I am now, today, officially six weeks post-op and feeling GREAT! Since my last post, I have hit the gym almost every day… religiously! I have lost about 15 pounds, and have now been narcotic pain med free for more than 3 weeks. I have even stopped taking all muscle relaxers (Flexeril and Tizanadine) and am down to one Cymbalta per day (AM) and Meloxicam (NSAID) only when I need it.
I visited my Orthopedic Surgeon (Dr. Levin) on Friday and he was elated with my progress. I think he may have been worried about me and the Percocet for a while. His eyes grew large (surprised and happy) when I told him how long it had been since I had any. He was impressed with all of the self directed physical therapy I have been doing at the gym (he even said that it was OK if I jog or run a bit, but not too much) and asked me if I wanted to start something formal. I said yes right away. I want to be sure that I am doing the best things for my self and I’m all about anything that will increase my chances for a FULL recovery! The PT office is (co-located) adjacent to his office. They share the same waiting room in fact. I think it’s great and I am hopeful for excellent results because I am sure that they are used to dealing with folks after surgeries such as mine. I go for my initial evaluation on Thursday.
After Dr. Levin did a physical evaluation of my strength and feeling (or lack there of), he told me that he is a little worried about the progress of my L5 nerve. The strength of my big toe and numbness in my toes, shin, and heel are not progressing as quickly as he would like to see, if at all. At this point he said that it might come back fully in two months or two years or it may not come back at all. It’s not the best news but I can live with it I guess, all things considered. Of course I am hoping that it WILL come back fully and I intend to do whatever I can do to make it happen. If it doesn’t, at least I know I tried everything.
This morning I visited my pain management Doc at The Spine Center. She was thoroughly impressed with my progress as well. Strangely, she recommended that I watch the weather often and only take Meloxicam when there will be a drastic change in the weather (like tonight because we are supposed to get lots of rain, which has just started). She also said that I can start taking Cymbalta every other day in about two weeks, do that for a month and eventually stop. I asked her about acupuncture and thought that maybe it could help wake up that L5 nerve (like I said, I am willing to try anything and everything!). Thankfully, she informed me that I should wait a week or two. I should be off the narcotic pain meds for a full month or a bit more for the acupuncture to be completely effective. Something about the receptors in the brain not being ready sooner, due to the narcotics. Good thing, I was going to start sooner. I guess I will wait until a week or so of PT goes by.
I told her about my lingering L5 symptoms and what I have been doing at the gym and she immediately told me that I should go and get some Vibram Five Fingers. She explained how they could aid in strengthening the weak muscles in my foot and leg which were affected by the nerve damage. As my friend Will put it “Propioceptive input to increase central nervous system processes that will facilitate greater motor output. Or….simply stated “Stepping it up to work it out” :-)” So I listened and here’s what I got!
I’ll say it again… I’m all about anything that’s going to increase my chances of having a FULL RECOVERY! I also have to say that I went to the gym today with them on and… I dig ‘em! They are pretty comfortable (once you get them on, which can be difficult and time consuming with NUMB TOES!) and I can already feel the difference. In other words, I know my feet and leg muscles are going to be sore soon from doing 30 minutes of intervals on the elliptical (1/2 the time with no hands), about 12 minutes on the treadmill walking and running (landing on my forefoot as she recommended) and lifting chest and biceps. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how they continue to work for me.
As Always… Thanks for reading and I’ll see you again soon, Hopefully soon enough on the MAT!
Until then… Keep rollin’ without me.
Love and Peace!