Friday, August 16, 2019

You Get a Version of This Post Every Summer

There's hot, and then there's August-in-Texas hot:
It would probably get burned.
Please note temperature and time.
Makeshift shade.
Ungrateful dog. 
Crappy parking job.

Yep, it's been a week of 100+ degree days.  Luckily I've only needed to go out for my PT and workouts, which are all in the afternoon, but I've been able to leave my sunroof open and my car isn't nearly as hot as it could be when I return to it.  That said, black seats should not be an option for vehicles in Texas.  Or, you shouldn't buy a car in December when you've forgotten about how hot it gets here.  Duchess, I love you - but I'd love you more if you had tan seats.

Have a great weekend - and stay cool!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

WWU - I've Got a Mark on My Permanent Record

Let's start with my workouts for a change.  Due to a mix up with time, I had my Thursday workout plus an extra workout (thanks, Jared!) on Monday.

The biggest and most important thing that I got out of Thursday's workout was how to do a hip hinge properly.  Amanda had introduced it to me a couple of days prior, and I just couldn't get it.  She was saying and demonstrating how to do it but I was lost.  And frustrated, as I vented to Jeff that evening - how can I get better if I can't do this?  OK I might have been a little dramatic but it feels like everything I am learning in PT is crucial for me.

Anyway, on Thursday Jared asked if I'd done hip hinges at PT, and when I explained my frustration about it, he brought over a small kettlebell and demonstrated how to do it while holding the kettlebell behind his back so it rested on his backside.  He was saying the same words that Amanda had said, but it clicked with me and I did it!  I asked him to video me doing it so I could practice at home but honestly I just watched it a couple of times with pride - I got it, I really got it!
From the video - I was only supposed to go down until I felt a pull in my legs; hopefully my range of motion will be better the more I do this.

On Monday I got there early and talked with Jori, who is one of the coaches for our group.  A couple of spinner bikes had shown up last week and Jori showed me how to ride it without bouncing around, which is a no-no for me.  I got on and tried it out, watching my form in the front and side mirrors plus I kept asking Jori if I was bouncing - can you tell that I was nervous?  I didn't hold onto the handles, just sat straight up and spinner bikes are smooth!  I ended up riding for seven minutes for my warmup. 

After that it was time for my workout with Jared.  He had me do a circuit, like we do with our groups, which was fun - there were three stations and I did a round of 8 reps at each, then 10, then 12.  I was very apprehensive about doing one - the skier.  This machine is mounted on the wall with handles on either side that you pull down.  Instead of standing and doing this like usual, Jared had me sit in a chair to do it.  He also had me do the movements slowly, and by the time I got to my last round I felt much more confident about doing it.  After I finished, I did another circuit on the other side of the gym, which was equally fun.  And I get to go back tomorrow for more of this, woohoo!

Oh - last week when I was stretching after I'd finished my workout, Jared and I were talking about things I should never do with my back being messed up.  Apparently no jumping, ever, is on my permanent record already at the gym - Brad said they put it there as soon as they heard about my herniated disc.  It made me laugh to know as an adult I can still worry about doing something that will land on my permanent record.

PT update:   Amanda did another reevaluation of my progress yesterday, and even with my current bout of pain which restricts some of my movement, I have made progress.  She added a new stretch - it's one of the Mckenzie stretches, for those of you who know that therapy - that I'm to do every two hours when I'm awake.  Yes, about every two hours I need to drop to the floor and do this stretch to fatigue, along with doing the rest of my least I only have to do those once a day.

Pain flare update:  It's getting better - not back to my usual standard but it's slowly easing up.  Interestingly both Jared and Amanda said the vacuuming was the culprit because I was probably unknowingly hunching over a bit, especially since I vacuumed for more than a couple of minutes.  So no more vacuuming for me, which is sad because I like it with our new floors and the cool cordless Dyson.  Geez, I finally get a vacuum that I don't have to mess with a cord, and I am not supposed to use it.  First running, now vacuuming.  I don't even want to find out what's next.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Geez Louise, Not Again

I wasn't sure what I would be writing about today but I didn't think it would be this, again.  But dang it, just when I think I'm doing better with my herniated disc, and that the pain I have on a daily basis is tolerable (albeit with Gabapentin), I have a day like Saturday that reminds me that I am not done with this yet, not by a long shot.

