October 13, 2021
Now, that I’m 14 months into this thing…there’s a few things I realize now that I definitely didn’t know at the outset. It would have been impossible to know beforehand. I could only learn by going through the process.
Table of Contents
The rehab program’s got to be flexible
And, as I sit here with some lumbar ouchies and some knee pain and feeling kind of tired…you know, this knee pain is new. Let’s not allow this to become a…THING! Please…
I’m thinking about how my post-fusion rehab program has really been quite flexible. I altered it along the way based upon how my body was doing.
While that may seem like a bit of obvious commonsense, I obviously think it’s worthwhile to explicitly state that for other folks, in particular, who may be at the beginning of their spinal fusion rehab journey.
For me, there definitely isn’t some single program/routine and schedule that you can follow. It has to change. A lot. Depending on how you feel. In particular, especially if you’re feeling pain.
How my personal rehab program evolved
I started off initially just walking. And, it was a very painful sort of walking! I did that for a couple months. Then it was into actual physical therapy. And, I worked that program for a few months. Then, I went out on my own and started walking again and adding some new stuff like squats and pushups and walking with a dumbbell in one hand. Then the inflammation started again.
The inflammation would start and stop any number of times. It’s hard to keep track of that. And, Prednisone prescriptions: that was prescribed along the way a few times. Then I went back to physical therapy again. Then I did my own routine again.
Then I joined an actual gym. There I went through a few different sort of exercise programs, but the staples were squats, pull-ups, dips, swimming and basketball. Then I introduced some classes.
Must refine program once again
And, now I’m at a point where I need to retool my program again. I’m going to have to phase out the classes mostly. Sad. But, the classes are too much. So, it’s mid-October 2021, and I need to definitely make some changes to my exercise program.
Damn shame, because I really enjoyed the dance class. But, I’m pretty sure the dance class was putting too much strain on my knees and, to a lesser extent, lower back…
I must accept that my skeleton sucks
I really need to accept the obvious: my skeleton sucks. My bones suck. My spine crapped out before the age of 50. My knees hurt. It’s so obvious that my orthopedic reality is shit. Hey, this is what I’m telling myself: Don’t be angry about it. It’s just the way it is! There’s lots and lots and lots of potential problems you could have that you don’t have.
So, don’t be upset that your bones are shit. You’re doing well in so many other ways! Just accept life, man!
Let daily walking be the staple again
I should probably return to daily walking. That really should be the foundation again. Then shoot some baskets. Then mix in some pull-ups, chin-ups and dips a few times a week. Mix in some squats a couple times a week. Keep it simple. Get the CPAP machine soon to get the sleep better. Eat a little better. And, keep the exercise program simple.
Marathon not a sprint…
Like the surgeon told me 18 months ago: this is a marathon, not a sprint. That still applies. I’m still in the midst of the marathon. It ain’t over! He looked over the X-ray and told me the bone was 80% fused. He didn’t say: Oh, you’re at 100%, my man!
No, he didn’t. He said, “You’re doing good. See you in a year.”
That’s right. I’m still in the marathon. That didn’t just mean all the shit involved in the lead-up to the surgery with X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, pre-surgery rehab. It didn’t just mean the first year of rehab after the surgery. The marathon’s still going. I imagine it’s never going to not be going…