This year hasn’t been great, I’ve had two surgeries on my back and spent the best part of 8 months lying down in pain or being shunted about in a wheelchair. I’ve got my legs back now and can walk again though I still have back pain and numbness in my legs. I need to focus on my recovery now, on my spinal rehab.
When I look back at where I was 18 months ago I was fit. I’d do around 4 hours of Zumba or other dance a week. I ran a bit and I’d walk for miles and miles. I used to love yoga and I was strong and flexible and most definitely fit.
Eight months of pain meds, biscuits and lying down have taken their toll and I’m as weak as a kitten. My legs shake, I have lost my core stability, I am weak and I hate it. Luckily I’ve got myself on a spinal rehab programme which is trying to make me strong again.
I’m only at the very start of my journey but I’ve got to walk a maximum of 2 miles a day. I’m allowed to return to Pilates as long as that’s done at my pace and I don’t push myself. I must learn to sit again and lie down less. I’ve got to complete my physio exercises daily. I must push myself but not too far. I’ve got to do some basic household chores but I’m not allowed to lift and bend which is tricky with a toddler. I’m not allowed to take him out in his pushchair yet as that’s too strenuous. I am weak.
You’d think that this would be frustrating for me, my inability to function normally, to rely on others to empty the washing machine so I can peg out the washing, but no. I’ve been broken for so long just doing that is an achievement and makes me feel like I’m a more useful member of the household.
I want to start swimming again. I used to be a competitive swimmer and I was super strong and I want to be like that again. My Zumba days are most likely behind me and I’ll probably never run again as any activity which involves impact could further damage my spine. Spinal rehab is a careful balance of pushing yourself but not too far.
I’m 36 and I’ve got to be careful. But I’m grateful not to be in horrendous pain anymore. I’m grateful that when my feet touch the floor more often than not I can feel the floor. I am grateful that I can start to be a proper wife and mother again. I’m incredibly grateful to the surgeons for giving me my life back.
Now I need to take my life and shape it into something that makes me happy and fulfilled and most importantly a lifestyle that suits my ruined spine. Existing can be exhausting and if I overdo it I can be in pain for days. I’m determined to get fit again and I want to be strong. I need to be strong.
So if you go for a walk with me, sorry if I can’t keep up. If you want me to join you in the park with my son, I can’t push him there I’m sorry. If you want me to go clubbing with you I can’t dance. But I’m not going to lie down and rot ever again, not if I can help it.
I’ve been told it’ll be 2-3 years before I’m recovered from the surgeries and that I may always have pain and numbness. I can live with that because I’ve got my life back. Now I just need my strength and fitness.