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weeks 3-4

Day 16
I left the house last night to go to our bible study at another friends house – sat for several hours and stood a little as well… was probably too long, Saturday I felt like I had been kicked in the pants by my PT already! I was in bed laying down the reset of the day. The best part – took 1000mg of Tylenol and that was all I needed pain med wise – how awesome is that? Over the counter meds worked to take the pain away… WHAT?!

My favorite PT came over to say hey and visit with me- he was amazed that I was standing at all and then sat for an hour talking to him cross-legged and all. He couldn’t get over how stable my walking was and how “light” I looked. Well I have lost 8 pounds, but he meant the look on my face. He took the post- op program I was given and wanted to read through it before I go in on Tues. I am so thankful to have a PT that isn’t afraid to ask questions and is eager to learn from this process with me. Knowing that I was coming home to a PT that I trusted made the choice to have surgery a little bit easier. I knew I wouldn’t be alone once I flew home.
So that was a great visit and I know I am like a shiny new toy for him because I am coming BACK to him post surgery so he can’t wait to see what happens and I have to agree!

The rest of the day I crashed – just tired and super sore like I had worked out far too hard at the gym. I am guessing I will feel that way for a while until I build some muscle strength up in all of my body.

Day 17

bed rest with my favorite little girl

I rested all day and stayed in bed like a good patient… ok I was too tired to get out, but I stayed in bed. I read a lot and felt more… normal, the pain and tightness from the Fri was gone… it just amazes me that it goes away as soon as I start resting….

Day 18
I headed out with my Dad for a Dr’s appt -my hubby doesn’t want me driving even though it’s perfectly ok.
Dr. was amazed at the changes he saw. He noticed I wasn’t constantly shifting all over the place to get comfortable – said the pain in my face was gone…. I apologized for being kinda rude prior to leaving for surgery when he told me this was a bad idea – he said it looked like it worked and wanted me to get him more information. I think that is FANTASTIC!! I know I am in bed almost all day still, but I can tell that things just feel more solid than ever before. I am encouraged that people see differences in me even when I am still so weak and slow.

Day 20
We did the intake evaluation and my PT was amazed at the changes in the results, his smile was about as big as mine!! Doing the stork test, when they put their hands on your pelvis and you raise a leg so they can feel the pelvis move- he commented,” Amy, it didn’t move!!!!!!!!!!” It was really exciting to be put through the paces and not have it hurt!!!

We, ok He, did some ultrasound of the piriformis as well as massage a few stretches and a one strength exercise. I got some homework to do between now and Thurs – I am sore after all the activity but it shouldn’t last too long I don’t think.

He mentioned I was very guarded in my movements and that over time that would end, but I know he’s right… I am timid in my movements and calculated in what I chose to do…. I know that will change, as I get stronger, but for now I am pretty afraid to try anything new. I am afraid it will hurt, or that I’ll knock something loose! I know it seems silly, I mean Vicki told me that it would take a very serious accident to move theses screws… I just don’t want to feel the pain like I did before the surgery… I keep waiting for the fire to come back, but it doesn’t. It’s so hard to believe that there might be a real end to all of this pain someday, but I really think there might be an end!

Later that afternoon
ok, after a few hours and a nap I am really sore moderately painful, but ice really helps.

3 weeks
Overall I am starting to get the desire to rejoin my life again. I am able to walk up and down stairs alternating legs twice a day – it’s a little slow, but do able, sometimes I don’t even need to grip the hand rails. (Hindsight moment – don’t do this… your not ready… it’s gonna cause more pain then you need to be in – keep going up 2 feet on a step – you’ll thank me!) I was able to shower standing up to wash my hair, but then felt a little unstable and cardio challenged so I sat down to be safe.

I am able to spend some time on the main floor during the day – eating with the family, playing games, I even picked up a little the other day, bending over is difficult and painful because it recruits all those muscles that are weak or hurt…

I find that taller toilet helpful since I don’t have as far to go down (I am 5,10 so the height is nice – we lowered this week so I have to use more muscle to get down.

