So I’m officially 3 weeks Post-op!!!! It’s weird, these past fews weeks have spent like such a blur and although I have been making strides in recovery, all the days seem to run into each other. So here is where I’m at…
I mentioned in my 1 Week Post-Op recap that I feel like I am able to do something new everyday and I’m glad to report that is still the case. I think I pushed my back a little to much during all the Christmas festivities, so I took a painkiller the day after Christmas, but other than that I’ve been medication free! I am able to comfortably sleep on my side, walk, sit down for short periods of time, and I even drove myself back up to Santa Barbara! I know there is still a lot of swelling at the surgery site which is causing different muscles/parts of my body to feel wonky or tight from time to time. As far as the sciatica pain that caused me to get surgery, it has most definitely decreased! I still feel some faint tingling down the back of my left leg and foot but it is MUCH more responsive than pre-surgery. I know it will take time for the damaged nerves to regenerate and for me to be completely pain free, so I’m working on that whole patience thing these days.
At 3 weeks Post-Op I am definitely walking at my Pre-Surgery Pace!! I don’t think I can walk for as long as I once did, but I’m not all too eager to test that out I’ve still been going on several walks every day, usually one longer (~1 hour) walk and then a shorter (~20-30 minutes) walk later in the day if I’m feeling good. In between those walks I’ve been taking it easy by watching loads of Mad Men or Grey’s Anatomy and doing little things around the house. I am still terrified to make ANY forward bending motion so I’ve been keeping my back as straight as a board. I started Physical Therapy yesterday and the plan is to take it really easy, just some stretches and small amounts of light ellipticalling to get my muscles moving which will prevent stiffness in the future. The upside to all this walking? Catching countless breathtaking sunsets. I <3 you, Socal.
Unless anyone really wants to see them, I am going to spare you all the incision pictures until the wound fully closes Soooo there was a little hiccup incision-wise. I had surgical strips over the incision to keep the wound together and they fell off around 10 days post-op as they should have. My stitches are the ones that will eventually dissolve, but when I saw the doctor 2 weeks post-op she took out some of the sutures that were sticking out just to make sure they didn’t snag on anything. Oddly the next afternoon I was lying on the couch when I noticed increased tenderness around the incision site. I took a look at it in the mirror and noticed a little bump, it almost looked like an extra large vertebrae sticking out of the left side of the back. I freaked out for a good minute, but then my rationale kicked in. I did not have a fever or the chills and there was was no oozing, bleeding, or redness around the site meaning there was not an infection. I called my doctor the next day just to err on side of caution and she said it could be a couple things, possibly a small hematoma or a suture that hasn’t dissolved, but not to be concerned. My PT checked it out today and said its looks like a stich that hasn’t dissolved, but to just keep a close eye on it.
The main restrictions for this type of surgery other than the obvious “don’t work out for 6 weeks” are lifting anything more than 8 pounds and sitting for more than 30-45 minutes. While in the comfort of my own home on Christmas Break, neither of these restrictions were too hard follow; slightly annoying that I couldn’t lift my bread machine (#foodieproblems), but manageble. Now that I’m back at school its definitely a bit more difficult, especially since I am a very independent person and HATE asking for help. I feel so weird asking for help out to my car at Trader Joe’s and asking my roommates/neighbors for help carrying my groceries. But I DO NOT want to compromise my back and have been swallowing my pride to comply with the restrictions.
These restrictions are going to prove to be difficult being a college student, but I’m registering as a temporarily disabled student which will ensure that I am allowed to stand-up during class/exams, sit in a comfy chair, and get all my textbooks electronically. Although I am taking some hard classes this quarter (Psychopharmacology, yay!) I am taking a lighter than usual load which will be nice because it takes me forever to do normal tasks like showering, getting ready, making food. Another time sucker? Walking to class. UCSB is a verrrrrry bike-friendly campus. There are probably more bikes than people here and EVERYONE bikes to class. Since biking is too much of a risk at this point I have to walk to and from class with my <8lb laptop which takes up a good chuck of time. Oh and I am definitely sore from all the walking I did yesterday.
So overall I’m going great! I’m planning to keep on chugging away at recovery and hopefully everything continues to go well!