week 26 6 months
Got my toes polished and my hair cut today… 5 inches.. that’s a lot of hair and it’s still really long! Today marks a mix of feelings that are a little hard to separate…. joy frustration, sorrow, hesitancy, thankfulness, victory, confusion… and many many more
I feel a little like a pregnant Momma to be today. Not just the extra weight I’m packing, but like a first time Mom that clings to her due date by the end of her pregnancy thinking that she might just be the first person in the world to never actually give birth to the child growing inside her. That the expectation of THAT SINGLE DAY will be THE DAY. As the hours of that due date creep by and contractions start and stop, or never start at all.. as the hours tick by and the next thing you know … it’s the next day and you still have not gone into labor… its a let down… like your body has failed to understand it is on a time clock… TODAY IS THE DAY!!!!!
Well, today is my 2nd due date. My contractions are far apart, no need to rush to the hospital, but they are there. I can tell the baby IS going to come… but it’s not going to be today. My recovery didn’t just magically end today when I woke up. I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that I wish it had ended this morning.
I’ve been very quick to trigger emotionally this week. It’s better today. I knew something was nagging at me and I couldn’t really figure out what it was. It was several things: The first being that I feel better than I have felt in weeks from the quads up. Yes there is still muscle stuff and a small amount of ever present discomfort that can escalate into pain that moves around my hips and rear end on any given day, but my pain is really at a 1-2 most days ( on a 1-20 scale). My knees on the other hand – OUCH. They hurt me and they hurt my heart. They remind me how fragile I feel. I feel like after all these months of hard constant work that I deserve not to have ANYTHING hurt. I am unconsciously afraid to do anything to set myself back again. I can live like a mostly normal suburban housewife at this point. Still need some help with the stamina of house cleaning, but can play with my kids, and drive them around, and talk with my friends. It’s nice. BUT add more activity on top of that, a long quick walk, a long swim, a class at the gym or a hike up hill… those things would set me back… I could do them, but they will put me back in bed.
I dont’ want to BE back in bed- ever. I don’t’ want to BE trapped by my body. But you ready for the worst part… if I stop now.. I am trapped by my fear that my body can’t handle it and live never testing any more limits and carefully making sure I stay within my new margins. OR I keep pushing and trying more and run the risk of more set backs. See… trapped by the body either way! So, the choice for me is to keep on keeping on.
This surgery is not for the weak in spirit- it takes grit and patience and tenacity to claw your way back to life. For some, it will seem to happen over night and that is a gift ( and what happens with early intervention) but for others your recovery will be more like mine… full of baby steps.
As frustrating as this recovery can be, I still remain far more positive than negative. I would do it again in a heart beat, it’s given me my life back. Life today is livable- all of it. I can see volunteering at school in my kids classrooms, having a part time job ( I have no desire to go back to work full time, but if I did, I think I could handle it now.) I can see taking classes again – still pursuing that PTA thing.. waiting on answers, but I can see how that can happen. I can go out with my friends AND not worry about who is driving and if I can tolerate sitting in their car, my husband can snuggle up to me in bed and I no longer want to back hand him for misplacing my pillows or forming a hole that opened up my SI joint on the mattress. I can ride over bumpy roads in the car, I can go to the grocery store, shop, empty the car AND put the groceries away.
6 months and 2-3 weeks ago
I want to give you a snippet to compare where I am now and where I was before surgery…
I was preparing the household for me to be MIA as the momma. I asked friends to come paint my bedroom where I would recover and bought new sheets. I dragged by body into Target and I remember trying to bend down to pick up the King sized bed in a bag. I had to hold onto the shelves and ended up sitting on the floor to make my choice because I couldn’t stand. I had taken 2 tramadol about an hour earlier to try and cut some of the pain to run this errand…. I stood up and managed to flop the bed kit into the cart- it might as well have weighed 1,000 lbs. I leaned as much of my body weight onto the cart as I pushed and dragged myself to the check out. The line was long… so very long… I think 4 people were in front of me with medium sized orders… I frantically looked for a shorter line… my body was burning, I just wanted to cry, I wanted to pay for the bedding and go home. I shifted, I leaned, the tears from the pain started to well in my eyes- I blinked them back. When it was finally my turn I paid and went to pick up the bag with the bedding in it…. I couldn’t carry it. The tears streamed down my face. I had no idea how I was going to get my new purchase from the store to my car and up to my bedroom. That task was TOTALLY overwhelming. I couldn’t figure out how to get to the dumb car much the rest of it. The joint locked – the pain seared… the cashier asked if I wanted help. In desperation I said yes… can you please get me a wheel chair… I can’t stand up any more. The tears just ran down my face, I felt so betrayed by my body, so humiliated that I couldn’t complete a single task like going into a store, purchasing something, driving home, and bringing it inside… that was simply too much life. The cashier wheeled me out to my car and had someone else bring the bedding out and put it in the backseat…. I couldn’t do it. I drove home and leaned on whatever I could find to get into the house, crawled up the stairs and laid in my bed and cried. That was my typical day 6 months and 2 weeks ago.
