What a month it has been. Wow. 4 weeks ago I was unconscious in a hospital having people mess around with my spine. Today I’m sitting, virtually pain-free, on my couch typing a blog about it. A few days after my surgery, I wrote a little rant about the experience – what lead to it and why I went through with the operation. If you never read that, you can catch up here.
This is a follow-up to that, because I want to document my recovery and the one-month mark seems like an optimal time to do so. Again, this is just a one-take wildfire of thoughts being spewed out. I probably won’t even proof read it. We’ll call it the Rant About Surgery 2.0.
Why document the process? Good question. To be honest, I don’t expect many to read these or care that much. I’m mainly documenting this for me. Living in the pain I felt, for the amount of time I felt it can be mentally taxing, not just physical. Sometimes it’s good to get thoughts out there just to go back and read later on in life and remember, “Hey I can get through this!”
It’s almost like a pep-talk I will need to give myself in the future. But it’s not all about me…
My mission in life is to help others. I’m sure there is someone out there who can benefit from reading about the surgical process, so I don’t want to NOT share my experiences. Not only that, but when someone asks me about in 7 years and I’ve completely forgot everything about the process, I can refer back to this.
Yes, I will forget. Yes, it will still be online. Nothing goes away on the internet, no matter what SnapChat tells you 😊
So here we are… one month post-surgery. Here’s a quick recap of random thoughts I’ve made note of since my procedure.
Week 1 is awful. But it’s not as bad as you’d think. Days 1-3 aren’t real days. These days do not count. I will somehow need to get a 3-day credit from the big man upstairs because I was not actually alive September 1-3, so he owes me.
You are a crippled zombie the first 3 days. I popped more Vicodin in those three days than Brett Favre did in his entire NFL career. Man, that is not a good joke but I’m going to leave it in here anyway.
I moved around as much as I could, but it’s pretty much: lay in bed, drink water, eat what you can and sleep. After those first rough days, I was back on my feet and feeling decent.
I walked Penny every day, sometimes 5 times a day. It just depended on how I felt. By the one week mark, I was not only completely sick of staying home all day but I was feeling really solid.
I was supposed to be off work for 2 weeks, but that did not happen. I felt good enough – from a pain standpoint – to go back to work. I stopped taking pain killers after like 4 days because that stuff is terrible for you and it makes you feel brain-dead. Doc said I could drive when I when I was off the meds… so I went back to work.
Mobility wise, I should not have gone back, but my clients are great and allowed me to sit and train them. From an overall recovery standpoint, this was great for me to get out of the house and get back to real life.
I coached 2 basketball games on my first day back. Anyone with no context of my situation probably thinks I am the laziest coach ever, but my kids know about the surgery and they are oddly obsessed with my recovery.
Overall, week 2 was ALL positive. No set-backs. I “did too much” a few days but I have been really good at taking it slow or backing off when I feel the need to rest. When I said I went back to work, I meant just on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Again, taking it slow.
This week, I really hit my stride mentally and physically. I got multiple comments about how much better “I look.” This basically just means I looked like shit for 2 weeks. Thanks for telling me, guys. Love you all too….
So now that I “look better,” I was also told I was moving around better too. This was partially due to the removal of my stitches and the dissolving of the gorilla glue that was holding my incision together. It felt like I was free of “hardware” so I could move around a bit more freely. I really do walk differently now. I can feel and see a difference in my stride, which is pretty wild.
I still can’t bend/twist/extend/etc. but walking is easier and I got cleared for light cardio. I still have not done any cardio as of the writing of this article. I don’t do cardio, bro. Get real.
One thing that I’ve noticed up to the three week point and beyond is how weak I am. My legs are fatigued. My feet are as well. It’s probably from a few things:
Compensating to work around back pain for YEARS
Lying in bed for a week straight
Not exercising for 1+ month for the first time ever
I’m sure the fact that my back got sliced open is also another factor there. Who knows. But I am WEAK. A 4-hour training day feels like I climbed Mt. Everest. An 8-hour work day feels like I ran 2 marathons back-to-back without drinking water.
That’s all okay. Because, right now, the incision pain has subsided to a point of nonexistence and my pre-surgery pain/symptoms are completely gone. And that brings us to week 4.
One month later…. I feel pretty awesome. Like I said, procedure pain is minimal to nonexistent, all symptoms are gone and things are going positive. I got cleared to started rehab on Monday. I also got cleared to hold up to 20 pounds, which means I can carry one of my kids. Julian is still too heavy, from a medical risk point of view. Mason is good to go.
Of course, Mason hasn’t slept through the night since I got home from the hospital. That’s been worse than anything surgery related. Catherine has been a trooper through it, but it’ll be great to finally be able to help her out when he’s up every hour of the night.
I still can’t bend down or twist for another 2 weeks, but overall, I am happy with the process and results so far.
Sometimes I wake up and it doesn’t feel real because I’m not in pain. It’s weird. I can’t remember the last time I woke up comfortably. Actually, I can’t remember the last time I did anything with the level of comfort that I have now. It’s been an amazing turnaround and I hope that I keep this momentum going and become a success story from the surgery.
A lot can still go right and a lot can still go wrong – but so far everything has been moving in a positive direction and that’s all I can ask for!
Boom! There you have it. A collection of thoughts and iPhone notes that I’ve been saving up for four weeks. If you’re in pain, aren’t happy with your fitness level or just want some general health advice… PUHHH-LEEEEAAASEEE use me as a resource. Reach out and ask me anything. I want to help in any way I can.
http://justinochoa.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/rant.jpg165646justinhttp://justinochoa.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/siteicon-300x138.pngjustin2017-09-29 14:39:272017-09-29 14:55:57A Rant About Surgery 2.0