Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Listening to the body can cause you to run a marathon by accident

This past weekend my friends Clyde and Kelly Shank decided to stop here and do the Adams County Marathon on their way home from MD to TX.  Heather had said she would hang with me for the run no matter how slow I went and no matter what distance I decided to do.  I had done 3 weekends where I did 12-13 ish miles on one day but during the week I've still been walking most of the time....not due to any pain just due to pure laziness.  The only pains I feel still remain in the right hamstring and upper ass.....its the same little pinch all day and night and no matter what I do it doesnt get better or worse.  It still doesnt radiate down the leg or foot any and it is not painful enough to require any pain medication....its just annoying to have a pain in your ass all the time.  I had Louvina my friend who is the race director put me in for the full even though I figured I would have to stop at the half.  I didnt have any goals and would not have had any disappointment at all if I had to stop at the half because honestly a half marathon 114 days after a 3 level spinal fusion is most likely unheard of as well.  I think sometimes there is something weird that goes on with my body the way things recovery....one day that may not be the case but the past couple years it has been and I will live like there is no tomorrow until that day knocks me completely down.

  Our minds are so powerful it is truly amazing.  Sometimes I do worry that my mind is so powerful that it somehow tells my body it is perfectly ok when its not? The only reason I say this is because the shit I have been able to do not only after this spinal fusion but back tracking back to the end of 2009 when I had the 3 micro fractures on my left knee then going for a year and a half with doctors telling me I would need a new knee if I would start running again...remember back then I also had only done a couple marathons!

Kelly and Clyde arrived friday afternoon so we got to spend the day together.  They came bearing hydration and nutrition so that I would be able to give 100% at the run on Saturday! ha..... I love these little airplane size bottles of booze....you just can't find them in Portsmouth Ohio like you can in Texas! They are perfect size to fit right in the little holders of a fuel belt....I think maybe those places were meant for gels but I think these work out best!

Race morning we got up early, Heather and Jackie drove to my house and Clyde and Kelly followed us since they would be heading back towards Texas after the run. I think the weeks leading up to this I was most excited one to see Clyde and Kelly and two the baked goods from Millers Bakery after the event!! CREAM HORNS and HOMEMADE PRETZELS.....those are the two items I was dreaming about.  They have so many other things too that will make you drool a little as you walk back and forth while you debate on what to get but my mind was set on just those items.  I have really been watching my food intake to get this weight off that I have gained during this whole spine ordeal. Trying not to worry too much about the number on the scale which is hard but how things fit and Im not into some clothes that I want to be into.
We got to the race with plenty of time to visit and had a maniac/fanatic/50 staters photo before hand. The race started about 15 minutes late due to some issues but I don't think anyone had a problem with it.  Kelly and Jackie were working an aid station near the half way part of each loop.  Heather and I got started and the weather was cloudy to start with chances of rain and temps about 60...so perfect running weather!!!  Im not sure how far into the run it started but a light misty rain came and pretty much stayed all day.  Sometimes it was heavier then others but no downpour.  When we got to Kelly and Jackie I told Heather we were half way to the half way if we were going to do the full....I was feeling really good, only issues is the hamstring and upper glute/hip pinch on that right side which like I have said I feel all the time. I still didnt care if I would drop to the half, I was just out having fun and listening to my body.  One thing about this course is it is very pretty scenery with all the horses we pass and hilly but not many guardrails to pop up your leg to stretch - I kept saying I wanted to do that at the next opportunity but that opportunity never really came.
After loop one I was still feeling really good and we just decided to keep on trucking and see how things go......Clyde was ahead of us by about a mile or so, so when we he hit the turn around and we were coming back to the turn around we passed each other.  Later he told me that he could see it in my eyes that I was feeling great and that I was going to do the full marathon. He was right!!!
During the second loop I decided to turn on my iPhone an play some music over the speaker and sing to entertain us.  A gal from Maryland that had come to run a 20 mile training run but decided she may as well just do the full ran into us.  She stayed with us for the course entertainment on and off for about 8 or so miles.  She was training for NYC marathon in November and is also planning on Vegas Half mid November.....I may have talked her into signing up for that full instead :-)...............
