Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Recovering

I'm home and recovering from my back surgery. My surgery on Monday went very well. The surgeon was able to remove a larger than expected L4 disc fragment, which had already calcified, without having to cut through the vertebra. So I still have all of my vertebral bone intact. Usually the surgeon needs to cut a small window in the vertebra in order to reach the disc fragment, but my disc fragment had extruded so far laterally, he was able to get at it without having to cut through the bone. I think that's a good thing.

I woke up in the recovery room relieved. I was able to wiggle all my toes. Paralysis, though only a 1% risk, was possible. I was in pain, but the pain was almost all in my back rather than in my left leg, so that was a good thing, too. As I sit here right now, my left leg is pain free and the numbness and tingling I had prior to surgery is almost gone. I'm thrilled.

My strength, too, is returning. My left quads and hip seem to be back to nearly full function. They are less weak than they were prior to surgery. I continue to have foot drop, but I knew the foot drop would likely take several weeks to resolve. I'm hopeful that's the case, and anxious to regain that strength. Foot drop is now the only thing between me and eventually running again.

I have a ton of movement and lifting restrictions for the next 12 weeks. That's going to be tough, but I'm going to do my best to be a good patient. I've already gained 3 pounds, and things that used to be muscular, like my tummy, have gotten soft. As a runner, that's really difficult to deal with. I guess I'll just have to quit looking in the mirror for a few months.

The only exercise I'm allowed right now is taking very short walks multiple times per day. Sounds easy, but so far, it hasn't been. I get really tired and really stiff after walking just half a block. Jet, too, is going a bit nuts. I feel really bad, as there's nothing I can do to relieve his boredom. I can't even take him on my short walks. If he pulled suddenly, I'd be screwed. I guess we're both going to be soft, heavy and stir crazy by the time I heal.

It's going to be a long road, but at least I'm on my way to healing now. I'm moving in the right direction, and there is an end in sight. That's way better than what was happening over the past 4 weeks. I'm grateful for that, and I'm looking forward to eventually getting back to my life. Despite everything, my life is good. And I'm hopeful it will only get better from here.

3 comments:

Julie Gathman said...

So glad to hear this report. It seems like the surgery may have helped. What a relief!

I can imagine how it feels to experience your body going soft and you can't do anything about it. (I like to stay fit, too, and I actually enjoy a hard work out, just like you enjoy your runs.)

You are always good at following instructions for recovery, so I know you will do every single thing you can do to recover, and not do the things you know you shouldn't.

Jet is just gonna have to know you are doing the best you can.

paullamb said...

For the rest of my life, when I feel like my life is a hopeless mess, I'm going to think about you and KNOW that people can overcome just about anything! Thank you for this post. I take a lot of courage from your life.

Wendy Love said...

Wow Etta, this is good news! Thank you for sharing the good times as well as the bad times in your posts. You are always so good at reporting when problems turn around and recovery is happening. It is an encouragement to me who has been praying and will continue to pray. I am so glad you are already noticing good results from the surgery and the things you dreaded did not come about. Slow recovery will be another challenge but just read your past few posts to remind yourself how far you've come.
So glad for your good news.



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