That’s not my life today…
26 weeks 4 days
I hate how hard it is to keep perspective through this recovery! I hate how much reassurance I feel like I need at times. Logically I know I am better, physically it’s obvious I am better. But I want and long for more. The hardest part is still standing for long periods of time… and i mean LONG. WHY does this bother me so? Oh wait, it’s that fear of hoping and not getting. My husband mentioned the other day, that recent gains have looked a lot like life when we met. That I am active, and lively again, the fog of narcotic pain meds is a thing of the past…. ( you see I type that, and it’s true… but I the back of my head I say but for how long…. I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. for more to go wrong… ) I wonder will that go away… In another portion of my life I was hurt terribly by another human being,my trust was betrayed, it took a long time to trust that the people I love won’t betray me too…. this feels an awful lot like that…. I don’t like that- I want to rush through the healing process, to just BE on the other side of this mentally. I just don’t think it works like that… I’m going to have to tease out fear of Doctors and them having no clue what they are doing.. first of all because it’s not true, they do know a lot… just not about this… but I know I hate going to the Dr for anything out of the ordinary or that I don’t already know what it is! I also have to continue to find faith in and trust that my body isn’t going to betray me… not really sure how you do that other than live in it.
I don’t’ like the weeks that I am timid in recovery. My heart and my mind just can’t seem to get together this week and be united. That always is cause for insanity within me. I got a call from the school I applied to for a PTA degree… seems that I took a few class in college that cover my prerequisite’s and I AM a good candidate for admission. I have classes scheduled… anatomy and medical terms… I feel like I should be thrilled that I am moving forward. I have had confirmation on every side that this is a good path to follow… and yet I feel stuck… and I am stuck because I don’t’ trust my body not to fall apart on me. There are other things in the works as well – things that are safe, they don’t require me to be 100%physically… they are things that use my strength and my passions, but don’t require the same amount of hope… or trust… that going back to school does… and there it is… the abject fear that I simply won’t get better than this. Tears are falling from my eyes as I write, because sometimes just writing into this journal reveals the things I can’t seem to get at otherwise.
Bottom line, I am planning for a life that is pain free and enables me to move as I need…. I’m irrationally afraid that will never happen.
I say irrationally because The pain I have now is on the sides of my hips, still gluts, but continuing that creeping around the body – proof that I am getting stronger.
Last week I swam twice… the first time was 500 yrds in 8 minutes and 30 seconds the second swim was a half mile.. in about 15ish.
I went to my children’s swim meet on Saturday and helped out – from 7 am until 1 pm I was on my feet walking back and forth, standing and watching events, sitting talking with friends… the last half hour my muscles said… no more.. we’ve done all we can for now.
I recovered… mostly… my knees are still painful… more muscle balance issues… IT bands Vs VMO… IT bands are winning 🙂 Faithful and smart PT showed me how to stick the knee caps back where they should be and tape… and then gave me tape too, I can swim and replace it if it falls off again. I really do think that the kensesio tape has been the most helpful thing in reducing pain… that and the bio freeze/ and the emu oil… well ok and ice…
My fantastic and not mentioned in here often enough husband, continues to help with soft tissue massage to the glutes and whatever else hurts. In PT we are workings more and more on strengthening… leaving less time for lots of soft tissue stuff… I would need to be there all day to get everything that needs to be done done. This isn’t a recovery for the weak of heart… it takes family and friends and more than one medical professional… I think about trying to find the money to get more regular and professional massage… but the well is pretty dry… I think about trying some other methods of pain relief… just because I am tired of being uncomfortable…. it’s really not that bad at all, but it annoys me and it grates on my hope…. I think I need my hope not to look like shredded cheese 😉
Random tid bit…The team my kids swim on has the best meet at the end of the season every year… it’s a fun meet… you don’t get ribbons you get candy bars and you get to pick what you swim, and EVERYONE gets a laughy taffy for completing their race… and at the end there is a parents relay !!!!! For the last 3 years my husband and I and 2 former college team mates of mine and I have dominated and won the parents relay… It was something I looked forward to every year.. just one length of the pool as fast as we could, the thrill of competition is still in all our blood what can we say… I love that we win that… even with me unable to walk or stand I could still pull that out for the adrenalin rush and the hope of swimming someday. This year I knew I shouldn’t do it… too much damage for not enough return on investment… in years past I have asked my PT for permission and he has always said yes… this time he said no… I needed him to say it… I knew it but I needed the coach to say no… but the best thing happened… the meet was called on account of rain… so I didn’t have to miss out on my favorite summer moment AND we can defend our title next year when I will be able to swim… but to do that I need to stay positive and keep moving forward. Some days that’s just easier than others…
I have to say that I feel remarkably well this evening. PT was really hard today, less soft tissue work, lots more strength and balance work. LOTS more. I am no where near as sore as I thought I would be after today’s challenges. I count that as a reason to be encouraged! It’s been too hot to walk this week, so tomorrow I will head out for a swim with the kids. It’s nice to have kids that are “pool safe”. The can play around while I knock out some yardage in the lap lanes! I love swimming outside so this will be a great opportunity to just get some cardio in. One of my friends loaned me their swim mp3 player… it’s part of the goggles and I love it. I could swim for days like that… but I won’t 🙂
We are still taping the knees, but I got a thumbs up on all my self abuse on the IT bands, it seems that is working, AND the bruises aren’t near as bad with the foam roller :).
