Monday, January 9, 2017

Step by Step - Baby Steps

Hello everyone!

Firstly I want to wish anyone who has stuck with me over this punctuated journey, or indeed new readers, a very happy, if belated, New Year!

It's hard to believe that I only got ONE post up during 2016, but while so much happened for me (I'll say more about that in a moment), there really was nothing that warranted a blog post.  Before I go into a bit of a recap of that last post, I want to promise you that things WILL be very different this year!

So, let's recap, starting with the reasons why this blog was started WAY back in March 2014...
In short, having been through a number of health issues, it was to chronicle my progress as I Battled Back to full fitness.  You can read the full version here.

Challenge announcement...
On April 4th, 2014 I announced that the Battling Back challenge would involve swimming the equivalent of a marathon.  You can read the full announcement here.

Bicep injury and eventual postponement...
Very early in my swim training I sustained what I initially thought was a strain of my left bicep.  But it didn't stop me, despite what others, including my unofficial coach, told me.  Eventually though, having come to terms with the fact that the injury was being made far worse with every stroke, I made the decision to postpone the challenge and attempt to rehab what I then believed to be a tear to the muscle.  You can read the full announcement here.

So what's happened since then (to early September 2016)?
The biggest thing of note is that more than 2 years after the postponement, I am yet to get back into the pool.  No, I didn't seek the suggested medical advice for a very long time, but I did try and immobilize the arm as much as possible.  While I'm right handed, complete immobilization proved to be impossible.  But I did and still do try.

I've had general health issues, including severe anemia (caused by a vitamin B-12 deficiency), which has resulted in significant fatigue.  While I've not been swimming, I tried other workouts, but many of those were painful, due to the arm injury.  Indeed every day tasks were up until the time of writing in September 2016.

To that end, knowing that as stubborn as I am, I could not go on without medical  attention, I mentioned it to my doctor.  After he poked, prodded and pulled his diagnosis came as somewhat of a surprise; severe tendonitis.  Immediately he referred me to orthopedics, who in turn, without seeing me, referred me through to physical therapy.  I await that initial appointment on September 12.

Physical Therapy
Well, I endured and I truly mean that, the initial assessment appointment, four sessions of invasive ultrasound treatment.  It's a similar procedure to a regular ultrasound done in pregnancy, only this time pulses of electricity are sent through the gel in an attempt to break up the scar tissue.  It warms the gel and literally pummels the bad tissue into submission.

Arriving for the first treatment, the therapist asked me to turn my chair away from her and after a puzzled look from me I asked why, and pointed to my elbow.  Cue similar look from her and a hasty look at my notes!  "Oh!  Sorry, I thought it was the shoulder tendon!"

Nope!  As someone said when I recounted the events, "It's a wonder you came out with your tonsils!"  I had to agree!

Immediately following that and subsequent sessions, I was in as much pain as I had been since the injury.  I tried to keep up with the prescribed exercise "homework" and rest, but a hectic schedule meant that I couldn't rest it as much as I'd liked, so for the first few weeks there was little if any improvement.  I know.  My bad!

Following the course of treatment, I returned for another assessment in late October.  Where, after discussing the potential further treatment plan with the Senior Physical Therapist it was agreed that he would conditionally discharge me for three weeks, so that I could, hopefully, get back into the pool to see how the bicep responded.  Yep, I'm still referring to it as a bicep injury, despite the updated diagnosis, because the affected tendon is the one that attaches the muscle to the elbow.

I fully intended to get back into the pool, but as any writer knows, November is a no-go for most things with the exception of NaNoWriMo!  So, I let the weeks go by and didn't contact the department again.

What now for 2017?
As I write this, it's mid afternoon on Monday, January 9th.  Despite not getting into the pool yet, I am determined that I will, as soon as my schedule allows.  It might be a while off, but it will happen.

Because of so many set backs, my overall health has gone backwards, possibly to the point where I was right at the start of the blog in 2014.  And as the title of this post suggests, it's baby steps for me for the foreseeable future.  But I am taking action!

This time last week we were enjoying the last day of our vacation, and admittedly the associated over indulgences!  Instead of getting straight back into my former workout schedule of Monday - Wednesday - Friday, I had planned to ease myself in gently and do Tuesday and Thursday instead.  Nope!  Last minute changes to the plan meant a reversion to plan A and a Wednesday workout!

As I said, it's baby steps for me right now, so I'm starting off with Leslie Sansone's 1 Mile Happy Walk...

Unsurprisingly, after so little intense activity for way too long, my calves screamed at me on Thursday, and after being a lot worse on Friday, they did ease up after that repetition.  

And I'm really happy to report that there has been no adverse reaction from my bicep!!!  I did, admittedly take it easy in terms of the injury, but with each repetition I'll slowly increase that, while listening to my entire body.  

It's still far too early for me to think about a charity challenge.  I've got to Battle Back first to a point where that's possible, but when I get there, there will be a challenge announced!  

I'm at the point where no pain equals no gain, but I'm determined to do things properly this time.  As determined as I am, I also hope that you'll join me on my journey, as I blog weekly.  Your support really does mean the world to me.  

Thank you!

The post Step by Step - Baby Steps first appeared on the Battling Back blog