Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Milestone: tanking up...and a good day for PT walking (finally)

Today's post-spine surgery milestone: took my car to gas station for fill up on my own. Took dogs for moral support, lol. Lifting and maneuvering the pump w/hose felt heavier than I remember pre-surgery. It hurt some then, of course, but body is more aware of 5 lb lift limit now as back heals from being sliced. Not pleasant, but got it done. Then went home, needed a short nap. Pathetic.

 PT walking was particularly nice today, since the weather was cooperating. Here are a couple of pix from the walk (here in my neighborhood, on the walking trail).

First, a sign of spring, a mallard duck family swimming alongside the trail:

And they were on the way to the lake, which was about a 1/4 mile away:

I walked a little less than a mile (see stats below). This wasn't my first outing, of course, but I just loaded an app on my Android phone, My Tracks, that is pretty neat. Anything that can help me see that I am getting stronger in my recovery is motivating.
My Tracks records your path, speed, distance, and elevation while you walk, run, bike, or do anything else outdoors. While recording, you can view your data live, annotate your path, and hear periodic voice announcements of your progress. With My Tracks, you can share your GPS tracks and stats online:- Via Google+, Facebook, or Twitter- Using Google Maps, Google Fusion Tables, or Google Docs

- As a GPX, KML, CSV, or TCX file
My Tracks uses the GPS sensor in your device to record geographic and velocity statistics, but the app also syncs with third-party biometric sensors, including:
- Zephyr HxM Bluetooth heart rate monitor
- Polar WearLink Bluetooth heart rate monitor
- ANT+ heart rate and speed distance monitors (these require an ANT+ compatible phone)
My Tracks is an open source project. If you like to contribute, please visit:
So below are my stats from today's walk, for shiz and giggles. The numbers aren't impressive given how slow I have to go and it's somewhat hilly terrain, but hey, just a month ago I had a guy chiseling a herniated disc out of my spine, right?

Created by Google My Tracks on Android.
Name: 2/27/2013
Activity type: PT walking
Description: By Lake
Total distance: 1.38 km (0.9 mi)
Total time: 27:06
Moving time: 24:39
Average speed: 3.05 km/h (1.9 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 3.35 km/h (2.1 mi/h)
Max speed: 3.60 km/h (2.2 mi/h)
Average pace: 19.66 min/km (31.6 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 17.89 min/km (28.8 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 16.67 min/km (26.8 min/mi)
Max elevation: 116 m (380 ft)
Min elevation: 59 m (192 ft)
Elevation gain: 39 m (129 ft)
Max grade: 0 %
Min grade: 0 %
Recorded: 02/27/2013 1:57pm

Considering that a couple of years ago I used to be able to do a couple of laps around the lake barely breaking a sweat, my current condition is @ss post-RA diagnosis and back surgery. But it's the "new normal" now.

By the way, I have heard from quite a few readers who've had lumbar or cervical surgery about sharing my info here. While every case is unique, it's been good to read that much of the recovery is slow but steady and requires patience and care not to re-injure. The alternative is additional surgeries, so at least gives people an idea of whether they want to take the plunge and go under the knife.

I've had my fair share of problems so far (like the flu and coughing myself into shooting back pain again), but I don't regret having the surgery. The additional chronic misery was making me almost despondent. At least I could do something about this -- dealing with the pre-existing auto-immune stuff is a long-term war.

* RA rears up and says "don't forget about me."
* Can put on jeans again!
* Not so fast, young lady...your back is still f'd up
* Post-surgery update: tail end of flu; may need another MRI
Week 3 post-spine surgery, week 2 of the flu
Week 2 post-L5-S1 slice and dice: good news, not so good news
News on life after the L5-S1 slice and dice

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