball in Austria) drive up to join us. A lot of food is a massive understatement. We had a huge turkey and a duck (Corbin’s thing), I made way too much stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, corn, bread, and a giant salad bowl that wasn’t touched. Not to mention we had spinach artichoke dip as an appetizer and some hard to find cheddar cheese and crackers. And then dessert. We had so much leftovers it was crazy. I’m super proud how well everything came out (timing was a bit rough, but the oven and microwave were pretty helpful!) and we had such a nice dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The boys

The boys

The girls

The girls

After dinner, and some major clean up action, we watched The Grinch! I borrowed the club’s projector- got a call halfway through the movie for a coach asking for it… whoops!- but we played the movie on the their wall and I think we had at least 3 sleeping bodies within the first 15 minutes 🙂

On Saturday Nick and I continued our whirlwind ways. First thing in the morning we headed down towards Munich and toured Dachau, a concentration camp from WWII. This is the first time Nick or I had any real first hand experience with any of those atrocities and it was powerful. It’s truly unbelievable to comprehend what happened, but being in those rooms, seeing those showers, walking in the barracks- it is sickening. I try to imagine what these people experienced during the War- what life (if that’s what you could call it) was like- and my heart crumbles. It’s something I’m grateful to see though, to learn and remember how terrible people can be and yet also how strong and resilient. I hope I have an opportunity to learn and see more as my time in Germany continues.

A gorgeous view from inside one of the memorials

A gorgeous view from inside one of the memorials

One of the gas chambers at Dachau. Fortunately, none of the chambers there were actually used for extermination.

One of the gas chambers at Dachau. Fortunately, none of the chambers there were actually used for extermination.

Dachau

Dachau

After a very somber morning, we had to seriously switch gears, because we now were heading to a Bayern Munich Football Game (achem, that’s soccer to us Americans). FC Bayern is THE best team in the world right now. Last year they won The European Championships.We got tickets from one of the lower division coaches in my volleyball club. This was my very first European professional soccer game , same for Nick, and we were PUMPED! First of all, they play in an AMAZING venue. The Allianz Arena is super cool- this huge round building that is lit brightly in either white, red, blue or a mix. The stadium was PACKED. Every seat filled. The fan section in the level right below was going NUTS the entire 90+ minutes. The ring leader gets major props. He was hooting and hollering and had a megaphone I couldn’t even hear but he was shouting his lungs out… all in a normal t-shirt while it was freezing outside! You go fan club ring leader.

First European Football game for both of us!

First European Football game for both of us!

IMG_4999

Go Bayern Munich!

Go Bayern Munich!

With a nice 2-0 win for FC Bayern, it was time for us to get another fill of the Christmas Markets. We hit 3 other markets around the city. At one they were serving not just Gluhwein but some drink called Feuerzangenbowle. We saw someone holding this drink and the top of it was frickin’ on fire! DONE, 2 PLEASE. It was really yummy and had a burning sugar cube on the side. So cool. And probably pretty dangerous given the flammability and how delicious it was. We checked another market called Tollwood which is coated on the fairground where Oktoberfest is held a couple months prior. This was another really cool set up, very cultural and very funky. They served tons of different foods and had lots of gifts and trinkets available from all over the world.

Feuerzangenbowle! FIRE!

Feuerzangenbowle! FIRE!

Quarkbällchen. Fried doughs of goodness that needed to be shared!

Quarkbällchen. Fried doughs of goodness that needed to be shared!

Sunday came around way too quick. For Nick’s last day we were making a bit of a road trip. We drove down to Neuschwastein Castle, in the middle of nowhere. The castle was built by Crazy King Ludwig and is quite extravagant and quirky inside and out. The colors and details and different styles seem to have absolutely no rhyme or reason but there’s a lot of everything! This castle is also the one that inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle at the parks. LIke I said, the Castle is kind of in the middle of nowhere, but boy is nowhere beautiful! The highlight of the day was walking around and taking a bajillion pictures of the gorgeous freshly fallen snow all over the Castle, the trees, the mountains, and along the river. Germany definitely qualifies as a winter wonderland and we had the Christmas tunes in full swing!

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

He can't stop kicking!

He can’t stop kicking!

Lastly, we hit one more market in Munich to break up the drive back to Vilsbiburg– and I think we may have saved the best for last: a Renaissance themed Christmas Market! This Market was so cute and quirky. So many old school outfits and stalls and types of food, gifts, and drinks. We had a ‘Thor’s Hammer’ drink so of course we toasted to the Gods. There was a fun group of performers that played some music and did some goofy comedy skits for entertainment as well. It was a great way to cap off the trip.

Thor's Hammer, drink of the God's, clearly.

Thor’s Hammer, drink of the God’s, clearly.

Unfortunately that brings us to the end of Nick’s mini-vacation to Germany. It is so true that time flies when you’re having fun (and maybe when you do a ton of stuff in less than 5 days) because we had a BLAST! I was so grateful Nick got to come visit, selfishly, because he changed up my monotony and brought so much fun and excitement to everything. I also know that it’s not often we get to spend time together and I think it will continue to be tough given my schedule and Nick’s future schedule, so I’m so glad we got this time as it’s something I’m sure we’ll be remember for the rest of our lives.

Bus Rides

9 hour bus trips are always better when you win. Trust me. We had a match against Schwerin this weekend. They were top of the league last year and play champion’s league, so we were excited for a good match. The only downside is Schwerin is one of the 2 cities farthest away from us. They’re up north past Berlin. I was a bit spoiled last year because we flew to quite a few away matches. This year, it’s all about the bus. Good news is we drive out the day before a match. Bad (and not so bad) news is we drive back directly from after a match. When you really really look at it, it’s good because we’re getting back to our city (and our own beds) as soon as possible, and nobody wants to waste daytime on a bus if its possible.

So I pack lots of ‘things’ to spend my time. I’m not a big napper so I have to keep myself busy. I’ve got 2 hardcover books, my nook, my iphone, my journal, and my ken ken book (a sudoku variant) I’ve also got my German lesson book and worksheets from class. Oh AND a few hundred player cards that need to be signed. This legit took me the first 2 hours if the ride (with a few rounds of candy crush mixed in. I am addicted to that darn game. Unfortunately my computer is broken otherwise I would have that loaded up with some movies and tv shows to keep me busy but alas, not for this drive. I’m seriously contemplating buying some yarn and knitting needles and just going for it next road trip, we shall see! The major key is being able to fall asleep post match. We’re looking at an arrival time in vilsbiburg around 6:30 am O___O good thing I don’t have a lot of heavy duty activity (or anything) planned for Sunday!

Player  cards. Starting point.

Player cards. Starting point.

Ich!

Ich!

Done! Wrist cramp #firstworldproblems

Done! Wrist cramp #firstworldproblems

Bus shot

Bus shot