Monday, August 25, 2014

Twelve Weeks and Counting

Well, I see that it's been about two months since my last post. Lots has happened.

New Knee (aka NewMe) has been busy healing. I'll be celebrating the twelve week mark this Thursday and all I can say is that I've come a long way...and still have a ways to go.

I continue to exercise every day, though a number of the original exercises have been left by the wayside while I've added a few new ones to the mix. I'm now doing two yoga poses, not every day, but quite frequently...just because I now CAN.  They are Warrior I and Warrior II. Let's just say that before surgery, when I bent my affected knee, the crunching sound was not very pleasant. Nor was my knee stable. Now, it's stable as a rock and there's no accompanying soundtrack. When my operated leg is out straight, the hamstring is still a bit stiff, but I continue to work on that. Here are photos of the two poses. First, Warrior I:

and Warrior II:

I'm sure that anyone who's ever had challenges of any kind can appreciate how exciting it is for me to do these poses.

Another exciting activity I practice every day is biking on my stationary bike. Well, exciting isn't totally the right word. Sweaty is more like it. I usually do about 25 minutes and bike 7-8 km. The "before" picture was 1 minute, followed by several days of extra pain. Needless to say, I'd stopped biking. A little aside: I was working out of town last week (more on that below) and went to the hotel gym to use a stationary bike. Unfortunately, all they had were spinning bikes. I didn't realize that these bikes are different from regular stationary bikes. To use one properly, you have to bend over and take a racing position, which is absolutely terrible for me, due to my back issues. So I only did 10 minutes a day, with my arms just hanging down. It was tough.

And finally, I'm back walking. On days when I'm not working, I usually do over 10K steps. Yeah!

Last week, I did my first days of work. It was good to be back in the saddle, but a bit difficult. I can't do a full day of work without making sure I get at least some exercise in. Otherwise, I feel quite stiff.

Now, on to the not quite perfect things. My knee still usually feels like I'm wearing a fairly tight Tensor band around it. It "feels" stiff, although the range of movement is good. Sometimes, it actually hurts and I'm still taking an Advil or two a day. Part of my knee (on the outside) is numb. This may lessen, but it will take time. Although I can walk a lot, I'm still not able to do all the walking I did pre-op. I'm quite sure, however, that by the time I leave for Paris in May, I'll be more than able to walk as much as I want.

My gait--in other words, the way I walk--has improved, but that means my body has to adjust. I therefore am feeling a bit of sciatica as my back gets used to this new way of carrying myself. I see my osteopath once a week and am getting some acupuncture treatments too.

Full recovery takes a year. I've only just begun, as the song says.

What about my weight, you might ask. In my last post, I commented on some surprising weight loss. I usually associate any "easy" weight loss with a malfunctioning thyroid and as I watched my weight drop, I was becoming more and more concerned that my thyroid was to blame. The good news is that my thyroid is fine!!! The weight loss has slowed to almost nothing. I'm really not sure if there's going to be anymore. I am eating slightly less now (I think) and exercising slightly more, though all that biking probably doesn't amount to much more than 120 calories burned. I've lost about 5% of my "starting" weight, which is a trivial amount, but on someone of my VERY petite size, it really makes a difference. Last week, I tried on a dress that was very vavoom...even with a great honking scar on my knee. I didn't buy it, just because I really don't have anywhere to wear it, but it was a fun experience. By that silly measure, the BMI, I'm still fat, but boy am I getting in shape. That's what's important.

My sweet tooth has indeed returned. I manage it exactly as I have in the past: two squares of dark chocolate after supper and the odd small cup of gelato from time to time. We have a terrific gelato place a block from our house:

So, there you have it. NewMe's New Knee update.