5 Weeks Post-Op: Finding an Identity

5 Weeks!  I wrote most of this at the 4 week mark, but never finished, and I'm glad I didn't, because A LOT has happened and changed over the past week.

I decided I'm going to start my post with the rough stuff and end with the good stuff.  I haven't really blogged too much about the surgery and recovery, and now that I've had some good highs and some pretty terrible lows, I feel like I have something worth typing out.  

To put it bluntly, surgery + recovery is fucking hard.  Sorry for the swear word, but I'll be real.  This isn't for the faint of heart, and I can see how people wouldn't recover well from surgery because they're so down on themselves, their body can't heal.  I went from the highest high, the most fit I've been, the strongest, the most confident, to sitting in bed feeling like Sloth from The Goonies.  The first week was easy, I suppose being drugged up on painkillers helps that.  I took pain killers for the first 5 days and then stopped, I really wasn't in to how they made me feel, but they made the time go by incredibly fast.  After the first week it felt like time halted, it didn't help that the 2nd week my pain increased and I freaked out that I re-tore the labrum and couldn't call my surgeon because he was out of town on vacation.  That was probably the longest week of my life, I  think I cried 6 days straight, but after the 14th day I knew things were going to get better, mentally and physically.  

Some days start fantastically and then as the day progressed I'd start to feel worthless since I couldn't do anything for myself.  When you can't physically do anything for yourself it's hard to keep going, it's hard to smile, it's hard to think there's an end.  When I finally was able to call my surgeon, you better believe I did!  It was nice to hear I was doing everything as I should, but it brought to my attention how much my life really revolves around riding.  The days go by insanely slow when you can't get out on your bike or do any form of exercise, and when you're life is literally exercise, it's hard.  Everything is THAT much harder, and it's that much more of a fight to keep healing and stay positive.  I live for my PT appointments, my acupuncture, and my rest!  

Now that it's officially been 5 weeks post-op (as of yesterday) I can do a little more!  So instead of focusing on everything I'm NOT allowed to do (because believe me, there's a lot), I'm going to focus on the progress I have made in the past 5 weeks.  Yes, there's a heck of a lot to work on and I have time on my side to get it done!  My incisions are healed so I've been in the pool 2x, swimming with a pull buoy (because..big surprise, I can't kick) and doing some range of motion exercises in the pool.  As of 3 weeks I could put 50% of my weight on my surgery side, as of 4 weeks I could learn to walk again!  I ditched 1 crutch on the 4 week mark (only in the house, 2 crutches when in public), and by the 4.5 week mark I ditched the single crutch and was walking (but took a single crutch with me when leaving the house).  The first day I could walk with 1 crutch my hip was pretty achy, and each day it's gotten stronger and stronger and less and less achy.  Now that I'm officially walking, I'm still taking it relatively easy when it comes to standing and walking, as too much of it brings on the aches, and my leg is pretty weak from lack of doing anything for nearly 4 weeks.  When walking I'm extremely careful, and each step is mindful of my gait, where my feet are, and what my hips are doing.  Small spaces are hard, working in the kitchen can be challenging, because I dare you to NOT pivot when reaching around for things!  Pivoting can be the worst thing to do for your hip while it's healing, so I'm trying to be very mindful of what I'm doing, I'm really good at swiveling on my left leg!  It's important I continue to listen to my body, as even though I don't look injured on the outside, I am still very injured on the inside.

Now that 5 weeks have gone by horribly slow, I'm able to add in some active range of motion exercises, light strength work, and some stretches!  YES!  I can move my own leg, except for flexion.  I can't actively flex my hip for 3 months.  The 4 week mark also meant I can start adding more time on my bike (up to 40 minutes now) plus slowly adding more resistance (more gears to push...YES), but we should note I'm only allowed on the trainer and I can only ride an hour for the next 3 weeks, and my heart rate is SOO high (NOT, if it gets above 100 that's pretty monumental).  The pain has minimized, I still have sharp pain with some movements, and my range of motion needs to be worked on, but I suspect that will decrease with time, as even in the past week it's gotten significantly better.  There's scar tissue around my incisions that needs to be worked out, but each day with a little work it gets better and better.  All the muscles around the joint are insanely tight, so I'm doing daily soft tissue work on them when I'm on the couch.  As of the 5 week mark I took my first drive since pre-surgery.  It was a little nerve racking, but my mind and body knew what to do, so it wasn't too bad.  

I haven't done much in regards to leaving my house for any social activities and I'm not currently working.  I'm pretty focused on PT and healing, and don't want to do anything that will prolong my recovery, it's just not worth it in the long run, so to say I've been taking it conservatively, slow, and easy, would be putting it lightly!  I'm saving my first big outing for next Thursday, which will be the 6 week mark AND my 32nd birthday.   Go big or go home friends!  I see my surgeon in 3 weeks and hopefully by that time I'll be cleared to ride outside on the road.  For now, I'll keep plugging away at my daily PT, riding my bike inside, and hanging out on the couch.