I did some things on Saturday that WERE NORMAL, sheesh, but by late afternoon I was hurting much more than I have been, and it kept getting worse.  And because I did some different things, I don't know what was the culprit, or if it was simply a case of overdoing it, which, come ON.

Possible culprits:

I sat on a metal chair at Blue Baker for a couple of hours.  But I've been doing this for a month now without extra pain, so I don't think this was it.

Then I vacuumed the tile floors for the first time in months (Jeff has been taking care of this since my injury).  Vacuuming is on the "don't do this" list, but we have a Dyson cordless stick vac, which is super lightweight.  I didn't even push it back and forth like I normally would; instead I held it close to my body and walk forward in straight lines.  OK a couple of times I bent forward to get it under some furniture, but I worked at doing it with the least possible movement.  I didn't even empty the dirt cylinder - I had Jeff do that because it does take effort to pop it open.

After lazing around for a few hours, Jeff and I went to the mall to see a pop-up art show put on by our local art league.  It's a small mall and we didn't have far to walk to get to the show, which was in an empty storefront.  The show wasn't huge and we made the circle a couple of times but didn't see anything that needed to come home with us.

Then we walked a little way past the art show and found a Van's store, which I had to go into because it reminded me of California.  After perusing everything and finding a cool t-shirt with the California bear on it but they only had mediums in women's sizes which are too small for me so sadly I left it there, I knew I'd had enough because I was starting to limp.  So we walked back to our car.

Since we were really close, we drove to Bahama Buck's to get sno-cones.  After several 100+ degree days with more to come, we thought that sounded good.  So did about one hundred other people but luckily we got in before most of the mob and Jeff was able to snag a table while I ordered.  Jeff took this picture of me because he said my teeth were turning green from my blue coconut sno-cone:
No green teeth tongue was blue, though.  But you can see the line of people snaking around the place.  Also I put a filter on this shot because mannnnn, was I looking rough.  Freckles and wrinkles and no makeup, oh my!

We planned out meals for the coming week and then we went home because I was really hurting with sharper pains than I've had in a while.  This was disappointing as we figured the walking ended up being too much for me even though we'd only walked a short distance.

I pretty much spent the rest of the evening on my zero gravity chair, watching Veronica Mars - but hey, I finally made it to the newest season!
Yes we have a lawn chair in the living room - it adds to the decor, don't you agree?  Actually it's folded up against the wall next to the patterned chair when I'm not using it, but the color is right for the room, at least.

I went to bed in a lot of pain, thinking that the walking had caused this.  When I woke up on Sunday I remembered that I'd vacuumed before the walk.  So...was it the vacuuming?  Or the walking?  Or both?  It would be nice to know, but I'm not ready to try either anytime soon while I get past this flare of pain.  Oh and speaking of pain, I forgot that I could have taken an additional Gabapentin when the pain kicked in, instead of waiting to take my normal dose later in the evening.  Thank you side effects of Gabapentin for that...I forgot that I'm an active participant in my pain management.

Last thing:  At the urging of a lot of people, I've made an appointment with a neurosurgeon for a consultation about my herniated disc.  I do not want to have surgery.  But, as my PT pointed out, it might be good to know what is recommended, and if I didn't have surgery now (if the doctor does think it's necessary), what would I be looking at in a few years?  The appointment isn't for another month; I'll let you know how it goes afterward.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Please Meet

Please meet Randy, my new fern, and our cute little table that we bought and spray painted this color:
Randy is a Macho fern, hence the name.  Also please notice my check rock, where I leave checks for the yard guy and the bug guy.

Please meet the bread drawer that we didn't know we had:
I was tired of seeing all of our bread products sitting on the counter so one day I rearranged the boxes of bags and foil in this drawer and there you go - it's a bread drawer.

Please meet the sunscreen stick I bought because I could not find the smaller tube of sunscreen that I'd just used when we went to Galveston:
Of course I found the smaller tube a day later - I had looked for days and didn't see it.  I didn't like the stick for my face but for arms and legs it's fine.  I do love the tube version for my face and was really happy I found it.

