Counting Recovery

It is not quite 2 months since my surgery.  If you count days of the month, then tomorrow is 2 months.  If you count weeks, today is the end of the 9th week of spinal fusion recovery.  If you count weeks another way, Monday marks the start of the week 9-10 of recovery.  It’s kind of like vertebrae and disks – if the day is the vertebrae – and the disks are weeks – there is a week before and a week after.  I think at this point, I’m ready to just start counting MONTHS.

So I’m at 2 Months post op.  As I sit here today recounting my recovery, and reflecting on my progress – I feel “pretty good”.  I’ve made tons of progress of course, like I talked last week – no more walker, cane, back brace.  My discomfort is manageable.  I recognize that I have physical limits on what I can do, and my body does a good job of telling me when I’m pushing those limits.  But if I don’t do a bit of pushing, I won’t make progress, and I understand that too.

What am I doing?  Well, since you asked…I’m using a fitness tracker app to track my steps and other activities throughout the day.  It varies by day, but I generally get some combination that adds up to 6500 or so steps.  I don’t know the algorithm or logarithm that tells it that 15 minutes of stretching equals 1321 steps, but I look at it from an “overall activity level” .  For the record…that’s up from 250 steps a day the first week after surgery! Ha!!!  Anyway, I got on my exercise bike yesterday for 10 minutes, I did a 20ish minute yoga video and about 5 minutes of additional back stretches, and ended the day with a grand total of 6618 calculated steps for the day.  I try and use my lunch hour at work to go for a quick 10-15 walk, and then a gentle yoga video and some stretches.  The rest of what I do is just my moving around at work and home.  I’m trying to get into a routine of getting on my exercise bike more – since that is easier on my feet than tons of walking.  But mornings…ugh.  Trying to find the discipline to get up a little bit earlier every couple of days and pedal while the coffee brews…that’s my goal.  I enjoy my yoga during lunch time as well.

Last year while considering my fitness level, and my back pain level, I was researching yoga – but honestly, as a Christian, I was feeling a little bothered by the “Eastern Philosophy of Yoga” – the chanting and ooooohhhhhmmmmm – the stereotype I assigned in my head to what I thought about yoga.  And then I stumbled on a website that was Christian yoga practice.  Lots of information, some time in prayer, and a few websites later, I had reset my internal bias, and was ready to spend some focused time on a yoga mat WITH GOD.  And so for the last many months, I have been combining bible study, prayer, and yoga to my lunch time routine.  My favorite website and “teacher” is at www.carolinewilliamsyoga.com .  I’ve even exchanged emails with this beautiful woman, and she is by far my favorite Christian yoga video instructors.  A few of her guided meditations got me through a couple of rough nights early in my recovery, too.  Having that spiritual, faith-filled connection was vital when I needed to get through a pain flare.  Anyway, there is actually quite a community of Christian yogis out there.  If you too have been reluctant to think about yoga – I encourage you to do your own research, but I would hope that just watching one of Caroline’s many videos and listening to her bible study and prayer in EVERY PRACTICE, will convince you that just maybe, yoga might be a good fit for you too.

Alright, so next week I have my first appointment with my physical therapist.  She incidentally is also a yoga instructor, just FYI.  When I worked with her before for an issue with my upper back/shoulder she had me doing some yoga stretches then as well.  I hope that while working with her, I can get some tips about what modifications I can make to some poses, as I regain some strength, stability, and flexibility in recovering from this surgery.  I’m sure she’ll have me doing more than just yoga, but I’m hopeful we can work towards a sustainable long term plan to help me keep my back as strong and comfortable as possible.

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