We finished with a time of 6:08 which honestly for that course being hilly isn't that bad. I can't believe I ran/walked the full and felt amazing!  I had doubts about doing the Full at Vegas because they have a 5 hour time limit but they do allow those to move to the sidewalk to finish in 6 hours but I have never seen them allow anything more then 6 hours.  Any given day I can run 6 hour marathons or for that matter a 5 hour cut off doesnt make me nervous  but not any given day after 2 spinal surgeries and one major one and not running a marathon since January 11th so this is why I had doubt for Vegas....I no longer have that doubt at all.....that course will not have the hills this one did ( i like hills) so I should be able to finish it in under 6 hours easily. Im not going to push it and just go out and have fun but I WILL beat the cut off but I also will listen to my body....if I feel any pain while running then I also have no problem dropping to the half.  Vegas is an evening run which will be different but Kid Rock will be playing an hour beforehand for us so that will be motivating!
I still don't think I have wrapped my mind around being able to finish with no issues what so ever.....even the next day I didnt feel like I ran 26.2 miles??  I do know that I felt at home again with all the runners and seeing some friends I haven't seen in awhile.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Life Is Good

I haven't posted for awhile because I am just amazed with how good I feel.  I can't even comprehend that I had major surgery with pretty much a new titanium lumbar spine that connect to my sacrum 98 days ago??
Im still running by feel and not paying any attention to my watch so that it doesnt temp me to try to set any time goals....not that I ever was one to set time goals.
August 29th and September 7th I decided I was going to try to run/walk a half marathon distance. I had no time goal in my mind and a typical half takes me anywhere between 2:00 - 2:25 depending on what Im running and how many shenanigans I partake in while on a course.  These were not official Half Marathons just the distance...leaving my house and running up Rt 23 to the Highway Patrol Office and back....its just a tad more then 13.1 miles.  Now I did have in the back of my head that I would like to do this in under 3 hours but again I was not going to have my watch set to see the overall time so that I wouldn't push. I stopped a couple times to stretch when I needed to...walked a lot and just enjoyed being out there for some quality time.  On the 29th when I finished my time was 3:01:13...I was glad I didnt look at my watch because I probably would have skipped a stretch break or picked up the pace into a run instead of a walk and would have easily been under the 3 hour mark...but I feel like I needed those stretch breaks and the walking when I did. Nothing to prove just wanted to have no pains.  The 7th Heather came with me and we met up with Jackie and she went with us for about 9 of these miles. This was her longest for awhile.....this trip we were around 2:57 but again didnt look at my watch.  The first long one my feet got really tired....like they would feel when you're out there for a 50 miler...or I guess how they would feel for your first half or full marathon. The second trip my feet didnt get that tired feeling as bad.
Two days before the second 13.1 mile trip I decided to go ahead and run our local 5K.....Heather said she would do it with me and we were not going to look at our time because again...no pushing and no goal...just have fun and enjoy the atmosphere of a race.  I decided on the 5K over the 10K because I knew in the race atmosphere we all tend to get caught up in it and I may run a little harder then what I needed to be doing at this time.  We hit mile one and my watch does beep to tell me what each mile pace is and we were running a 9:45....shit it sure didnt feel like we were pushing that hard!!! My body  felt great...I was breathing a little heavy but kept pace and Heather would keep making sure nothing hurt and all was well and if I wanted to walk it was fine....I really wanted to run this entire 3.1 miles, I didnt care what pace but I wanted to run it all.  Mile 2 comes up and we are still under a 10 min mile...this one averaging 9:54....still body feeling good but my breathing at this pace has not returned....but it hasn't seen this pace in a long long time either. During the last mile we slowed the pace down a tad bit and crossed the finish line with a time of 30:30! Who does this shit!! I must be some sort of medical freak!!! I again was glad I did not have my watch set for overall time because if I knew I was 30 seconds slower then having a sub 30 min 5K 3 months and 1 day after a spinal fusion I think I would have kicked it up at the end instead of slowing down a tad.
