Thursday, June 17, 2010

8 Weeks Post-Op

I feel this obligation to say, "I'm sorry, I wanted blog more often..." It would have been a great resource to blog every week about my progress, but honestly, I wasn't up for the emotional toll. A few friends have asked why I haven't been blogging more. The answer is that I've been focusing much of my free time on getting better. When I do have the time to take it easy, I do. Writing isn't easy when there aren't a lot of fun things to talk about. I don't want this to become a place to vent and seek pity. That being said, the weeks that have passed since I last wrote haven't been easy.

As much as Twitter seems like a useless social arena, it will definitely be helping me write this post. According to my "tweets" May 21st was the first time I got into the pool post-surgery. I felt bad getting to the pool a month after surgery. My doctor and my PT wanted me in there as soon as my stitches were out. I just wasn't feeling up to it. I was exhausted and miserable. It took me about 5 weeks to get off the crutches, a little longer than expected. Everything involving this healing process has been slow and patience has never been one of my virtues. So, I'm making it one. I've been making a lot of changes in my life these past few weeks. I'm trying to be more positive and focusing less on the end goal of doing triathlons again, and more on the present.

Three weeks ago I started doing yoga again. I did some Instant Watch yoga DVDs from Netflix. Then I downloaded a yoga app for my iPod Touch called Pocket Yoga. I figured spending $2.99 was better than spending $15 - 20 a session on a yoga class. It was difficult at first to do a 30 minute session. I remember taking things very slowly, and even a simple pose like "Child's Pose" was hard to do. Since then, yoga has become easier and I'm noticing improvements in my flexibility. Even my PT has noticed added strength as well as the flexibility. The yoga has been great for me mentally as well. Not only does it help to alleviate some of the massive amounts of stress I've experiencing, but seeing the little improvements as well as doing something physically active (albeit slow) makes me feel like I'm making progress.

After Pocket Yoga, I kind of went app crazy. My iPod Touch has now turned into my iZen. I have several different yoga apps on there. The best one is Hatha Yoga which is a pricey app at $9.99. It is the most authentic/traditional yoga app available. You can customize your own yoga sessions, the stop-motion video of the woman doing yoga are well done, and the audio instruction is very good. I have customized the standard session to have more poses that are beneficial for opening my hips and taken out the ones that are too hard for me right now. The yoga has also helped with the back pain I've been having from the epidural.

I have also downloaded some apps to help with meditation. My favorite being iSamadhi which is a meditation timer and journal. I started practicing meditation after I realized that the emotional after effects of this injury and the surgery were becoming too much for me. I was letting the pain and the negativity overwhelm me, own me. I have felt a large range of emotions in dealing with this. A huge part of it is guilt. There are people out there in far worse circumstances than I. Why does this feel so huge? So terrible at times? I'm not paralyzed, I can walk and will most likely be able to go on to doing triathlons again. I feel stupid and selfish for feeling so upset at times. I know I have a history of depression, which is usually just letting myself consume me. Does that make sense? Depression, for me, is letting my sad emotions overpower happiness or even just simply being. I give more importance to the depressive feelings than any other feelings. I feel they must be dealt with, but in the past I've dealt with them just by rolling around in them for weeks, months, years at a time.

Meditation gives me a break from focusing on those emotions. Just 10 minutes or so spent focusing on my breath, on the present has made such a difference. I have been interested in Eastern... well... everything ever since I was a child. Yoga is something I practice, then let go of, then return to. While I don't consider myself a Buddhist, I do like to read about it and about practicing mindfulness. There are certain negative stigmas attached to meditation and yoga... perhaps you're thinking, "Shit, Heather's gone all hocus pocus." If I could I'd show you 11 year old Heather off in the woods burning leaves and calling herself a Wiccan, I'd say: "No. That's hocus pocus Heather." Also, you can be an atheist and still believe in the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. (Shout out to Stephen Batchelor.) In any event, I'm feeling a bit more positive about things, even when I have setbacks.

My current setback is a "groin pull". YAY! Another opportunity for me to say "groin"! You know how I love to say it. Anyway, these past few days my walking has been going downhill. As much as I tried to hide it, a couple coworkers asked me if I was okay. I've been having trouble starting to walk after sitting, then I had trouble walking at all. I hoped a trip to the pool yesterday after work would help, but alas after swimming, doing my water walking and hip exercises I hobbled to the hot tub. When I went to PT today I had to have another therapist because my usual one is at a conference (One part of the conference is focused on my surgery, that's how common it's becoming). I told the assistant PT about how bad the pain and walking has been, and so the PT took a look.

She touched the spot where I've been having the most pain and exclaimed how tight it was. She started to massage it, and I started to do deep breathing exercises. It was incredibly painful. She took me to a private room, and continued to massage the tight areas. I had tears streaming down my face as I focused on my breath. Yeah, it was painful but it had to be done. After ultra-sound and ice, my walking was already improved. I'm to ice 3 - 4 times a day for the next week and lay off exercises, even yoga for a couple days. I'm relieved that the pain wasn't from my surgery, like it was failing or I did something wrong. The worst days have been the ones where I've been scared of a pop or pain and worried that the surgery didn't "keep".

Besides the hip, I finished my first semester of grad school with As. I'm quite proud and feeling confident about that part of my life. I'm currently taking a summer course online which is overwhelming right now. I'm hoping I get used to the format in a couple weeks. The above picture is me ripping the dance floor up to Lady Gaga at my friend Maura's wedding. It's hard to tell from the back but she looked absolutely gorgeous. It was the best wedding I've been to. Congrats again you two!