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.