I’ve been feeling a little down about my back lately.
Before I start getting worried phone calls from my family – I’m fine. My recovery from surgery is going fine. I’m taking care of the girls – driving them to & from school, extracurriculars, and what seems like a zillion doctor’s appointments. I’m taking care of the house – Vic says the house looks the cleanest it’s been since we moved in 6 years ago (which may or may not be insulting – but I’m going to just accept the compliment and leave it at that). I’m walking a couple of miles for exercise at least 4 days a week. We recently spent several long (but successful) days at Disney World. Like I said, I’m FINE.
And yet it doesn’t feel like enough. I want to be better than fine.
Don’t get me wrong – I know that my recovery thus far has gone exceptionally well. I resumed most of my normal everyday activities earlier than expected. I’ve remained very active. My energy level is steadily increasing. I’m almost entirely med-free, except on the occasional bad day. Intellectually, I know I’m doing very well. But emotionally – well, that’s a different story.
The other night I was a little weepy. My husband hit the nail right on the head when he asked, “You thought you’d be running by now, didn’t you?” Bingo. I thought I’d be able to run. Or jog. Or take a yoga class. Or something.
I wasn’t expecting to be running 5Ks or doing backbends. But I did think that by nearly 7 months post-op, I’d be able to do more than “just” walk for exercise. I realize that might sound obnoxious to people who would love to walk a couple of miles right now (especially my fellow spondies), but you have to remember that I was running half marathons all the way up until my diagnosis last December. And I was actively practicing yoga until just a couple of months before surgery, when it finally became too much for my body. I was very active before my spinal fusion. So while I’m certainly grateful for the ability to walk a few miles, it’s a long way from where I was and where I want to be.
Frankly, I feel stuck – like my recovery has stalled. And that leads to other unpleasant thoughts – mainly this one: Is this it? Is this as good as it’s going to get for me?
I know what you’re going to say. I’m still recovering from major surgery. It’s still early. I’m making progress. I have to be patient. Things will look different a year from now.
I get it. And I agree. But I think it’s only fair to share my entire story. Not just the shiny, happy, rah-rah, inspirational parts – but also the parts that are ugly and ego-driven and sprinkled with a healthy dose of self-pity.
So there it is. The plan? To keep at it. To walk my miles, take my vitamins, sleep when my body needs rest, and avoid BLT (bending, lifting, twisting – not the sandwich). I’m taking a break from my yoga self-practice, because right now just about any movement between my shoulders and waist makes my back ache. Instead, I’m working on rebuilding my core and back strength, leg & hip flexibility and strength, and arm & chest strength. And walking. Don’t forget the walking.
I’m walking the walk, so to speak. I just need to let the (self) talk catch up a bit.
Laurie Wright says
I think I am entering the 7 months slump, feel unusually tight and sore. Coming off from being sick and moving slow. I have had an amazing recovery up until now, lots of walking and water. I am an equestrian, so I have slowly getting back into the saddle with doctor’s okay. Will try the ibuprofen, my doctor also said to stay away from Nsaids due to slow healing. Advil liquid gels with Tylenol have helped on a more active days. Thanks for posting your journey (=
I love reading your story. I’m at 9 1/2 months post op. Slow healing process, but I’m hoping for things to all work out. I got depressed bad at 8 mos, but I’m getting better every day. Trying to keep my head high, chest out, shoulders back and walk straight without pain( but some days that is really hard to do without pain). Looking ahead to my 1 year mark, so I’m going to keep on walking!! Hope you are in excellent health now, since it’s been a few years.
Thank you so much for sharing your progress, feelings and thoughts with us. I can totally relate to how you’re feeling these days. When I think back to my 7-months-post-op state of mind, I would say it felt like I was stuck, too. But I can reassure you that better days will come. It actually took me one year to get the impression of finally getting back to normal… I’ve started doing some yoga practice a month ago and it is perfect for me. It makes me feel so much better and I get more flexible every day (even though my lower back AND my pelvis are still fused together). Some months ago I couldn’t even think of coming close to a downward facing dog position. And now I can’t imagine one day without it – even though I didn’t do any sports before the surgery. Ever.
Give yourself time. You will get there! Feeling stuck and being emotional about everything is part of the progress. You are such an inspiration for so many people. Keep up the good work and don’t be too hard on yourself.
All the best from Germany,
Thank you – you have no idea how much hope you’ve given me. A downward dog seems years away, but I just have to keep taking care of myself and being patient with my recovery. Congrats on your progress – I hope to be like you someday!!!
Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner says
My sister is going to have this same surgery next month. I did not realize that the recovery was so long. I am sure it ‘s very hard for you not to do the things you love right now. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and hang in there.
To be honest, I didn’t realize how long the recovery would be either. Once you make it through the first 6 weeks, things start turning around – at least that’s how it went for me. If your sister has any questions, she is more than welcome to email me!
Emily Painter says
Awww I’m sorry to hear you are feeling down! But, trust me when I say that you are doing AMAZINGLY well and that this is absolutely NOT as good as it is going to get for you! Once you start coming up on your 10 month-1 year mark, you will look back and this 7 month mark and realize how much heing your body still had to go through. Hang in there…listen to your body like you said. Focus on your core and on walking and I promise it gets better!
I know you have heard this before, but give it time. Rome was not built in a day.I love you.
Love you too.