I feel like I am taking my first real step in making plans and trusting my body…. In 6 days I am going on a mini vacation of sorts. I am headed out to see Melany and Vicki down in Georgia. I have felt like I needed to do this for a long time, and I am hoping my body will hold together while I go. I am excited for the things we have planned… I’ll share more on that later. But my kids and the hubby will head East for a vacation of their own full of super active things – next year for me… really active things next year 😉
I am trying hard to just keep breathing, keep planning for a future and just keep moving forward. My husband pointed out yesterday that I don’t do well with not moving forward. He’s right… and I do feel “suck” emotionally. I signed up for classes yesterday. It scares me… it’s a long term plan… 3 years of a plan… I realize most people don’t see that as a long term plan, but I sure do. I haven’t planned that far ahead in a long time. I find myself having to balance the thoughts of total and complete failure due to my body breaking down or just being overwhelmed by life… and thinking that this is really a good plan for the future and I have lots to look forward to.
27 weeks 2 day
The last week I’ve just had this under current of a bad attitude. I think I am just tired of ” getting better” I just want to be better – like at the end of it all with nothing left to do but maintain. I am irritated to the point of pissyness that anything continues to ache at all. It’s all still compensation patterns to weaker glutes… stronger than they use to be but still not strong enough. But the truth is I just want to scream at the universe that I am tired of being in process.
The insane part is I got in and swam 3/4 of a mile on Friday and was fine- shouldn’t I be excited by that? Sure seems like I should! I laid in the sun for awhile while my kids swam, and then even went down the water slide with my daughter, I can’t remember the last time I could do something like that! I even carried the two person tube!!!!!
Then today we had another major swim meet for the kids and I was up and down on my feet for hours… carrying stuff back to the car and wham – at the end of the meet increased pain and fatigue. I took a nap and iced down… I know this will end and I’ll be fine, I just wish it wouldn’t happen ever again. Guess that’s jut too much to ask at this point in the game.
I’m also getting nervous about going back to see Vicki… what if she says I am a train wreck still? What if I haven’t really progressed as far as I think I have… why do I feel like I am going to fail some kind of test….
I really like feeling positive better than this weird stuck feeling. I also feel a little guilty about complaining, I KNOW I am better off now than I was even a few months ago I guess am I just weary in the journey. Hoping my vacation next week will shake me out of this emotional slump!
27 weeks 4 days
The emotional ups and downs continue as do the physical ones. Between the 2 day swim meet and my own swimming my pain is higher than it has been for awhile. Don’t laugh. it’s like a 3-4… I realize that’s not much and before surgery I would have gone dancing if I’d had a 3-4 day… Honestly I can remember 3 summers ago working with mt PT and had a series of weeks where I said my pain was like a 2-3 and I felt fantastic… then I got my period and we started all over again- but that’s not my point today 😉
I am back in a balancing phase… My muscle is not recovering, which means pain, which means I am doing too much.. but is it at home, is it in PT, is it in the pool, is it in the activities we are doing? How do I figure out where to cut back? When the pain is this constant I tend to focus more on stretching and massage at home and less on strengthening (the muscles are already not recovering). I am not sure if this is the right way to handle it or not. I have to ask today when I head to PT. I still do upper body stuff here at home, as well as the swimming which works everything.
I’ve decided I have a love hate relationship with the foam roller… I really really hate it. I can be heard yipping on it. My kids will run up the stairs and ask if i am ok… My husband has gotten use to it and no longer says anything, he’s also learning to ignore the yelps when he is trying to get knots out of various body parts. But here’s the catch…. it helps. OH how I hate saying that. I roll my whole body from head to toe… it stretches, it helps melt knots… it helps loosen everything up so I feel better after I am done….. but I HATE IT when I am on it. But if your PT tells you to try it… you should you really should… but be prepared to hate it and then find yourself thinking, ” where did I put that roller… I think I want to use it…”