It's hard for me to believe that tomorrow will be exactly 3 months since my lumbar fusion.
The time has flown, and there have been so many stages. Unlike my 2 previous back surgeries, my recovery has been going well. Don't get me wrong, I have good days and not so great ones, and I'm a long way from full recovery, but I'm feeling more than optimistic about what my future holds.
I'm currently in the rehabilitation phase. In fact, I have dedicated this summer specifically to spending the majority of my time working on rehab. I started physical therapy a few weeks ago, and while it is HARD work, there have been no surprises. I'm waking up muscles that haven't been worked in ages. There has definitely been an increase in pain, but I can easily distinguish between muscle soreness (good) and true back pain (not so good). I try my best to listen to my body and treat it with kindness.
In addition to working on a variety of core-strengthening exercises and stretching, I walk daily. This is probably one of the most important things I can do to help promote healing.
After my morning walk, I tend to snap a pic of myself for my Instagram account - I like the accountability it makes me feel, and it feels great to share my progress with others! It also feels great to look at my album and see tangible proof of my commitment.
I am not a hat person. Outside of a floppy sun hat, I own just one baseball cap. It's a Life Is Good hat I picked up ages ago before a vacation to Florida, and the front is simple: a flower and the word "grow".
One day last week as I was uploading this pic, it occurred to me how appropriate my one and only hat is.
I'm a silver linings person - I tend to need to find some good in any less than positive situation. In that moment, it hit me. This was my 3rd back surgery in less than 6 years. Life doesn't get much harder (at least in my own experience) than healing from major back surgery.
BUT. You can feel sorry for yourself and wallow in your pain, or commit yourself to doing everything in your power to gain your life back - to build a new and better one than before! I will not lie and say I don't have days where I feel down - I am human. However, overall, I choose the latter.
I have chosen to grow. I consider my current state ground zero. Only I can build the me I want to be, and this is my clean slate with which to do it. A blank page in the story of the new life I'm choosing for myself: commitment to daily exercise, losing weight, making drastic changes to my nutrition. Adding in more exercise as I am able. These things will not only make me feel better and more energetic, therefore making me a better mom and wife - they will make a better ME.
I know I will never be pain free, but if continually working on my growth can help keep it at a manageable level and allow me to live the life I feel I've been missing out on living, I will take it.
So? I think I'll stick to my one hat. Every time I put it on, it's a reminder that I'm a work in progress. There are many hills and valleys on the road to recovery, but we are NEVER too old to grow.