This week has been full of challenges, reality checks and frustrations. But that’s two weeks down on this road to fitness, two weeks closer than I was prior to surgery.
I mentioned in the last blog that I had been experiencing some calf pain and a cough, after getting sick of me complaining (only joking) Becky insisted we find out if this was something to be concerned about. I called the ward and was told to go to A&E just to be on the safe side. So despite my arguments off we went to A&E. Not exactly feeling at my best it took all my strength not to unleash hell on the doctor who examined me. I was left feeling like I was wasting his time (because spending 4 hours in A&E on a Saturday is one of my favourite pastimes), tutting at the speed I took to move and get on the bed and asking me what I thought was wrong, if I knew that I’d have saved us both the time! Following his examination I was told he thought I was ok but wanted to do some tests in case I had a blood clot on my lungs which is potentially dangerous. The tests an X-ray, being asked if I was pregnant was an obvious irritation here, and blood tests came back potentially positive. I say potentially positive because they aren’t always accurate after surgery apparently. I was given a blood thinning injection in my stomach (ouch!) and told to come back on Sunday for another then more tests on Monday. Monday was a long day of tests and waiting for results, thankfully because the results take so long to come back I was allowed to go home and try to get comfortable – hospital chairs for hours on end are not comfortable at this stage. Thankfully the call came to say results were in and everything was fine for now and just stay aware of the symptoms and go back if anything changed. We’ll never know if it was a clot and the drugs did their job or if the symptoms were just down to the surgery and/or cough. Either way I’m grateful that Becky made me ask the question and that in the end everything worked out.
This whole experience gave me more food for thought and prompted yet more frustrations. You see the only advise I’ve been given is to take it easy, yet taking it easy leaves you open to the risks of these complications. I was given no exercises or advise to prevent these complications and aid recovery, this may be because I was placed on the breast ward rather than the gynae ward post-surgery. Instead I have had to research and find advise given by other NHS trusts on recommendations for recovery. Everything I’ve read suggests the benefits of walking, which I have been doing since day 1, most documents suggest that at this point the majority of women are walking for up to 10 minutes, I’m now at around 20-25 minutes max, is this too much or am I ok if I get no after effects? I now have a series of 5 exercises, (ankle rotations, knee extensions, pelvic floor exercises, pelvic tilts and knee drops which I do 5-10 reps of 2-3 times a day and stop with any sign of discomfort or pain. This seems to be the consensus amongst the documents and with no post-op follow up scheduled I guess it’s the best I’ve got right now.
Patience and discipline really is being challenged at the moment. Mentally I’m raring to go, physically I feel like I can do so much more than what I am doing which is leaving me with a constant battle between my heart and head. My heart wants to get moving, start regaining some level of fitness whilst my head knows that my body will take time to heal. The external incision is virtually healed but I know that the soft tissue internally takes much longer to regain it’s strength and recover. I’m increasingly fighting between the need to rest (and nap) with my inherent dislike for laziness, Ok I know its recovery and not being lazy but still!! I keep trying to tell myself that being disciplined now will allow me to do the fun stuff sooner, not that that helps when the little chimp in my head that wants it’s fitness now!