Had my second go at PT today:
mild strengthening exercises- 5 of them
5 min on the nu-step
followed by more stretching
stim and ice

I was shaking all over the place on most of the exercises, but it is what it is
It is frustrating to be so young and so weak…. just an emotional frustration- it passes, but yeah… I just want to be strong again and I know that won’t happen over night.

Sometimes I still get a quick ice pick in the butt feel when moving about, but I am pretty certain it’s just muscle pain due to the fact it stops as soon as I move into another position.

Sleep is pretty easy to come buy- most positions are ok, sometimes the piriformis gets flared up but moving usually solves the burn…. I really can’t remember the last time I slept so well so many nights in a row.

Cardio wise I feel like I am getting a little stronger every day. Today I went downstairs at 8:30 and was out with my Dad for PT and lunch and rested for an hour then a friend and her kids came over while we sat and talked – so I didn’t get back up here until like 3:00 – full day and I feel pretty good- tired all over, but no increase in pain….

3 weeks 1 day
Ok I knew this was coming, but I did too much yesterday and oh my gosh does the right butt cheek BURN. I can’t get the piriformis to let up right now and it’s really frustrating. I will avoid stairs today and take some Tylenol and stretch it out a bunch through out the day, but man I hate feeling this burn. It hasn’t let up since last night. I keep telling myself the surgery worked, it’s ok it’s part of healing, its ok, it’s normal… but it does cause a little fear and panic, like oh man this is no different than before… but I know that muscle imbalance was going to be the hardest part of the journey! However the reality of it still it kinda sucks!

I ended up taking a Tramadol to cut the pain, but stayed up stairs and didn’t’ navigate the stairs at all – really hoping this resolves on it’s own…. I plan to stay up here again tomorrow – I have some scrapbooking tools up in the bedroom now so I have some things to do!

3 weeks 2days
The fire is out in my butt again PRAISE GOD!
The lumbar back is uncomfortable from lack of movement over the last 2 days, but ANYTHING to put out that muscle fire!

I slept well and continued to do my exercises slowly and carefully yesterday even though the pirifomis burned… Plan to take it easy today – just downstairs once for dinner other than that I will scrap away in my bedroom. Not rushing this is going to get harder as he weeks tick on I see… (Hindsight moment; this is so very true!)

I will say I am very glad to have 2 retired parents who are living with us right now to keep things moving for my family so I can concentrate on me. It would be much harder to not over do it if I didn’t have someone filling in my Mommy duties.

At 3 weeks post op I am hopeful that this will be my one and only stop on the surgery train.

What differences can I tell?
The instability that I felt when standing or sitting is gone. I don’t have to move positions every 30 seconds to find a tolerable position. The Burning in the joint is gone. I can sleep, I mean really sleep for 8 hours without waking in tears, and I can sleep in any position I feel like for the most part.

My hamstrings and piriformis are tight on both sides and I am working with my PT on that with massage, ultrasound, and stretching. Having lived with this for 18 years prior to the surgery I have a long way to go to get muscle balance. Too much activity is still hard because my primary muscles are so weak that I am still recruiting other muscles to do their job. This throws me into a pain cycle, which I would really like to avoid! When I met with Vicki she explained that it will take 6 months to retrain my body how to work correctly. That seems like a really long time to feel like this, but I will get through it!

My surgery set up: table to hold meds, computer, water, books and whatever else I needed.

I feel pretty great in general as long as I don’t over do it. I stay in my bedroom and I am able to scrapbook at a table either sitting on the side of my bed or in a chair- I do my exercises from PT, goof around on facebook, keep this blog, and watch lots of netflicks, and read. I don’t need any help bathing, or dressing, I am slower and more deliberate about making sure I am using my body correctly because things get real tight when I don’t and that is really the only pain/discomfort I feel at this point, and it is almost all in the piriformis – like I could draw a marker down from where the muscles starts to where it ends. But for the most part, rest, ice and over the counter pain meds make it better. I know that there is gong to be pain over the muscle imbalances and I just have to take it easy as I regain strength- that’s the hardest part I think, feeling so good, but not having the stamina and strength to enjoy it I just keep reminding myself that will come with time.

