June progress report

Woah, it's June!  How'd that happen?

What's Going On?

At the risk of jinxing myself, I've had Holy Crap Improvement since May.  I wouldn't go so far as to say "night and day" but I can definitely go with "night and late afternoon".  

The pain is definitely muscular at this point, with very occasional nerve flare-ups.  I have one spot on the outside of my left calf that almost always feels cold/wet, which is more odd than worrisome, but other than that the nerve symptoms are now few and far between.

We went on a 10-day vacation to the East Coast and I had almost no symptoms at all.  No heat packs, no physical therapy, nothing.  I did use my tennis ball quite a bit (more on that later) but even with the plane ride and car rides and walking, my back did awesome. WOO!

What I Can Do:

Still working full-time.  Sitting at my desk is still the single worst thing for my pain levels, which is a bit of a bummer since, y'know, that's what I do all day.  Forcing myself to take "micro breaks" helps, as does the most recent conference room chair that I stole, er, borrowed.

No real change on the sitting and standing thresholds from last month — still holding at about an hour for standing (provided I can sit occasionally and fidget) and about 90 minutes for sitting.

I had a HUGE breakthrough in walking this month.  Huge!  While visiting Dan and Colleen in New Jersey, we took a day trip into New York City.

Look, here's us at Times Square:


Now here's us in Central Park:


Now here's us in the Upper West Side:


That was all walking! That's like 5 miles at least.   Five miles!  My shins didn't speak to me for a day afterwards, but my back was mostly just fine with the exercise.

I'm also back to doing public skates once in a while.  Only ~10 minutes at a time, but I'll take what I can get!  My cardio system is totally trashed, which is a little discouraging, but to be expected after taking 10 months off.



No real motorcycle news — I've sat on the XT a couple of times, but it's almost TOO upright; I have some bad lordosis going on and the XT posture exacerbates it.     

Sleeping/lying down continue to be no trouble at all.

What I Can't Do:

I'm still trying not to carry much.  I can do small things for short distances, but I'm really not pushing myself with this.

No hockey, though I am doing small amount of public skates.

No Beemer at all.  I can sit on the XT but haven't tried moving it or riding it.

No weight lifting. I'm starting to incorporate light cardio; elliptical only.  No treadmill!

What I've Stopped Doing:

I've weaned off the Thermacare back wraps and only use them when I'm having a lot of spasms.

I've stopped doing physical therapy for the time being.  Between my vacation and my physical therapist's vacation, I haven't been in for 3 weeks and I'm actually doing quite well.  I'm giving my wallet a break and will start up again if I need to.

I still use my Relax the Back "zero gravity" recliner but I can sit on other chairs and couches now, too.  

What I'm Doing About It:

Still doing my daily home PT, which is now seven stretches and two exercises.  Twice a week I add two Swiss ball exercises.  I try to do PT at the Apple gym a couple of times per week so that I can also warm up on the elliptical (5 minutes at 0 resistance) and use the Swiss ball there. 

I need to get my cardio back in shape, so I'm starting the Couch to 5K program on the elliptical machine at the gym.  Instead of "walking/running", I'm doing "walking/walking slightly faster", but my lungs are so shot right now that anything will be an improvement.

I try to get weekly massages with a physical therapist, which helps a lot with the muscular pain.

I went to the Stanford Spinal Jedi last week and was very encouraged.  He struck a good balance between taking my complaints seriously but also emphasizing that my injury isn't *that* bad in the grand scheme of things and it will get better.  So, yay.

I have a follow up next week with my regular back doc.

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