Treating Rope Burn at Home: Part 1

DISCLAIMER: This post contains LOTS of graphic pictures of a bad rope burn. It also contains MY OWN research, opinions and advice based off MY OWN experience with a severe rope burn that took several months to heal topically {and will not be fully healed for many more months}. I am not a doctor or healthcare professional and do not make any claims as to what is correct or incorrect treatment for case by case injuries such as this one. I am writing about my own experience to encourage you to make wise decisions and to ask questions of others in order to better understand what is best for you.

_________

It was my glory moment. I looked at that 16 foot rope with the little bell at the top, and I knew that THIS time I would reach the top. Last time I had made it a few feet off the ground, and my hands were burning. My strength was waning. But here I was … my 4th ever Spartan run, the final of 2017, and my first ever Beast! Conquering 13 miles and 30 obstacles, I had waited for this moment!

{Asheville Spartan Volunteers July 2017}

Not sure if it was the competitive spirit inside of me that ignored the pain as I held myself in that S-hook and worked my way up the rope. My team members kept yelling at me. Keep climbing, you’re almost there. Don’t you dare come back down without ringing that bell…

I was locked into that S-hook. The rope was so tight around my legs that when I tried to come down it was impossible to get out of the rope. I slid. The entire climb up and down felt like fire burning a hole in one spot of my leg.

But guys … I did it. I was so proud in that moment.

After that someone dumped water on my injury but I was so caked with mud that I could see nothing. It burned like crazy. We kept going. 10 more miles at least. MUD. SO MUCH MUD. Every muddy river we crossed burned deeper into that hole. We climbed obstacles and crawled under barbed wire and rolled through more red orange clay. I tried to ignore the pain but it was intense.

{Spartan Sprint, April 2017}

At the end of the race we were so exhausted. GUYS WE DID IT! Someone suggested that I run by the first aid station but at that point I had braved the water station and hosed that leg well. I could see a big mark from that rope but it didn’t look too serious. It was a dark brown imprint. I scrubbed and scrubbed with my hands and that ice cold water. I didn’t see the need to get any medical aid so we hopped into the car and drove home several hours.

At our pizza stop near home, I noticed that it was much more obvious. Starting to look more red, and definitely oozing. Dripping down my leg. I kept trying to clean it off.

  

I did some more scrubbing and washing before bed. But being tough {rather stupid} I didn’t really use any sort of disinfectant.

I found out rather quickly that not only was it ever-increasing in sensitivity but even the lightest *anything* caused me incredible pain. At bed time I rested my leg on top of the blankets, and discovered that even the flow of the air in my room made it almost impossible to sleep.

This was the beginning of a 2 month recovery process. I joked with my team members that I’d be right as rain in just a few days. Happily, I had no idea how intensely painful and difficult the healing process would be, how much I would stress over the possibility of infection, and how long it would take to recover {even get a good night’s sleep or be able to walk normally}.

  

For the first few days I tried rinsing my leg and then applying salve, miracle gel, and some other natural remedies to encourage relief and healing. But the swelling was so severe and the wound was oozing, to the extent that I realized I needed for it to drain before I could allow it to heal up on the outside. It was incredibly inflamed, tender, and very tough when I would try to massage the skin around the wound with my fingers {which was incredibly painful}. After this realization, I began doing a detox soak in salts, ginger, and other herbs {a blend my friend created for detox} each day {sometimes even twice a day}. Shout out to a very sweet lady we pick up on Sundays along the bus route, who is a retired nurse and told me to soak every day. I’m fairly confident that she “saved” my leg. While this wasn’t always the most comfortable remedy, it continually loosened the scab that was forming and kept the wound open and clean, allowing my leg to drain and heal from the inside out. I believe this was a HUGE reason that I never dealt with infection {based off how much bacteria I would have been exposed to over those remaining 10 miles of race / mud following the rope climb}.

  

5 days into the healing process {4 days of doing the salt soaks} I was feeling really worried about the prolonged swelling. Nothing seemed to be bringing it down. It was still oozing and *very red / irritated*. I couldn’t walk normally and hobbling around was incredibly painful. I had also been experiencing severe spasms / cramping periodically for the first 3-4 days – every time I straightened my leg, tried to stand up, or get out of bed, etc. People were constantly asking me about my injury and because I couldn’t really cover it up {due to extreme sensitivity} it was a nasty sight.

