I got back in the pool for the first time today! I only swam 500 meters and I did it oh so carefully and slowly. But I did it. Not gonna lie: I was nervous. It definitely felt different than before, more stable, but I didn’t want to kick full out. It just didn’t seem like time yet. My knee is still a tiny bit irritable and clickety, but not as much as it used to be. I can’t help but think that my musculature needs a hard reset; my right quad is still super tight above the knee, my hamstrings are still tense, and I still have some minor neck and shoulder issues. But my SI area? It’s good. There’s still some soreness there but I wouldn’t describe what I feel as pain; it’s more tightness, as in, the muscles are prone to protect. In fact, I catch myself all the time moving in old patterns, protecting my right SI joint. And then when I realize I don’t have to do that anymore, I move in a wider range of motion and — eureka! — it doesn’t hurt! But then the next time I go to stretch or bend, I start protecting the area again without thinking about it. I have a lot to unlearn.
Here’s what I know: I need to strengthen my core. Well, duh. Every doctor and physical therapist I’ve ever seen has preached the strong ab and back gospel to me. I don’t disagree! But most core-strengthening exercises were too painful when I had an SI joint that was way too mobile. Call it a cop out if you want. But once I get healed up from this surgery, I am going to work really hard to try and finally strengthen my core. I think surgery has made that a very real and attainable goal. I am really looking forward to physical therapy, which I’ll start at the end of this month.
I’ve been saying from the beginning that I didn’t think this surgery would fix everything (see my post on comorbidities here if you want to learn more about dealing with multiple sources of pain.) And it hasn’t. I still have the Fibromyalgia achiness most of the time. I still have painful joints in my hands. SI fusions don’t solve everything. But I do think mine has solved a fundamental piece of me. Now, to build on that.
Other than taking my first dip in the pool I rode my bike again for about two miles the other day. Flat ground. Slowly. Another day I walked the dog for about 30 minutes. When I take longer walks, my IT band gets irritated, but it doesn’t last very long. One thing I haven’t resumed yet is yoga, and I think I’ll have to wait until after my post op appointment later this month. It’ll be interesting to wade back in to that, but I have a great studio with several wonderful teachers who know the meaning of rehab. I might do some private lessons to start.
I’ve taken a break from the Facebook groups for awhile. I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it wasn’t for Facebook, because I learned about my surgeon and his particular fixation method in a group for people with SIJD. It has been a Godsend. But there are so many strong opinions, so many (unqualified) people throwing around information, ideas about what is and isn’t good to do, what this or that means… I just had to turn the volume down while I focus on my own rehabilitation. As I said in my last post, sometimes you just need to listen more to yourself.
I think my next post will be a reflection on how I survived 30 years of chronic pain.