Please meet the stack of pills I picked up from the pharmacy recently:
Three months' worth of Gabapentin.  Have I mentioned lately how happy I will be when I don't have to take so much medicine?

Please meet the best salad I've ever managed to build at a salad bar:
My trick is to start with the vegetables at the bottom (in my case, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cucumbers), put a little dressing on them, and then load the other stuff on top, finishing with the lettuce and more dressing.  Speaking of dressing, my favorite thing to do at a salad bar is to mix a little Ranch with balsamic vinaigrette, yum. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

WWU - I'd Rather Have a Pretzel

Let's start with my workout last week with Jared (next one is tomorrow, which is pretty inconvenient for my blogging schedule as it seems stale when I finally get to write about it but that's the trials of being a blogger, hahaha).  He wanted to have me warm up on the elliptical, which is how I used to warm up, but I had a little trepidation about it because Amanda told me prior to beginning my workouts that I needed to stay steady while on one - so steady that I could balance a book on my head.  I carefully got on and Jared got it started, and stood there the entire time while I carefully moved my legs up and down.  I kept asking him if I was steady and he kept saying I was, but ooh man, the nerves were there with that one.  He wanted me to do a five minute warm up and I did, which surprised me as I've had zero cardio in months.  Then I carefully got off - can you tell how nervous I was - and the rest of the workout began.

Most of it is a bit foggy but I do remember that I did one of the same things as the week before - sitting on a 21" block and then slowly standing up, pushing upward with my quads while standing straight up, no bending forward at all.  It's basically a squat but with the block, I can only go so far down.  Anyway.  I did three sets of ten the first week, taking a one minute break in between sets.  Last week I did all 30 without needing a break, and that was at the end of my workout!

Everything I'm doing is pretty much on the baby steps level, but that's what I need to not hurt my back any worse, so it's fine with me - at least I'm there, in my happy place.  I can't wait to go back tomorrow!


PT update:  Amanda keeps giving me more and more exercises, arghhhh!  No, it's fine, and I know when she has me do something new it's because I've progressed to a new level which is fantastic.  But for most of them it seems to take me the full week afterward to sort of get them done, and then when I return for my next session  she corrects and explains again, and that's when it usually clicks with me.  I just want to do everything right the first time, is that too much to ask?  Well with my brain, yes.

Oh, I did do one correctly right from the start - it's the Bretzel stretch, which is the second exercise I do in order to get my ding dang leg warmed up so it doesn't tingle so much while I do the rest of the exercises.  That one is a challenge to do at first because of tight muscles, but in a weird way I like it.

Yesterday we worked on what didn't click with me from last week and guess what?  It clicked!  But oh man, it is hard to get my body in zero spine and keep it there, which is what I'm supposed to be doing for the rest of my life.  Maybe it'll finally become second nature to me when I'm 60.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Weekend Update

You guys are so nice; thank you for the really kind comments on Friday's post.  That helps, believe me.  As I have said before, this is a very isolating injury so getting some interaction with you is good.  Thank you for sticking with me, I appreciate it.

I can't remember what we did on Friday - Jeff has every other Friday off - but we went to the movies (Spiderman: Far From Home) and then...oh.  We went to the grocery store before the movie to get some movie theater candy and I walked further into the store than I've done in the last four months.  Which would explain why it hurt so bad to get in and out of the car the next day; I'd inadvertently increased my pain by all that walking but I didn't think to increase any pain reliever.  It's this type of thing that can bring me down and get into some really negative thinking like what the hell, I can't even walk to the back of the grocery store without hurting?

But, I got to spend Saturday morning with Jimmymeow on our official Coffee & Cruisin' expedition, which included swinging by McDonald's for coffee, checking out a job site, and driving around on the new new road where not only did we see Jeff running, we also saw lots and lots of houses already!  It's crazy to see how built up that area has become, but then I haven't been on that road in a long time.  We also drove by some garage sales but none were worth getting out of the car for.  I don't know what we were looking for but we didn't find it.