I spoke with several EMT friends who saw pictures and encouraged me to continue soaking it and try a few other things in addition. They felt that I was not at risk for tetanus and that it did not look infected. But to watch for some specific signs. I also began researching tetanus and was encouraged that it cannot thrive in open wounds because of exposure to oxygen. I was keeping my wound clean and open with the salt soaks so I felt confident that I was okay in that regard. It was also day 5 and nothing seemed to be getting worse {just not really better with the exception of being able to walk a little easier each day}. I also noticed that the signs of tetanus are very specific and while I had had some bad spasms / cramps in my leg {just the lower portion below my knees down to my feet} it was nowhere else in my body as tetanus would suggest and by day 5 these were almost nonexistent.

With this in mind, I wanted the opinion of a doctor who would look at it and examine it {the little part of me deep down inside that wondered about losing a leg or not healing properly finally got the best of me}. I wasn’t able to get in with my doctor that Friday and he was away on Saturday, so I settled for another doctor at the same office. Happily I didn’t know how terrible this experience would be … but my doctor {who happens to be more supportive of my naturalistic thinking} was unavailable and I felt it was time sensitive.

  

This doctor lady did her best to be helpful. Obviously for known reasons she had to examine it and give her best opinion without really knowing much at all. After hearing my story, the circumstances surrounding the event, and the treatment I had been doing for 5 days, she immediately advised me to get a tetanus shot and take 2 antibiotics – an oral and a cream.

At this point, I pressed her for more information. I value the wisdom of healthcare professionals, and their best advice {although for legal purposes they often have to air on the safe side of caution when it’s not necessarily helpful or necessary at all to do so}, however I am not the type of person to simply take the doctor at their word and do exactly what they say without understanding the reasoning or necessity behind it, or doing some research.

I had done quite a bit of research on tetanus. I won’t even pretend to be more advanced than a healthcare professional by any means, but I had been advised by many EMT friends {in addition to my own research} that I would have seen signs of tetanus by now and that it would be nearly impossible with my clean open wound to contract it now.

When I shared this with her, she resorted to a threat tactic. She began listing off {loudly and intensely} all the things that would happen to me, in graphic description. How my jaw would lock up and spasm and it would work its way to other parts of my body and there would be nothing that I could do to control it. She wasn’t even sure if there is an existing way to treat tetanus once the signs are recognized. I could feel her getting tense and frustrated with me, raising her voice and insisting that I needed this tetanus shot and these 2 antibiotics.

These are all true undeniable facts. I’ve done my research … and if I contract tetanus I will indeed suffer from all of this and more. However, as a medical patient, and a legal adult, and the one who has personally experienced the past 5 days and is still currently dealing with the problem – guess what. Peoples, this is my choice. Your choice. No one gets to decide for us, only advise.

  

At this point I was seriously considering at least the 2 antibiotics. I’m not opposed to traditional medicine and I value it as necessary in many situations. However, I wanted to be SURE that I NEEDED this and that I wasn’t about to suppress my immune system “just in case” … especially if my case was “normal”.

I began to ask some simple questions.

(1) Is this amount of swelling normal for this type of rope burn injury?

She said it definitely was.

(2) Is it typical to see this swelling for a prolonged period of time, and take a while to go down?

She said absolutely.

(3) Is it normal to feel spasms and cramping in the lower leg where the injury is.

She said that was normal as well.

Nothing was getting worse, just not noticeably better at this point. She had used all of these symptoms as reasoning behind me getting the shot and taking the antibiotics. But here she was not admitting that it was all normal.

She also admitted at the end of our visit that it was highly unlikely {in her own words, pretty much impossible} for me to get tetanus at this point.

So … but I thought I needed that tetanus shot?

