Up up and away :: two weeks after surgery


Once you decide to have surgery you’re on an unknown adventure. Things are gonna change. Of course we all hope and pray that the change will be good, but it takes awhile for the story to unfold. Like most everything else in life it’s not a straight trajectory. I was going to say that it’s three steps forward, two steps back, but I think today I would say that for me it’s more like one step back. Still, the difference has already been pretty remarkable.


Most recent example: I am redoing my professional website. I worked on it sitting in a recliner with my laptop today, and two full hours passed before I decided to change positionsTwo hours. Before surgery, I would’ve been shifting about every 5-10 minutes; I just could not get comfortable sitting.


The low back pain that I had 24/7 is 90% gone. My right iliolumbar ligament was constantly irritated and tight, and the space just beneath it was always aching and angry. When I leaned over, I had to move in a way that avoided involving my right side, at least until I was about halfway down. Now I can do it without much difficulty.


The only lingering pain from the surgery is that the incision is a bit sore; not surprising, given that I can still feel the internal stitches underneath it.


But lest you think I’m riding off into the sunset, I am having a few challenges. I think my body is wondering what the heck happened. I’ve been moving through this world in certain compensating patterns for thirty years, and old habits die hard. One thing I’ve noticed since surgery is that my gait is different. I used to walk on the extreme outside of my right foot (supination.) Now I strike the ground more on the middle/inner side of my foot, and my knee is not sure what to do with my new gait and my newly fixated SI joint.


One other liability of being only two weeks post op is that I’m not able to do much in terms of stretching or exercising. I’ve been practicing Hatha yoga for five years, and I definitely feel the tightness from not being able to do it. Since I have fibromyalgia, exercise is one of my best friends. It helps a lot with pain and sleep. Before surgery I was swimming laps, about three miles a week. But I can’t get in the pool until a month has passed. Tomorrow I’m supposed to up my walking to 15 minutes at a time, 4 times a day, which is fine but because of the knee problem I’m a little leery of it.


I actually went back to my long-term chiropractor this past Monday. My neck and shoulders felt a bit jacked up after the surgery and the hellish travel day, so I went in to let him adjust my upper body. It didn’t hurt me at all but it hasn’t helped much either, which probably isn’t surprising given that my whole body is in the middle of a seismic shift. I think I’ll leave it alone for awhile.


I am looking forward to going back to physical therapy. And I may go back to Feldenkrais. One day at a time.


For now, I’m pretty happy with the results. The pain I have isn’t as intense as the pain I was having before surgery. And even though I have some work to do, so far it feels like a win.


P.S. I’ve been off pain meds since day 11. I am keeping them close by in case I need them again, because I’ve heard several stories of people having setbacks. But I’m hoping to beat the odds on that.


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