After the 13.1 on the 7th I have only ran a couple of shorter runs, I have been getting my steps in each day and doing strength training as well.  Early this week on my FB page a post popped up about the Indian Run in Hocking Hills....for the past couple years I always heard great things about this run but I was always out of town doing events when it took place.  They have a 5K 10K 20K 40K and 60K.....I also read the 5 10 and 20K can start anytime between 9-11am so that meant I didnt have to get up at some God awful early hour and drive or find a place closer to spend the night. Its only about an hour and 20 minute drive too.  I knew Heather would love to do this and the price of only $25 even made it more appealing!! I quick message with the details to Heather and the next thing we knew we had both emailed each other a photo of our entry fee that we were mailing in!  We make a good team!! I had never been to Hocking Hills so had no idea what the course would be like. HOLY MOTHER HILL BALLS!!! Major Major climbing and long decents in the beginning made for some tired quads and painful lungs but it was a wonderful day and we had a blast!! We chose the 20K just over 12 miles....Some of the steep climbs really kicked my ass and Im usually a power hiker up hills but that was not expected out of me today and I honestly didnt even think they would have climbs like that! WOW......I kept moving forward each climb....even the one in the beginning that had to be over a mile long and 1000 plus feet of gain..I wanted so bad to stop and catch my breath but I knew I couldn't catch it even if I stopped so I may as well just keep moving forward.  Heather was loving it and she would stop and turn around to check on me and giggle and say Im enjoying the view....because Im usually the one way ahead on the climbing up where she kicks ass going down. The course was on some road and when it was on the trails they were beautiful.  Nicely shaded and we crossed a bridge that was above Old Mans Cave. I would like to return and hike out here and check out all the offering the park has.  The last couple miles was mostly walking....the trails started to have a lot of roots around and being tired I was a little nervous trying to maneuver my feet with all the roots in fear of falling and hurting my back. We were in no hurry at all....we kinda had a goal with it being trails and lots of climbing of 3:30 and came in in 3:08.  My garmin showed we had 3,819 feet of elevation gain and 3,428 feet of elevation loss!  WOW!
Next weekend is the Adams County Half Marathon and Marathon....Clyde and Kelly Shank are coming up - Kelly is going to volunteer with Jackie and Clyde Heather and I are going to run it. Clyde will run the full and Heather is going to run what ever I decide to run and hang with me. This course has a lot of hills too but after this weekends hills I think I will be ok....I worried about the downhill pounding on the spine and the uphill use of the lower back muscle to help you climb would bother me but so far everything is good.  The only issue I have and have had is the tightness in the right ass cheek.....there is still no nerve pain radiating down the leg and I don't think doing nothing will take it away and I don't think doing what Im doing will make it worse since it hasn't been getting worse just staying the same.  Part of me really wants to do the full but I won't push myself if after the half I have pains that are not normal marathon pains.
I would love to go to my next appointment with a marathon finisher shirt and medal for the Doc....I also can't wait to let him know that he is a hashtag :)

Friday, August 21, 2015

And the comeback begins

The past 2 Saturdays I have gone to the forest to do the fire road trail which is an 8 mile roundtrip course I have been doing for a couple of years. The first Saturday I decided to jog down a few of the hills and walk the uphills but listen to see how my body would react. The doctor did say I could start adding some running in in about 6 weeks and this was 11 days later so close enough to try??? I was with some friends and it actually felt really good. One friend was struggling to keep up so we decided just to stick with walking after a couple of downhills.  On August 11th I then decided to run the local 5K route that I have been walking a lot and just do a run/walk and again go by feel...nothing to prove no need to push. I ran that in 41:47 - not too bad only 68 days after major spinal surgery!! Afterwards I still felt pretty good. The only pains I have are some sciatica nerve pain in my right upper glute area and its not shooting pains down the leg nor does it pinch to make it hard to sit up and stand up. Doc says it could be a permanent nerve damage, could be residual pain, could be just a flare up. I will keep listening to  my body and not push to much. Next appointment is October 20th so if I am still having that discomfort he may do an MRI just to be sure nothing is still wrong. 