Then we returned to the clubhouse where just about everyone had finished up their run or walk, and watched Logan and Mason test out a double stroller that had been handed down to Cary.  They had so much fun and it was great to watch them laugh and laugh.  Then breakfast at Blue Baker where we were told to keep it down by a grumpy lady who belongs to a writers group, which of course meant not only did we continue talking like normal, but we had to outlast them - and you know we did.  Seriously, I don't understand why this group meets at BB - we are not the only exuberant group in the place.

I was hurting a lot so I spent some time in my zero gravity chair watching Veronica Mars.  Then Jeff and I cleaned our bathroom and bedroom, which has only received the bare minimum since last April.  It's spotless now, plus Jeff dusted baseboards, ceiling fan blades - you name it, it got wiped clean.  We also took Paco's crate out and moved a few things in its place, which made the side of the room you come in on much more open.

As for Paco, since we find him dead asleep in my closet all the time, we decided to try having him sleep there.  We bought a cheap wood baby gate, put his bed in there, and after only a couple of whines and answering shushes from me, he went to sleep!  When I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I noticed that he was sleeping right next to the gate, so last night we moved the bed there and he slept on it.  Success!

On Sunday we went to another movie (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and then drove out to a succulent nursery that was located out in the country.  The woman who owns it was super helpful - she's got a little greenhouse where she grows them, and she was having a sale.  I'd looked at her FB page before we went and it said they would pot any plant for free, so I brought an Ikea pot with me.  I was looking for the ever-elusive string of pearls, but what she had was actually a string of teardrops, which, let's face it, pretty much fits with my life of late.  The pot didn't have a hole in it but she drilled one in, potted the plant, and added rocks on the top:
Well that worked out nicely - the pot looks so good with the green draping down.

We also picked out some small succulents to plant in my little antique clay pots:
Jeff chose the one on the right while I picked the other two because they had some pink on them.  I don't think it will last, something about the time of year/sunlight that it turns pink?

If you guessed that the pictures were taken on a car dashboard, you would be correct.  Jeff needed to stop at Lowes to get some stuff to repair our sprinklers, and I took advantage of the wait time in the car to get the pictures.  Normally I would have gone into the store with him but nope, not with my leg hurting already.  So I was that person sitting in a running car in the parking lot, which I hate to do, but it was 90 degrees and I needed the A/C on.  It's those seemingly little things that reminds me of how my life has changed...I'd just like to be normal again.

On to Monday - my week consists of PT tomorrow, mammogram on Wednesday, and a workout with Jared on Thursday.  Veronica Mars the rest of the time?  It's a fun show but I need to do something, get out of the house without doing too much, which is a fine line that I usually don't know I've crossed until it's too late and I'm paying for it, and maybe that might help me stay a little more sane through this.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Herniated Discs Suck

Editor's note (haha I'm the editor as well as the writer):  This post has been written several times over the last week and honestly, I've thought about not posting it.  But in trying to document this stupid injury, I'm posting it because this is how I feel at the four month mark of dealing with a herniated disc.  I go from what you will read below to feeling alright - often in the same day. 

This week has been a rough one.  Not because of pain particularly, although any time I got a zap of pain that added to it.  No, it was because I was - I am - sick and tired of this.  I'm done.  Or should I say, I want to be done.

I hate this and I hate that it's still ongoing.

I hate everything I have to do and everything that I cannot do.

I hate the thought of never getting to do some things again.

I hate how sad I am.

I hate the pins and needles I feel in my leg and I don't care if it means the nerve is awakening.

I hate that when I get an injection, I get miserable side effects that last for days.

I hate having to lose a week or more to that stupid injection.

I hate that my dental assistant said "something is different with you" when she brought me back to her chair.  She looked at me and said "you've lost the sparkle in your eyes" and she's not the first person to say that.

I hate being like this.  I know there are a lot of people who are dealing with way worse things than this, and to them I say I'm really sorry you are going through this and I hope things get better for you very soon - and I mean that. 

I hate that when asked what I did today my answer is PT exercises, writing whiny posts, and watching Veronica Mars.

I hate that I'm bored, I hate that I'm boring.

I hate that I'm probably going to publish this post instead of deleting it like so many others.

I hate that I'm not the blogger I used to be.  And I'm sorry about that.  I hope you guys stick with me through this but I wouldn't blame you if you moved on to more interesting blogs.  I just wish this was over.