{Burn Paste – several times during the end healing process I used this homemade paste on my scab, made from Vitamin E {or Wheat Germ Oil also works}, Raw Honey, and Comfrey Leaf Powder. Comfrey is the “bone-knit” herb and quickly binds together anything that is torn … so it is best not to use this at any stage where you are trying to keep a wound open and clean / heal from the inside out}.

After our visit I felt peace about where I was. I guess it was hearing her answer those questions and inform me that I was pretty much a “normal” case that gave me the peace I needed to move on. I took those prescriptions but I never filled them, because I decided to give it another day and see if anything improved further. In fact, the very next day I began to walk much more normally {spent 3 hours touring the Southern Christmas Show with friends}, no more spasms or cramping, and the swelling began to go down. Isn’t it amazing what will happen if we don’t simply act out of fear, do our research, and ask a multitude of educated professionals? Line that all up and decide what is best for YOU and YOUR body, rather than simply airing on the safe side of one doctor without a moment of consideration – at the potential risk of tearing down your immune system, or bringing on a vast array of side affects. The body was created to heal, and it does a very good job on its own sometimes.

I continued to soak in my detox salts until the swelling went down and my leg appeared normal again. While I don’t have a record of when exactly this happened, it was weeks before my swelling went down completely. After that I allowed the wound to scab over completely, and began applying Vitamin E and my Healing Salve from time to time. I never bandaged or covered the wound, I always kept it open and exposed to the air so that it would heal faster. It was a full 2 months before the wound healed and the last part of the scab disappeared. My chiropractor informed me that it could be another 4-6 months before it fully healed. I could feel bands of scar tissue running sideways down my leg where the injury was.

Today I am dealing with no issues whatsoever. This injury occurred on November 4th, 2017. I have zero lasting affects from the injury with the exception of a battle scar 😉 which I rather appreciate as a continual reminder of God’s goodness to me. What I’ve accomplished, how I’ve learned, and the journey it’s been to allow my body to heal as God intended.

Disclaimer: In NO WAY am I discounting the importance of necessity of our healthcare professionals and their advice / counsel. Modern medicine has saved my life and the lives of so many people that I deeply love and care for. However, I feel that we often live in fear and ignorance, blindly doing a lot of what is unnecessary simply because we do not check out ALL the facts, and learn what we can from a situation. There is so much value in asking questions, checking the facts with those who have a better understanding, and then evaluate what we need to do – for our best. Case by case, each and every person and situation is completely different.

In the following weeks I would develop another concerning, complicated condition that left me dealing yet again with a multitude of decisions – and a race against time.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Advertisements

2018.01.15

Hello world … the muffin is back!

The last few months have been rather silent but let me assure you that I’m fully alive and coming up for breath after the craziest holiday season I’ve ever seen. The past 2 months have been quite the exciting adventure … mainly because despite the fact that it was the busiest time of the year, I was also dealing with a series of leg injuries after my recent Spartan Beast {a fabulous mud run covering 13 miles with 30 obstacles}. Be assured that I well documented this injury in pictures and while I don’t have much to impress you with I have some fun stories to write about in detail. Featuring both the natural / alternative, and the traditional approach.

Coming soon. 🙂

FREE WORKSHOP! Revolutionizing Home Health With Essential Oils

Essential Oils are more than a huge craze … they’re revolutionizing home healthcare.

But do you know HOW to safely and effectively use them to make a lasting difference?

 

Join me for a FREE workshop featuring home health care with Essential Oils! Discover:

> What Essential Oils are and where they come from.

> Methods of extraction and application.

> Using Essential Oils safely and effectively to address specific health issues.

> Essential Oils for babies / children.

> Essential Oils and pregnancy.

> 5 must-have Essential Oils for every home.

> Using Essential Oils for the greatest results.

> Identifying the RIGHT Essential Oils.

> And more!

 

WHENFriday, November 17th, 7:00 PM

WHERE: Waxhaw Health & Wellness

E, 101 Waxhaw Professional Park Drive Waxhaw, NC 28173

COST: FREE!

WHO: Anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of Essential Oils. Whether you’re new to oils and looking to learn more, or a passionate oil lover using them on a daily basis.

Registration is not necessary {we’d still love to have you!}, but please complete an online ticket if you think you can make it.

 

REGISTER HERE.