So back to my comeback..... The second Saturday...this time 2 friends and Andi my 4 legged running partner went out to the fire road trail....things felt amazing!! My friend that struggled the week before was doing awesome as well.....we ran the downhills power walked the uphills for the majority of the 8 miles. Towards the end there were a couple of the downhills that I decided maybe it wouldn't hurt just to walk them because I know going downhill is going to be more pounding anyways then just running on flat surface. After we finished we stopped for some ice cream. 
This week on Monday Tuesday and Thursday I ran/walked the bear run as well.  My goal for the week was to run under 40 minutes but not to push myself...so even though I set my garmin I would not look at it because I didn't want my head to tell my body to move faster I wanted my body to tell my body how to work. All three runs were under 40 minutes with two of them at 37!! I am trying to figure out if I am some sort of medical marvel or just a plain ass freak??? 
Today I was going to run/walk with Heather but after doing my upper body strength workout my nerve pinch was telling me maybe just to walk. So I was glad I listened and we did a nice 4 miles with a super nice clip and no nerve pain what so ever during the walk. 
My head and heart tells me its ready to do a marathon but I know not running one since January 11th and all the trama my spine and nerve endings were put thru it may be like starting over for awhile? All I can do is get out there and see what happens but remind myself to not push too much. Its also hard to believe that December 31 January 1 January 10 and January 11th I did a marathon each of those days!!! Wonder if my first one back is going to feel like the first marathon I ever did? Well I won't know that since my two marathons I ever did was after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles :-).....but I remember what I felt like after my first half marathon! I think we feel the same after each distance that is a milestone. I got to a point to where I no longer hurt even after a 50 miler or a 100K. Since I only have done one 100 miler I never got to a point of not hurting after that...I can't even imagine not hurting after that. 
Well I have rambled enough for today.....looking forward to tomorrows 8 miles in the forest and I have been biking a 50K each sunday and have been feeling good on the bike as well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Life is journey

Life is a journey and if we didn't have set backs that we could pick ourselves back up from in order to start a new journey it would just be plain boring.
I had my follow up appointment on July 28th and knew I was going to be able to fly after that appointment so I had already made arrangements for my son and I to go to Vegas and Southern Utah.  I couldn't wait for him to see what I am so in love with!
 We arrived in Vegas on Wednesday evening and stayed for 2 nights....On Thursday we toured the Hoover Dam and that evening watched the amazing Blue Man Group!! We also played some penny slot and black jack and both of us cashed out ahead with about $150 each more!
On Friday morning we drove to Hurricane and met with a real estate agent Ive been working with for about 9 months and this time we were planning to check out the small town of Kanab. This was also our base for the next 5 nights. Kanab is home of the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and only has about 4,000 folks but it is more centrally located to all the different National Parks and ranges about 10 degrees cooler in the summer then Hurricane but 20 degrees cooler in the winter. I liked one home but due to some differences in communication from the seller I started getting an uneasy feeling about it and went with my gut. It wasn't the one either.
Saturday we decided to try to drive down a sand road to a trail that would take us to dino tracks...the rental agent upgraded us to a Kia for an additional $278 and swore we would be fine. I told him exactly what the directions to get there said about needing a high clearance 4WD and he said this vehicle would be ok. Well we got 1.9 miles down the road which I still don't know how we got that far and the bottom of the car was completely under sand. Thank God I had met a local SAR guy Paul from the area before we had gone to Kanab and I had all his contact info or we could have been out there all day! We did keep a case of water in the car at all times in case anything would come up. Paul made it out in his truck and taught Tanner how to shovel the sand out from under the car and wheels so that we could get a chain around it and he could start pulling us out. I felt bad for Tanner but there was no way I was going to be able to get down there and shovel. It took some time and there was no hurry but we finally got out!!! We spent that day hiking local trails and checking out the Coral Pink Sand Dunes.
