2 Spuds in a Pod

Looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Tag: surgery

Rehab training

Rehab training is a very important part of recovery from both a physical and mental crisis. I will be discussing my own rehab training which has taken place over the last few weeks. I have been mentioning it in some of my other blogs but want to dedicate a full blog to it too.

Five weeks ago

About five weeks ago yesterday the hospital was wheeling me down for emergency surgery after finding two cysts one on each ovary. This is the second surgery I have had in three years and the third issue with Endometriosis. The funny thing is all the outside has healed and I have little scars now to add to my collection. However, the inside is taking slightly longer which is normal. I have to keep reminding myself that I am only five weeks post op.

My personality

My personality is very go, go, go and I am not very good at sitting still. I mean I was back in a Zumba class around ten days post op and haven’t slowed down since. In fact, I have been increasing what I do (within reason). Yes I say I have been in a Zumba class but it has been very controlled and there has been no jumps or bouncing. Jumping around at that stage would not have helped my recovery.

Training

So what have I been doing except for Zumba? I have been walking, walking and walking some more. Starting on a treadmill going to number five on the incline with a slow walking speed. I then progressed it up to incline level fifteen with a much faster pace. Today I did forty minutes. I use one minute for each incline, plateau at the top for five minutes then come down the other side. It has taken a few weeks to get there but with determination I feel it has gone well.

Other gym kit

I have also been using the rolling escalator stair machine thingy. Once I had found the correct spaces for my water bottle and book I was a very happy lady. I can walk on that machine for a good forty minutes before getting tired. I have also been using the cross trainer and bike.

Weight vest

A weight vest was a present from me to me. It is a great piece of kit which gives you a little extra weight to challenge yourself on treadmills, rolling escalators and the like. The funny part about the weight vest is it is exactly ten kilograms at full weight. This is the weight I have lost to date so to put it back on again it quite an experience. It feels heavy and awkward but then again for most of last year that is what I carried day in and day out. I am working with four kilos at the minute but hoping next week to progress to five. Once my core has healed and got back to its normality I will progress to ten and see how that feels to work out in.

Resistance training

Now, I am still banned from lifting any heavy weights but that didn’t mean I have to stop completely. I found using the lateral pulldown machine and low row were perfect for keeping my back from getting too tired and niggly. With low weights, low reps/sets and a longer break in between each round it worked perfectly. You see I didn’t have to lift anything heavy to have a workout.

Bands

And no I don’t mean the ones in the top forty music chart. I mean resistance bands. These are a fantastic way of training when you need to slow things down and concentrate on the deeper muscles. Now I prefer my training to be fast, moving in all directions and breaking a sweat. Something that I am not going to get with resistance bands in a rehab setting. I had to slow it right down and concentrate on activating the muscles which needed attention. This was mainly my back and will shortly involve me core muscles too.

My core

My core work can start now as well. However, my five minute plank will have to wait. I need to start with the basics and the regressions of most core moves. It means I will have to separate out my upper core muscles, lower and obliques (they live on the sides) and concentrate on activating each to get them strong again.

My mental health

Why am I keeping so active? That is a good question. First of all I point out my blog called “sitting still is tricky!”. That sentence says it all really. I find it really hard to sit still and do nothing. The idea of a beach holiday, reading a book, drinking an ice cold drink and so on scares me. I am wanting to know what water sports are available, is there a bicycle track or even a walking track and when the next activity is. So you see my point. My mental health sitting still would get bored, frustrated, irritable and many other words to describe that. My mental health doing this kind of exercise is happy, less stressed, active and smiling. And that is my point. Active body equals happy mind.

Conclusion

I hope that has given you a little insight into my training as I rehab from my surgery. I feel the main point is you can work out to an extent post operation/illness/injury you just need to be careful (always double check if you are unsure). Feel free to ask me any questions, talk to your own GP or local gym and see what you can do.

-Helen

Sitting still is tricky!

We are about one week on from my emergency surgery to fix two orange sized cysts on my ovaries. So far everything seems to be going in the right direction. The surgical sites are healing nicely and I am now on the lowest pain killers possible. Except for feeling tired a lot of the time I would say that I am doing very well.

Sitting still!

My main issue is this sitting still thing. I have never been very good at it and I am being less good at it now. Before last week I was doing an active job, making sure that at least six out of the seven week days I was in the gym and I was walking most places I could. I would happily go from one thing to another, to another and to another. I would plan lots into my day so everything was completed. Now I can do a few hours of activity before a sit down and then I can repeat.

It’s a good time of year!

That it is and I don’t mean that there are more colours around, trees looking fancy, mince pies everywhere you turn, music blaring from speakers and generally everyone seems to be in a better mood. I mean that there has been a lot for me to do. Friends and family have been coming over to the house to either take me down to the supermarket, taking me out for a drive, taking me for coffee and so on. I mean I have had small tasks to do most days.

The good thing!

The good thing about it is I am moving around. I have a theory that the more I move, the better I get and the quicker the recovery period so I can go back to Zumba and boxing. You may not think it is a big element to recovery but believe me it is. Little movement like walking from one room to the other, walking up the stairs, standing to seated and seated to standing, crouching down to pick something up (I can’t quite bend in the middle yet) and much more. All of this moves muscles, helps the cardiovascular system and more importantly the brain and my mental health. Yes, I would love to say that I am booked on to a Zumba and circuit class this evening but I have to wait. I have to wait until my core has healed.

Food

I thought I would add a quick note in here about food. I mean it would be great to kick back and eat all those sugary foods to make us “feel better”. But I am not. Having come so far in my weight loss journey it would be a great shame to start going backwards. I am aware that I may gain a little from in-activity but I am doing what I can to counter-act that. I have allowed myself the odd Christmas biscuit but I am also mindful that I don’t want to go over board with it either. I am sticking to the good foods. The proteins that will help my muscles recover. The fruit and vegetables (vitamins) so my whole body can recover and the water to flush out all the bad toxins.

