First Days of Rehab
My days have been full of activity! Whomever said recovering from surgery is down time is very wrong. It's very challenging of course and quite painful at times, but each day I am able to do a little bit more and allow myself to cry through the frustrating parts. At times, moving through the pain is scary but I think of it like racing; the payoff is the feeling you get when you continue to push forward when you want to stop! Onward I go...
My day really consists of three main routines, all of which will be quite typical of any solid FAI surgery rehab protocol, in my opinion. I like that my surgeons protocol is aggressive in range of motion, it makes me feel like my joint has time to heal properly before putting too much strain on the repair.
1.) Continuous passive motion machine for about 4-5 hours per day, I was actually able to fall asleep in this glorious machine the first few days as it feels great to get your leg moving intended to break up and scar tissue and adhesions. The machine takes your leg from 30 degrees to 70 degrees, as FAI patients are generally restricted from flexing up the hip for about 3 months.
2.) I am also filling my days with exercises intended to increase range of motion and allow nutrients into the surgical site, my husband and mom have been taking me through all of these which total about 30 minutes per day, twice a day! It's physically taxing on both of them since I have to let my leg completely relax, but again, I lie there thinking about the joint knitting itself back together and breathe through any pain or discomfort.
3.) Ice! I have an amazing compressive ice pack that wraps around my hip and leg and pumps cold water through it continuously, so as I type my hip is nice and cold. The swelling and bruising is very deep so the fact that I am able to keep this on for up to two hours is a wonderful treat. Gone are my days of frozen peas!
All in all my small victories are adding up, even with the challenges I have each day (took a painful and scary stumble on day 3-ouch!), I have to focus on the positive changes when I can. I am getting up and down the stairs on crutches (slow but sure), able to lower myself onto the bed with one leg (one leg squat everything), and the spin bike is my biggest accomplishment to date! I am now up to 23 minutes on the spin bike (was at 15 minutes 3 days post-op). My husband is the ultimate coach and draws more out of me every day, he bought me a spin bike for my rehab efforts and has coached me to push with my non-operative leg while the hurt one goes along for the ride.
Another victory is some exercises that started out excruciating are a little less painful. It can be challenging as an athlete to re-write what physical success looks like; but I reminding myself to take it one day at a time, being aware of all the important healing my hip is having to do. While it was arthroscopic, there's much anatomy that's trying to regain balance.
My Mom is cooking some wonderful healing meals with lots of greens, fruits, and Omegas. As far as nutrition, I am eating to heal my body not look at this like a hall pass to fill my body with whatever sounds good. Don't get me wrong I am still enjoying my squares of dark chocolate, however, no alcohol, minimal sugar, no dairy, and trying to stay as inflammatory free as I can. Not too far of a stray from how I normally eat, except much more diligent about protein for repair. My meals are ranging from berry, peanut butter and kale smoothies, to fresh raw salads. My mom and I are trying to emphasize variety to get as many types of veggies as we can.
At this point my goal is to practice true patience. Patience with myself and with my body. It's hard to go from running everyday, teaching Pilates, walking and hiking, to a very sedentary lifestyle. However, I know in my heart that doing surgery was my only true option. At least I am giving myself a fighting chance to do all the things I love again. Each day I will continue to focus on small victories and in all honesty...it can always be worse. I am thankful I still will still have a leg to be active on after it's all said and done.