Sunday we drove to Willis Creek Slot Canyon...I love slot canyons and after my trip out there in April I decided I could be considered a Slot Canyon Junkie...I don't think I could ever tire of them!! Willis Creek Slot I read was a nice slot and good for beginners...not super technical and not much having to wedge through the slots or boulder climb to get to the other parts....this was perfect with my back still just shy of the 2 month mark and I really wanted Tanner to experience a slot canyon. We
had to leave fairly early to get there as we were watching the weather and rain was due in around 1pm. If it rains within so many miles of the vicinity you don't wanna be in a slot canyon due to flooding. When we arrived a couple other cars were there so that made me feel more at ease. Off we headed and in a short time down the slots we went! We caught up with the other groups that were down there with their children.  When we got to the end and turned around Tanner heard a rattle...and said what was that. We were told we would hear a rattle snake before we would see a rattle snake and sure enough we did!! It was so funny cause Tanner was a little worried about the rattle snakes and I kept telling him that the chances were so slim that we really would run across one and here we see it on the first real day of hiking. It rattled once, Tanner saw it and we stepped over the creek to move away....it kept slithering away from us all the while you could tell it was keeping an eye on us...and never again did it rattle. They must do one warning and then you move away and they move away. I did get a photo but I didn't try to take a selfie like the idiot on the news a couple weeks ago did.
Monday we drove to the Grand Canyon North Rim....this was both our first times here and we decided to hike down into the Canyon. Once we got tot the first check point we were told the next one has a water refill and a tunnel....we knew the trip up was going to be rough but also knew it would be worth it to keep going! It was starting to get pretty hot and mules were sharing the same trail....oh boy the smell of mule piss and shit lingered for a long time!!! This hike took us down about 1700 feet through switchbacks with view after view. We took out time and just enjoyed everything about it. At times I would just stop and tell Tanner to just listen.....listen to just nothing! The air is thinner, the sounds are just nature. My favorite photo came from some folks we met at the first check point...I wanted one of the two of us just looking out over the canyon, not posing just admiring its beauty. I know have this one framed in my family room.
Tuesday was all about Bryces Canyon.....I was there in April but only drove to the lookout points and admired the views. I was so excited because I wanted to hike down into the canyon and see the hoodoos all around me. The hike we had planned was a figure 8 loop that combined 3 of the top trails. It would be about 2000 feet of elevation change and we both knew it would be work but the payoff would be worth it.  We followed the directions from someones hiking post and did the Navajo Trail and connected into Peek A Boo loop....When we finished the Peek A Boo loop it was getting hot and there were no water refills on these trails at all? We then looked over the directions trying to see which way to the Queens Garden trail but something was off a little bit so we decided to start heading back up the navajo trail loop...We got in about 6 miles and it really was spectacular!.
Wednesday we drove back through Hurricane and I showed Tanner the house that I had placed a back up offer on in April but didn't get.  One of those things were timing is just right...at that time I didn't know I would be needing MAJOR back surgery so all things work out for a reason. He really liked the Hurricane area more then Kanab and felt I would be happier there because there is much more to do and its closer to some bigger cities. Even though its a little further to the north rim by an another hour then Kanab there is a 10 screen movie theatre not a one screen and there is plenty of food and grocery choices. When the timing is right it will happen.  I think my plans now are to try to find a place that will allow my dogs that is furnished after the first of the year and just rent on a monthly basis....I will be running my business remotely and have a place to store my furniture here if my home here sells. 2000 miles is a long way away to go alone after being in a town for almost 48 years so I want to be sure things run smooth with the business and I feel comfortable before making that huge leap. Hiking new trails every weekend will be amazing!!!
