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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4 Responses to June progress report

  1. Linda says:

    Yay! I’m very glad. 🙂
    Wow! New York! I’m dead envious. 😉
    I bet you know this already, but a simple kitchen timer set to XYZ minutes to remind you to stretch works wonders.

  2. Craig says:

    Keep you chin up. Thanks for the update. Sounds good. Backs are amazing weird things.

  3. Roger Willcut says:

    Just keep doing it – they tell me that physical therapy only works if you do it as directed.
    Follow thru on PT has never been my strong suit. Like they expect me to do it on my own. I mean, come on now – I would have never gotten in this bad of shape if I had that kind of personal dedication?
    Just spent a week motorcycling out of Lake Placid. I alternated days on the Low-Rider and the TU250. I am going to review your old XT postings and gear up my XT for more street/highway riding and very light trail type riding (no more Moab for me). As a first step, I just took the Turbo City windshield out of the box and will put it on.
    Here’s hoping you soon move from “..late afternoon” to early evening.

  4. Roger Willcut says:

    Regarding battery tenders – a recent Motorcycle Consumer News article about “what you know you know….etc..” spoke of his finding out that he had ended up actually hurting the battery on one of his bikes by using the battery tender…. you or Peter might want to check that out.

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