I started physical therapy last week. And even my beloved, favorite therapist was impressed, though perhaps that's not the right word (stunned, maybe), with how things have not recovered. I can't even suck in my stomach. While daily pain has pretty much gone away (right around week 12 or 13), there is still such incredible weakness that is, in turn, knotting up my back, glutes, SI, and even hip muscles; they're in a constant state of stressed. Which is why, after exertion or just in the evenings, I don my brace--I quite literally can't hold myself up anymore. I was starting to think I was just being wimpy or that it was all in my head. But it's not.
She spent the whole time working her knuckle into my SI area and I was sure I'd be bruised. So tight. She says to put on my brace when I need it because otherwise I'll hurt something. No wonder neither my surgeon nor physiatrist want me to lift more than 10-15 lbs ever again (risk of incisional hernia) and delayed allowing me to start physical therapy. For now, I'm doing 2--that's 2--pelvic tilts and just a few attempts at tummy sucking (while breathing out--because I had been using my diaphragm to move my abdomen!) And I'm walking 7-15 minutes, as able, a few times a day.
Recently, someone said they couldn't believe how limited I still was. Ouch. Major surgery will do that. It's not called "major" for nothing. And I've been told by more than one doctor that I make a lot of scar tissue, have healing issues, and low muscle tone. It could take a year for me to get back to my old normal. Am I surprised? Sometimes. So no wonder someone else might be.
Still, I see it as progress. I only take pain pills occasionally and then only the Tylenol with codeine, which is on the low end of my pain pill scale. And I'm doing more than ever since the surgery--under optimal circumstances, this includes short driving, eating in restaurants, pushing a grocery cart, unloading the bottom rack of the dishwasher, doing laundry, playing piano for 15+ minutes, extended sitting (like a movie), walking around stores, hour-long car rides. Mama and the kids do or help me do everything else; after all this time, especially since they're older, we have a good system in place. It makes things easier during this next phase of post-surgery recovery. What's that cliche about a marathon not a spring? Not that a running metaphor really works for me, but still. . . . slow and steady . . . maybe next week I can do 4 pelvic tilts!