Now we are back home and I am able to start lifting some weights and adding in some other cardio. He told me on the 28th to wait about 6 more weeks before running but Im such a slow runner I had to give it a try today. My first mile was around 14 something....it takes awhile for the legs to get ready to move...they feel stiff easily and still tire quickly, the inner thighs and such feel weak as well but I know that will all come back. I had no goal today except to add some jogging in...whether it was pole to pole or flower pot to flower pot I wasn't going to push I was going to stay comfortable and be connected to how things felt. Mile 2 came out to be a 12:14 min mile...wow...I will take that being 2 months and 7 days after major spine surgery!! Mile 2 was a 12:41. I have no desire to beat my time at all...right now its about coming back slow and smart. I still feel the slight pinch in the right butt cheek and still no radiating down the leg and the inner thighs are really tight but will have to start stretching more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Day 24 Post L4 L5 S1 Spinal Fusion Checkup

Today was my first follow up with my Neurological Surgeon Dr Gregory Balturshot.  I was kinda hoping we would get to take X-rays and see my cool looking new titanium spine but he said he won't do that till the next appointment which will be July 28th. He asked how things were and I did tell him I hate to say because I don't wanna jinx things like the last time.  I told him that the area just about my butt but below the lower back all the way across still had a tenderness type pain that is best described as a burning.... I also have that same pain on the left side of the incision and I can feel it there more when I pull open a door, pick up a plate something weighted but not near 5-10 pounds which is my limit for lifting. It feels like muscular pain and he said that will go away.  I also told him my right hip had some sharp pains in the rear and he explained this could be from where my spine is not stabilized and my walking gait may have me kinda walking crooked...like one leg is slightly longer or shorter then the other but in time it will all get strong again and be fine. I then told him I feel best while I am walking and told him during the week of post surgery day 16-22 I walked 56 miles with the 3 previous days before my appointment I was doing a little over 10 each day. This is not at one time...this is spread out through the day and my longest walk is about 4 miles. He said he knew I would do well with this procedure and said as long as the walking is not hurting any and when I get tired I stop that I can continue. So then I asked....since I am a goal oriented person and while walking the couple days before I thought...hmmm wonder if he will let me try to walk a half marathon 13.1 miles each day but of course spread out throughout the day. He said YES!!! BUT....if it hurts don't push and if i get tired STOP! I agreed. Since I can't work because I am a gym owner and teach class and train clients and there is absolutely NO BLT...bending lifting twisting....which this is one abbreviation I would like to change because when I hear that I just want a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich!  I was also told I was allowed to swim and pool jog...but no EFX yet. I could try the indoor bike but if the push and pull of the legs bother me I should stop.
So today is actually day 25 and I started my goal of trying to do a half marathon each day and the pool is open on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays so today I was also going to try the pool. I go up and did my first morning walk....I am finding that around mile 2 ish that my feet and legs start to kinda ache....an ache that I felt after running my 100 miler. Once I stop and chill for a few then Im fine. I walked a little over 3 then went to the pool. I tried some laps and only did 250 meters because it made that area of my right hip hurt. I then decided to do some pool jogging and did a little in shallow and even though it takes some impact off I found I didn't want even that little bit of extra impact on my back so I took it to deep water running as well as frog kicks, flutter kicks and outward frog kicks so that I could work on some leg muscles that had not been worked. I did high knees I did heel to my rear and it all felt great! I then went to the swim blocks and did some pull ups and one arm pull ups just to have some upper body while even though I was lifting my body the water kept all the strains off my back. Since there is no impact with deep water aqua jogging my garmin won't pick up the distance but I stayed active in the pool for a little over 45 minutes. As soon as I was done Heather met me for my second walk of the day. Same thing here I noticed my feet and legs getting achy and we sat down on some stone under a tree for a bit and just let things calm down.
A couple hours later I was meeting Jackie for a walk and this time I decided instead of wearing socks and my hokas or asics I was going to wear no socks and my keen sandals....believe it or not we walked a little over 4 miles and my feet and legs didn't bother me at all. Im wondering if maybe where the nerves were so traumatized and they are trying to heel if the socks and the shoes keep them from breathing??? I don't know but Im going to walk in my Keen sandals in the morning and see if it feels ok again.  I did get my 13.1 miles in walking plus the 45 min in the pool which I would assume would be atleast another 2 miles...but my head had to see at least 13.1 on my garmin today - OCD - The pool is closed friday for the holiday but back open on monday so I will return. I may not be as obsessed and depending on how long I'm jogging in the pool maybe i will count it like a 20 ish min mile and allow it to count towards my 13.1.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

21 days Post Spinal Fusion L4-S1

So today is 21 days post surgery.....I hate to even type how things are going in fear of jinxing the recovery process. After the double Laminectomy I felt great immediately upon waking with the nerve pain gone but felt some left hip pains that were pretty sharp. I walked and did the EFX and some stationary biking during the recovery and had a total amount of stepping miles of 146 for the month of March.  In january I had a step count of only 126 miles and that included 3 marathons and a 5K so you can tell how debilitated I became.
