It is demoralizing to learn that your body doesn’t heal as quickly as it once did. Within a week of gallbladder surgery (full cut) in 1988, I was home celebrating Christmas and eating pizza and drinking beer. I had blocked off six weeks to recover from partial colon resection (colectomy) for cancer in 2002, but felt well enough after three weeks to attend a post-graduate neurology class.Startlingly, the hip replacement of nearly three years ago and my partial knee replacement of four months ago have taught me not to rush back into normal activity. Occasional respiratory infections and mouth sores have conditioned me to use rest as the best healer.
When I escaped to Chicago six weeks post knee surgery, a walk of less than 1000 steps left me stiff and cramped. This frustration led me to a great physical therapist who helped to correct too many compensations I had adopted unconsciously to deal with the disability. Following her encouragement and exercise recommendations, I was thrilled to walk over 6000 steps at my Big Bro’s cabin in the pines a few days ago, which led to a hike yesterday to admire the changing leaves on the mountain of over 7000 steps. Add walking around town for a total over 12,000 with no negative effect.
Since returning home from Chicago, I have added a stationary bike stand to my patio, as recommended by both the surgeon and PT. I will never jog nor do lunges again, and I am still struggling with stairs and low toilets due to pain, but the strength is returning allowing greater freedom. And a lighter attitude.