Exercise

As mentioned above I am moving as much as I can. I am also going for walks. Nothing too big at the minute but I can now happily manage anything from a half hour to an hour. I have been to the gym once since last week. I did a half hour cycle and a half hour walk on the treadmill. I vary my days to walking outside to gym days and make sure when I feel tired that I remember it is my body telling me it has had enough for that day. I will increase these times (and resistances) as I come through the rest of December and hopefully post festive season will be back at the gym to start building my strength back up, Zumba and boxing.

Conclusion

Be kind to yourself. Let the body heal. Try not to rush into anything and be aware that if something doesn’t feel right or a twinge is a bit too much then stop. There is no harm in taking a break (I am trying, I really am!).

-Helen

Coming back from illness

We have spoken a lot about mental health on these blogs but today I wanted to change the tone a little bit and look at coming back from an illness. I have brought myself back from one through good nutrition, exercise, sleep and looking after myself.

Ouch, something isn’t right

I had woken up on a Monday morning not feeling quite right but well enough to go into work. I completed the day with a slightly sore stomach, nauseous and a ghost white face. People kept asking if I was ok and I would answer with I am sure it is a 24-hour thing and nothing to be concerned about. Little did I realise at this point what was about to happen. The Tuesday morning, I woke up and was to go and do my final training run for a duathlon I was to take part in at the weekend. I had been training for months and had finally managed to get my 5k up to scratch and master the run-to-bike-to-run transition. Rosie was ready to go and was waiting with a half a banana energy boost to get us going. I didn’t touch the banana noting that I wasn’t very hungry. Now if you know me then you will know that I am constantly hungry, I blame it on all the exercise I get. People will know that if I am not hungry then something is very, very wrong. So out to the park we go on this run and I am not feeling like moving at all. I say to Rosie to run ahead and I will walk/run and see what happens. I was very aware this was the last training session and I was still thinking this was a 24-hour thing that should go away shortly.

Oh no!

But oh no. The pain intensified in my left side and by the time Rosie had completed her run and was returning to me she noticed I was walking with bent in the middle on the left-hand side. Rosie immediately took charge and we phoned the GP. Off we popped to get a check-up. Then it all went downhill.  From the basic observations the GP did, we were sent straight to A&E and within a few hours of being there I was in emergency surgery. It turned out that I had a cyst on one of my ovaries which had burst and in turn had inflamed everything in its path including my appendix. The surgeons had to clean up the mess, take out my appendix and sew me back together again.

I’m still doing the duathlon

I woke up from surgery and the first two questions were; where was Rosie and am I going to be ok to run at the weekend. Once I had found Rosie, who had been busy drinking coffee and pacing the hospital corridors, I turned my attention to the fact I would be running, cycling and running at the weekend. The doctors, the nurses, Rosie and my family were all saying no, it would not be the case, but I was determined to get better in 4 days and ready to go. I am going to blame the painkillers entirely on this irrational thinking. Apparently according to Rosie and the nurses I was on cloud 9 and having a whale of a time there.

I didn’t take part

Although I tried, I admitted in the end that it was not going to happen with me taking part in the duathlon. All my hard work, training, preparing of the bike, buying new trainers, eating the nutritional plan we had been set and so on was lost. I would still be at the event on the Sunday, but I would be there as a spectator cheering Rosie on from start to finish.  I cannot explain to you the devastation of being at the event and not being able to take part. It was heart-breaking.

The medal

On the upside I asked the event organisers if I could still have my medal. I explained what had happened and as a consultation price I got it. I just felt that with all the training and particularly that fact I had come from not running a centimetre but to running two full 5k’s this was a big moment for me. Luckily the person I spoke to understood the situation as well.

Recovery

This was long and involved a lot of patience. As Rosie kept saying it takes times for the body to heal, you need to be nice to it and her favourite saying to me was “don’t be an idiot!”. Again, for those of you who know me will know that I do not sit still for long periods of time. I always find some washing up to do, a room that needs tidied, a gym programme that needs me to experiment with, the grass needed cutting, and the list goes on. So, to put me under enforced bed rest from both Rosie and my mother, it took a great deal of patience on my part to get better.

A lot of walking

I realised early on in my recovery that I could walk without much discomfort and that is what I did. I started going around the block which was a matter of five minutes or so in the early days and then progressed back up to that 5k one which would take a good hour or so. Luckily for me this happened in a September and it was one of those sunny and warm ones. I just kept walking my way back to health.

Further training to recovery

After I had myself back at the hour of walking, I went on to using a spin bike in the gym followed by some light weights. The abs exercises came last. I had had key hold surgery which is much better than having a full one but still they had to go through my six pack muscles which meant I had to wait for that to heal before doing any crunches. I managed to modify a lot of the ab exercises I did. From doing plank on my knees, to concentrating on the deep muscles during a bridge I worked my way back into crunches, bicycles, leg extensions and so on. I would keep the sets and reps low as I built it up again, but I got there in the end.

Positivity

Throughout my hospital trip, recovery and beyond I tried to stay positive in what I was doing. I knew it was going to be a long and hard recovery and I knew at times I would be in discomfort and wanting to rush into things too soon. But I also was aware that was lucky that in that grand plan we call life I would get there. This is the main point: if you put your mind towards something you will achieve it. Whether that is running a 5k, coming back from illness, getting out of bed in the morning and so on. Trying to stay positive will help get you there.

Duathlon

Just in case you are wondering. I unfortunately never made it back to take part in the duathlon but that was more the fact I moved away from the area than anything else. One day I may decide to do one. You never know.

-Helen

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