In April my step mileage count was 137 miles...when I did stationary biking it doesnt register as steps so I did have some other forms of exercise as well. It was in April 6 weeks after the first procedure when the nerve pain returned but to the opposite side....nothing as severe as before but would have advanced to that over some time. Knowing I would be having surgery on June 6th during the month of May I pushed myself to walk and hike and get myself nice and strong in hopes that it would be an advantage in recovering. I walked and hikes 161 miles during the month of May.
Surgery was June 6th and 3 days prior I went and walked a half marathon in northern ohio so that I could be surrounded by my running family and have a little bit of mental therapy before the big day. I was incarcerate from Thursday the 6th and was released Sunday the 9th.  The first evening was the worse where I didn't even have the strength to move my body...actually all 4 days were horrifying but each day did get a little easier. By saturday the 8th I was walking around the floor of the hospital 3 times and did that 3 times during that day. I never pushed and one time I cut it short and did only half a loop because I was tired.  When I got home it was still tough getting up and down but I have always felt better when I moved rather then the pain from sitting or laying on the incision area and then the initial movement causes some pain as well. After I was home for a couple days I began some short walks outside. They started with a couple .25 mile 3 times a day and they rapidly increased each day...again I have not once pushed myself...I have paid close attention to how I feel and if I would get the slightest feeling of discomfort I immediately turn around and head for home.  It was day 11 and I was out walking and things just felt so good that instead of turning where I had been for a 1.50 mile total walk I just kept going...nice and slow. I ended up going 3.2 miles. I was concerned and called the doctors office to see if this was bad even though I wasn't pushing at all. The nurse said to listen to my body and that was a lot for someone that isn't even quite 2 weeks out and to absolutely not do anything else but walk...No bend lift or twist and no other forms of exercise.  The next afternoon and evening I had more of the hip sharp pains that I had been having so I decided to back down to my 1.5 mile distances for the rest of that week. I still went and did a walk every couple hours but just kept them shorter in distance. By Saturday I was feeling ok so started to bump them back up again and I could feel my pace getting a little faster....still I AM NOT PUSHING myself.  This week now I have been averaging about 15,000 steps a day,,,Tuesday thru today I have been doing in excess of 7 miles each day...with the longest walk being the 3.2 mile route when I wake up and then I follow it with distances that range from 1.5-2 miles a couple more times during the day. I can say today my hip pain is starting to disappear. I still have incision pain when I sit back or lay down on it but I feel the best when I am moving and walking.  My pace is getting much faster too. I managed this mornings 3.2 in about 50 minutes but I wasn't going for speed just walking comfortably. I also stopped during this 50 minutes and talked to some people I say.
I have no intentions of trying to run or jog until the doctor tells me I can. I know the titanium has to heal in there and make my spine strong again so jarring things could really mess things up....but the way I am feeling I believe some speed walking and some longer distances will be there much sooner then I ever dreamed! I think running will be there much sooner then I ever dreamed but I would guess its going to be still at least 4 or so months out...but thats a lot better then 1-2 years as suggested before the surgery!!
My first follow up will be this Tuesday and I believe he will X-ray and see how things are looking and then give me a plan of action.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

11 Days Post Spinal Fusion L4-S1

So Im 11 days post op and I start to feel like I am some sort of medical marvel...first with the knee years ago being told I can't run or would need a knee replacement within 2 years but then year and half later decided to run and did 88 marathons/ultras and now don't have any swelling or bruising of the knee? I feel like I should be hurting more but my walking get longer and stronger everyday.
