Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Awesome Weekend!

I had a fantastic weekend: great time with my in-laws and showing them fun spots around Atlanta, went swimming for the first time postop, sat on lounge chair, went to the movies, etc.

When I saw Dr. Lenke a couple of weeks ago, he said that if I have access to a pool, swimming will be great exercise.  Our neighborhood pool opened this weekend and I was excited to get into it.  It felt really weird though.  I held onto the edge of the pool, slowly pushed my torso away from the edge and slowly kicked my legs.  What surprised me the most was how sore my shoulders were the next morning!

I ran into Dr. Lenke and his nurse, Kelly, in the hallway on my way to his office.  Kelly gave me a big hug and said to Dr. Lenke, "Doesn't she look great?!"  Dr. Lenke smiled big and said, "She does and she's taller than me now!"  I was out of Lenke's office in less than one hour.  Note to self: schedule first appointment of the day on future appointments.  Dr. Lenke didn't see fusion yet on my xray which appears as cloudy areas around the hardware.  He said that fusion starts to appear on xrays around 6 - 9 months post op and that it's just a little too early to see it in me.  He isn't concerned about non-fusion since my hardware is still in the right position and I feel so good.  I can increase my workout weights slightly and start bending a bit. 

Going through airport security was a bit interesting.  I printed a TSA Hidden Disability Card
http://www.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/disability_notification_cards.pdf  in hopes that there wouldn't be any drama going through security.  I've read how some scoli patients don't set off alarms at airports while others do.  Jeremy suggested I try going through without mentioning my hardware and not showing the TSA card just to see if I set off alarms.  Unfortunately, the alarms went off which meant I had to have a pat down despite  showing the TSA card.  The Atlanta agent was nice and was concerned about not hurting me.  She said that on my flight home, show my TSA card first and ask to be screened in the special machine to elliminiate a pat down.  I did what she said in St. Louis, but after I stepped out of the special screening machine, I heard a voice on a walkie talkie, "Anomaly in the torso."  The St. Louis agent gave me a partial pat down of my back only, despite me showing the TSA card multiple times.  One of these times, I look forward to a pat-down-free experience in the future.


Post Op Exercises

I've heard a lot of folks who are planning to have scoli surgery say they wish they could see how someone fused to sacrum looks like when they move.  My daughter filmed me doing my post op exercises so hopefully this will show people what is possible after surgery.  As of today, I am 6 months 2 weeks post op and I wasn't allowed to do any exercises, except walking which started on the day after my surgery, until I was 3 months post op.

I am in no way recommending any exercise for anyone as I am not a professional physical therapist; just sharing what works for me.  If you have questions about post op exercises, talk with your surgeon.


One Leg Step Up - prescribed by Dr. Lenke's physical therapist:

Log Rolling - prescribed by Dr. Lenke PRE-OP.  Most every scoli surgery patient will need to learn log rolling in order to get in/out of bed correctly to keep the spine straight.  Patients should learn how to log roll before surgery:

Bicep Curls - prescribed by Dr. Lenke's physical therapist.  I used to do bicep curls preop with 20 pound dumbbells, but have been using 5 pound dumbbells since the surgery.  Dr. Lenke said I can increase my weight to 10 pound dumbbells:

Skull Crusher - NOT prescribed by Dr. Lenke but an exercise I used to do preop.  This exercise gives my upper back and shoulders a really nice stretch:

Triceps - NOT prescribed by Dr. Lenke but an exercise I used to do preop:

Ceiling Press - prescribed by Dr. Lenke's physical therapist:

Flyes - prescribed by Dr. Lenke's physical therapist but an exercise I used to do preop:

Tricep Curls - prescribed by Dr. Lenke's physical therapist:

Overhead Press - NOT prescribed by Dr. Lenke but an exercise I used to do preop:

Modified Lunges - prescribed by Dr. Lenke's physical therapist.  After seeing this video I'm shocked at how low I'm going with my knee.  I definitely wasn't going this low when I started doing this exercise a few months ago: