On Thursday I went back to breastfeeding clinic (Vikki came to hold my hand and I made us late because I was having a flap. Thank you for being so patient!). I managed the whole session - it was manic frankly, and I came straight home and went to bed. Which was just as well because Vicky (yet again, thank you!) collected me that evening and we trotted down the road to Elle's house. What started as a bit of innocent jelly fish crochet poncho making (they are at a festival this weekend with an under the sea theme and Elle whipped up some costumes.. They look great and will be amazing once she strings them with solar fairy lights!), quickly became a wine and sausage roll party.
Immediately on arrival at the hospital I had more X-rays done - they look exactly the same as the first set I had done as I left hospital. Lets have another look at the cringing photo.
The photo on the left is upside down, but shows a face on view, so the cross strap is actually at the bottom of my spine and makes sure all the screws load bear rather than just one or two. The photo on the right is indeed looking at my spine through my left side. So you can see that I have no flexibility through that part of my spine.
Seeing the consultant was great. He was delighted with my progress and how the bone grafts are healing. He has encouraged me to get back to sports, taking care to go as slowly as I need and to make sure that I lie down and put my spine into neutral if it gets too much. Ultimately, the more active I am, the easier it will get. Music to my ears!
Seeing the Physio immediately afterwards was good - she had me on the stepper and doing all sorts of core strengthening exercises.
So immediately Lucy and I went back to the gym last night, and had a swim. I was hugely nervous. Sunday mornings in the gym are quiet, there are no full time staff around and it is easy to be anonymous. Friday night is not like that. Our gym is small and everyone knows everyone - particularly when you spend as much time there as Lucy and I do (did!) (do!). I don't know why I am so reticent to talk about Spinal Fusion in real life, but I am. Lucy thinks I am silly, and she is probably right. She usually is. I can prattle on til the cows come home on here, my blog, but I find it hard in person. The long and short of it, I suppose, is that I am embarrassed. Who the hell has their spine fused? The whole thing seems so melodramatic.
Anyway. Everyone was suitably interested in my absence, then in my stick and then in 'Spinal Fusion? No way!'. Yes way. Way embarrassing.
I did 15 mins on the elliptical trainer, 15 mins on the bike, 5 mins on the treadmill with a grade 2 incline and then we hit the pool. Ok. What I mean is, limped to the pool. The lifeguards had kindly put the disabled steps out for me and in I got. Lucy, you made the whole experience so much easier for me, you were so confident that it was so normal. Exactly what I needed thank you.
Getting in the pool was weird, almost as if the buoyancy exaggerated everything. Everyone has a spine, and yes you can touch it and feel it, but generally speaking you can't 'feel' your spine. Even beforehand, at the height of my pain, I couldn't 'feel' my spine, just pain in the 'catch' around it. Last night I could feel my spine. There was no pain, the whole thing was pain free, but I was aware of 'scaffolding' holding my spine.. It's hard to describe. I suppose if I describe it by saying that when you wear a glove, your hand can feel the glove and there is no pain, but it isn't like gripping with a normal grasp.. does that make sense?
I know that this weird scaffolding sensation is actually how it feels to be me now, and I know it will become normal, but last night it was weird and together with extra weird rippling water on my weird burning sensation skin, we got out after 6 s l o w lengths.
But I did it. I went to the gym and I went swimming. Then I immediately went to bed and was grateful to sleep like a log and wake up with that 'Yay, its the day after the day after the night before, and I'm not hungover!' feeling.
So there we go. 6 weeks post spinal fusion on Monday and I went to the gym and swam last night. I always joked that I'd be 'Back on it' by 6 weeks. One of those scary, cocky, please be ok jokes. Well this time the joke is not on me. I'm Back on it, baby!
So its Saturday now. It's Beltane weekend, on of our festivals of celebration (Totally missed Ostara whilst I was in hospital!). For the last 10 years we have ALWAYS camped at Beltane (see last year at the bottom of this post here - ironically I also talk about physio for my back! Some things don't appear to change!) and it is weird that this year we aren't camping. In fact everything is pretty normal today. Normal is GOOD! The Bigs have gone to their respective Saturday morning clubs with Paul and Niamh and here I am, blogging.
Bebe is 5 a week on Monday, and as she has shown an interest in a dance class, my parents got her a uniform for her birthday - which she has had early today. She was DELIGHTED!
Happy bank holiday weekend,
Thanks for reading x x