I had my staples removed last friday afternoon - there was 23 of them...I had my mom take a look at it and it looked like a couple places where the incision was pulling apart some and I called my family doctor who removed them and sent a photo to his text but didn't hear back so I had mom go ahead and get some butterfly's and try to close the gap. It seemed to work then my son saw a gap in the middle where the incision was really deep and he did the same and the next evening it seemed to have gotten much better.  There is some itching where it is healing and when I sit or lay there is some surgery pain in the center right side of the incision....kinda feels like a burning sensation when it hits me. My right hip still has some pain and I have some itching in the left upper hip. I am not sure which side he took part of my bone out to use as a harvest bone and I am assuming some of this itching and hip pain is probably from that.
Walking feels great! Its so hot and humid outside but it feels good to walk. I started last week with just walking up the street and back 3 times a day and then by the weekend I was up to half mile 3-4 times a day. When it was too hot and humid I got on the treadmill at a 2.5-2.8mph walk for half mile. Things really don't hurt much when I'm walking...seems to hurt the most when I am laying and then have to roll or move positions.  Nighttimes are still a little rough and I have to take pain medication at bedtime to help sleep and lighten up that pain of laying on my back or side and then having to move some.  Yesterday it got pretty hot and humid so I took to the treadmill at a very slow pace and things felt so good I just kept going....I stopped at 1 mile and felt as though I could go more without any issues but chose not to.
I woke today and had to go to work for a few to get a deposit together and a couple other things then when I got done I headed outside for a mile walk...but when I got going I decided that I would go on to Kinneys lane and back and I know this is 3/4 of a mile each way. It was 100% humidity but there was a little breeze and wasn't hot hot hot.  I really felt good that it was almost scary.  My mind started questioning if I will mess things up by walking too much but the doctor said the more I walk without pain the faster things heal. If it hurts stop...that simple. I know I am strong willed and stubborn and I can block pain very easily so i then question myself and wonder is it hurting and I just have blocked it??? But really it feels much better when I am moving. Steps are very easy, I am NOT lifting anything more then 5 -10 pounds and that is one area that I will not attempt. That area is one that I know can make things worse and there is no reason nor need to attempt to lift anything. I am able to do laundry and when it's finished Tanner brings the basket upstairs for me...even though it most likely isn't 5-10 pounds I will not risk that.  I am not using the sweeper as tempting as it is when I see dog or cat hair laying around it is not worth it. I was glad Moxie (the cat) got her hair cut yesterday as that will keep down some of that.
Most people who go into this surgery are older then myself and are not nearly as active. Last year even with the pains before surgery I averaged 250-300 miles a month of walking/running then after my surgery at the end of February I still averaged 150-176 miles of walking each month. I didn't run but stayed walking. Even when the laminectomy didn't work as we hoped I still stayed active knowing this recovery would be less painful the healthier I was going into it. I had stopped the pity party that first part of May and stopped eating all the ice cream and junk and took 10 of the 30 pounds I had put on since last year and 20 some alone since Jan off.  I had a couple bad days this week but when your son makes you a homemade banana cream pie, crust and all then banana bread from scratch whats a mom to do :)
I have already started thinking of new goals.....I know in November I will do just the half at RnR Vegas and walk it....but I am thinking I will be able to start back to running a little at a time by then and get training for RnR Nashville in April. I also am signed up for RnR NOLA in Feb and the full there has a 7 hour time limit so walking with little bits of jogging shouldn't be a problem if all goes well.  I don't think I will be able to do California International the first of December since it is a 6 hour time limit and I don't think I will be running enough by December to get me there in that time but I have not written it off yet. I was signed up for several events when we hoped the first procedure worked and had no idea I would be having major spinal surgery. California International allows for deferral but heck its $49 just to defer so I am not sure what I will do and have till the middle of November to decide what I will need to do.
My spirits are high and I have received so many cards from friends all over the place. I pick one randomly each day to read - my dream is to have one a day each day of my recovery...at first the doc said I would be 1-2 years with no running so I took it as 1 year....after the surgery he felt it was a realistic goal to look forward to possibly doing RnR Nashville as my comeback marathon.