As I expected, the end of last week (flight to Seattle) and this week (drive to Richland) exhausted me. Sleep, ice, rest, and my back feels alright – but the fatigue is a very real thing. I just don’t bounce back as quick as I did before the surgery. As Chel and others keep reminding me – I’m putting a ton of energy into healing my back, growing bone, and so my extra energy reserves are bound to be low. Sleep, eat well, take good care of my back as it heals – REST – is all part of recovery.
On Tuesday I had my 6 week check up with my surgeon. X-rays first, that look very much like the ones they took 3 weeks earlier – except that I did flexion and extension instead of just standing up straight. Doc says I’m pretty much where he expects me to be. I talked through some of what I have been feeling nerve wise – and he takes credit for ticking off the nerves. During surgery he had to move them out of the way to clean up the joints and do the fusion. Nerves are slow to heal, but what I had pre-surgery was physical pinching of the nerves – now they are just irritated and need to adjust. Continuing with ice through out the day and rest will keep the inflammation down and hopefully keep the nerves happier. I have another appointment in about 8 weeks. I have an appointment with the physical therapist in about 2 weeks and then appointments twice a week to see her for about 6 weeks. I can start riding my exercise bike, and doing gentle yoga. Gentle walking and stretching will also continue, and helps with the mad nerves stuff. Still no NSAIDS – they affect fusion healing. Still no heat – not good for the fusion either. Careful and smart return to doing more and more – and working up to lifting up to about 35 pounds by the next time I see the doc. As the nerves heal, and the muscles get stronger, the sense of soreness will dissipate as well. Honestly, it’s not my back/surgical site that bothers me. It’s my butt and down my legs to my feet – all nerve related. When I’m not good about walking, resting, stretching, icing – that’s when the nerves start firing all crazy. The muscle relaxers keep me from having major cramping and charlie horses – so that’s a good thing…but the muscles in my legs are sore.
Ok, but how do I really feel???? Well, pretty good most of the time. The good outweighs the bad for sure. I am moving better each day, feeling stronger. I still am not wearing much besides leggings – as the waist band of my jeans and work pants rubs funny across my incision site and irritates it. I can wear them for a couple hours, but then I am just annoyed – so leggings and a couple super soft elastic waisted skirts and such are my work wardrobe for now. I’m able to do laundry without much trouble, and load and empty the dishwasher, even change the sheets on my bed. I can bring in 2-3 smaller pieces of fire wood at a time so I don’t freeze. I can take the trash out to the big can – as long as I don’t let it get too full – or put the used kitty litter in there – that makes it too heavy.
I’m thankful that I’m doing as well as I am, and that I can start to do even more, and get back to most of my routine. I know my back will tell me when to slow down, take a break, and sit on some ice for 30 minutes and take a break.