Day 23
I went back to up and down stairs once a day until I get stronger. I went out for an hour and a half with a friend to do a little scrapbook shopping- no bending and nice even deliberate steps when I walked- thinking about keeping my core tight. It went well, very slow, but well. Walking is still a very thought out effort, it doesn’t hurt, but it’s deliberate and I have to concentrate more than I think a person should have to for just walking . We stopped at the hour mark and then I came home and rested… laying and sitting…
I feel slightly tired and the muscles are taxed but not too much. I’ll do my second round of PT exercises in a few hours before bed, dinner is going to be up here tonight.

PT this am
consisted of heat, stretch to right piriformis that was insanely tight.
Ultrasound and massage
heel slides
childs pose
marching (on bed tummy tight)
6 min on the new step – no resistance and use of arms
followed by more stretching and stim+ice

Added tens unit on ramped burst and ice after at home PT exercises today per my PT – really cut down on burning and pain today…
marching is getting easier- I am getting a tad bit of strength back in the lower abs, it’s nice to feel like I have a tad bit of control and not like I have noodles for legs.

4 weeks post-op Child’s pose with my favorite PT dog Kodi!

I do feel a little bit like a loser because the smallest thing makes that piriformis tight and painful.

I was gently reminded by my body, PT, and husband to rest and not over do it – its hard, seems like it shouldn’t be, but I am less active now than before surgery…. I know it’s for a good reason, but I’d be lying if I said it was easy. I feel like this week I finally got a better understanding of what,”this surgery takes a long time to heal from and get back up and running” means. It’s not so much the surgical pain- that’s gone – it’s the muscles and how they simply don’t work right after years of misuse! I know that I am well within the norm for this operation, I just didn’t really know what to expect in recovery, and I feel like I am finally getting a better idea what it will be like. I have been told 6-12 months before I am feeling “normal” again… I just didn’t understand.

I am reminded by most around me that I am doing great even though 95 % of my time is spent in my “tower”. I have no idea how people without a STRONG support system would get through this. I am glad I don’t have to find out, but I am starting to wonder… when will I be able to tolerate a little more living in my life…

By no means do I think the surgery failed, it’s just emotionally hard to be even more limited than I was before. I just keep telling myself it’s better on the other side of this when I have way more life than I had before… I think that I just fooled myself into thinking I would be able to do more before this… silly I know… ya think stubbornness is a side affect of SIJD?

4 weeks
PT today was good more of the same plus a little balance stuff. The marching continue to get slightly easier with lower ab strength – 2 sets of a minute each with a minute rest in between is doable – but shortly there after is fatigue.

Biggest achievement for today was the knots in the piriformis were less (also the pain!)

Still taking stairs good leg first with 2 feet on the step (not alternating) and limiting it to once a day. I put some laundry away yesterday and sat for 45 min at a time several times through out the day.

We lowered the toilet raiser again as it’s getting easier to get down to a regular seat height without putting too much stress on the Piriformis.

I was shot after PT and a little side trip to pick up lunch and Valentines cards.
left the house at 9:15 – got out of PT at 11:15 and home by 12:15.
So short side trips are getting tolerable.
I have to admit that at this point single legged stairs AND PT is too much for my piriformis to handle… BUT the pirformis pain is manageable – and it NEVER was before. It’s a dull to medium roar not an all out screamin’ banshee!!! ice and stretching keep it manageable. Following my PT’s orders not to push too hard works even better though

My little swimmer man!

Like my son had a swim meet last night and I went because I couldn’t not… Just couldn’t stay home… so I sat for 3 hours in a folded chair with a little padding… and today things were tight… First round of stretching and ice made it livable, but I decided to not use the stairs today!

It was good to get out and see my son, to be social, and I had a lot of thoughts that I want to share, it was a really emotional night for me. The pool where my son swam last night is the same pool I got my sijd at…. so it’s always a bitter sweet experience being there…..
I was sitting at my sons swim meet on Fri and was overcome with emotion. I wrote while I was in the middle of it and wanted to share it with you guys….

Inspiration can come in the strangest of places and after being at my sons swim meet tonight I wanted to share one of mine. I realize this may seem a little out of left field but it’s not bare with me.

The meet tonight was at the very pool where I sustained my SI injury 18 and a half years ago. I long for the water, to swim, to be strong to compete, to be free- even being at my kids meets pulls at a place deep in my heart, at a passion I have held on to through out all my battle with SIJD. I have swam 100′s of miles on a dislocated joint- it hurts, it burns, it almost kills me, but I can’t stop, I am at home and at peace in the water. Last year I had almost given up hope of ever being able to swim the way my heart yearns, and then I met Winter.

We were in Tampa over Christmas break visiting family and took a day to go to the clearwater aquarium, where we met Winter the Dolphin. Winter is this AMAZING little dolphin who tragically lost his tail when he was a very young baby after being rescued from a crab trap line. It has wrapped around his tail and during the early day of his treatment at the aquarium, he lost the tail…

This little guy has suffered more than any animal or human ever should, but the amazing part is that people have come together to help save this creature and make his life better. They figured out a way to make a PROSTHETIC TAIL for this dolphin- he is in physical therapy EVERY SINGLE DAY OF HIS LIFE, you see with out a tail he adapted a different way to swim, more like a fish than a dolphin. As a result of that poor Winter has major muscle imbalances, JUST LIKE US! I was over come with hope that people had figured out how to help this dolphin, surely some day they would figure out how to help me swim too!

As I sat pool side Friday I looked down at the end of lane 2. Where this all started, where I hit the wall and heard a snap, and felt an indescribable pain. where I laid on the deck in tears, part of me died there that day. Whenever I was at that pool, even for my kids I always had an ugly knot deep deep down in my belly…. For the FIRST time I though to myself… it didn’t beat me… it didn’t steal my life… I didn’t die there on that deck…. I am reclaiming my life because someone figured out how to get me back in the water!!

It was yet another glimmer of hope that I made the right choice and might just get to live the rest of my life without the excruciating pain of SIJD!!!!!!!! I know I still have a long way to go, but for the first time in such a long time I have real hope that this isn’t simply another failed attempt at beating this thing!

Winter the dolphin lives in clearwater Fl and had his tail fin cut off and now has to have PT every day because of muscle imbalances – I love this dolphin!

To see and read more about Winter head over

He will be staring in his own movie to be released fall of 2011 called Dolphin Tale!!

This week’s big achievement – I put away 3 baskets of laundry! Hung stuff up, put stuff in drawers and even stood/bent for some of it!
It is like a whole new world is opening up. I am starting to see possibilities and not limitations! It’s scary and wonderful all at the same time. My PT almost made me cry today – he was asking about the emotional side of recovery, as I get stronger…. I told him about the thoughts I had at the swim meet. He said- “I am confident we will have you back in the water even doing flip turns down the road here!!! There is much to look forward to Amy.” and then he upped my exercises LOL

But I am doing several standing exercises at home now- just as the floor ones were getting easier. I am excited, hopeful and tired now

The next morning:
Oh my GOSH – I feel like someone beat me up all below the waist since PT this morning. I am barely able to move. My whole rear end hurts as well as my lower lumbar… still normal person pain, but it feels like I did a biggest loser last chance workout with Jillian!!!!!

4 standing exercises – 1 rep of 10 each
7 min on the nustep
Resistance work on the piriformis- plus the good stuff, massage ultrasound, ice and stim. It wasn’t easy doing it, but I didn’t think I would feel like I had been run over afterward!

Here’s to the 2 steps forward 1 step back recovery shuffle I can barely pick up my legs to walk to the bathroom! I promised I’d be honest so while not down about this, I am amazed at how little it took to wipe me out. Guess I’ll go watch some more Buffy on netflixs and stretch some more!

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