On The Mend: My Lessons Learned from Surgery

A few months ago, I joined a team of moms with LiveWell Colorado, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring healthy eating and active living in Colorado. Although Colorado is often touted as America’s “leanest” state, we are, unfortunately, not immune to the growing health crisis of obesity.

In fact nearly 58 percent of Colorado adults and 25 percent of our children are overweight or obese. And we’re getting worse. LiveWell Colorado was formed to take a leadership role in tackling the complex problem of obesity and realizing the vision of all Coloradans embracing a healthier lifestyle.

The LiveWell Colorado mission is right in line with my healthy living spirit, and I am proud to join a group of local moms who share a common desire to help influence healthier choices across our home state and beyond.

In the spirit of sharing, I’ve posted an article on their site that shares my holistic approach to surgical recovery. I fully credit these steps with getting me back on my feet and hitting the trails, not once, but twice. It’s an amazing journey to look back on and one that has only made me stronger.

On The Mend: My Lessons Learned from Surgery

Like many active Coloradans, I take every advantage to get outside and play. I have three bikes hanging in our garage: one for the road, one for the mountains and one for cruising with a toddler. On lazy week nights, I let our two dogs walk us around the well-worn paths near our house. On weekends, I look forward to longer family adventures.

At 37, few would guess I’ve endured two major orthopedic surgeries in less than four years. Though both grueling six-to-twelve-month-long recoveries tested me physically, mentally and emotionally, I’ve come back – even with a pregnancy tossed in! And you can, too.

Please continue reading the full post over at LiveWell Colorado.

Yoga and Your Emotions: Relish in the Release

First of all, let me apologize for the lack of posts here lately. Quite frankly, I’ve been a bit burned out. It happens to the best of us, no matter how well we try to navigate this journey called (The Soulicious) Life. I think mine stemmed in part from SoulDaddy being on the road and in the air quite a bit over the past few weeks which translated into lots of single momma time for me.

But I’m also burned out on PT (gee – after only 4 months!) and juggling a myriad of bids and contractors for a variety of large landscape projects, including a new fence, sprinkler re-design, and patio. Oh, and I still have that day job thing too.

So, finally, finally, finally, I made it back to yoga class this week, and got much more than I expected. Continue reading

The Healing Power of Food (Specifically, Chocolate Cupcakes)

I’ve been eating a lot of chocolate cupcakes lately.

SoulSista and K-Bear made me a batch while I was in Vail getting fixed up. I forgot to take a picture of one (probably because I was too busy eating it), but they happen to look nearly identical to this one.

Except mine had mini M&M’s haphazardly placed on them by a nearly two-year-old. Clearly they were made with love. Continue reading

Vail, Colorado: A Different Kind of Turn

Most people trek to Vail in February to ski. But not me.

Sure I’ve had my share of beautiful, powder-filled days there, like the one in December 2001 when I met SoulDaddy and those that coincide with our annual trips to Big Beers with Elite. But in August of 2008, I trekked there just for a spinal fusion with Dr. Corenman at Steadman Clinic, and on February 23, exactly two weeks from today, I’ll be doing it again. This time for a hip arthroscopy with Dr. Marc Philippon.

I stopped saying “why me” a long time ago. I know I’m in the best of hands, and I know that I am young and strong. I can and will recover from this. I’m sure I’ll be up and telemarking again by next winter!

Let’s aim high, right? After all, Philippon fixed A-Rod.

There’s been the usual list of pre-surgical to-do’s like seeking pre-authorization from insurance, getting medical clearance, and making post-op PT appointments. However, beyond the logistics, any surgery requires mental and physical preparation to be successful.

So what have I been doing to prepare?

  • Exercising regularly. Just because my hip is about to get shaved down does not mean I can’t use it as is. Though I’ve slowed down,  I continue to walk the dogs, swim when I can, test my legs with telemarking, and run when the opportunity jumps. I’ve also been taking advantage of the fabulous gym located in my new office building to get in quick, one-hour workouts over lunch twice a week. I generally finish off 30 minutes of cardio with 20 minutes of various weights followed by abs and hip work. Staying strong now will only enhance my post-surgical recovery.
  • Taking Yogalates. I’ve been practicing yoga for many years now (love), but my core strength is more important than ever now. I found a yogalates class to attend one-to-two nights a week to amp up my core strength while maintaining flexibility, creating space, and squeezing out toxins.
  • Drinking lemon water. I’m a habitual lemon water drinker, but now I’m drinking lots of it. Though I don’t usually take anything stronger than ibuprofen, I’m about to get dosed with anesthesia, followed by pain medication, muscle relaxers, and God knows what else from the pharmacy. Nothing beats water for flushing toxins from the body, and lemon is extremely detoxifying for both the liver and kidneys. The better the internal shape of my body, the better it can take the stress of surgery and pharmaceuticals.
  • Making Chiropractor and Acupuncture Appointments. Again, the better shape you are going into surgery, the better your shape when you come out. My chiropractor will ensure I’m structurally aligned, while a dose of acupuncture will clear any areas of blocked energy and reduce stress.
  • Saying “yes.” I’m a do-it-all-myself kind of gal so accepting assistance from others is sometimes hard for me to do. But I know that neither I nor my family can get through my recovery period without some help. Whether it’s my mom’s or sister’s babysitting time, my father’s Marriott points, my neighbor’s offer to walk the dogs, or my friend’s insistence on bringing a meal, I am graciously accepting all selfless offers.
  • Gearing up at Work. Thanks to short-term disability and a boss who insists I not come back until I’m ready, I’m planning to stay away from work for two-and-a-half weeks. Leaving for this long however, requires advance preparation. So I’m wrapping up projects, touching base with internal clients, and delegating on-going tasks as necessary. Immediately after surgery, I want to be focused on healing, not work.
  • Gearing up at Home. SoulDaddy is amazing but he can’t do it all. I’m looking for a housekeeper to help out while I’m on one leg for 6-8 weeks. I’m also paying all bills, balancing all checkbooks, and stocking up on grocery items that translate to quick meals. (Thank you, Costco, for your amazing selection of the healthy and organic!)
  • Accepting the Challenge. I’m a strong believer that “all is as it should be” in life. Yet this is the hard part, the mental part, the part of me that must rally and say, “yes, I’m going to take on this surgery, this brief upheaval to our lives, so that I can come back stronger and happier.” Active as we are, I know both myself and my family will benefit. I can do this. Short-term pain = long-term gain.
Eight bullets, really? No wonder I’m feeling stressed.

But who needs Vail Mountain to ski? I’m about to carve another turn in the surgical center and with any luck, plus many weeks of hard work, the payoff will be sweet as pow.

Hard on the Body, Good for the Soul

I got a call this week from the surgery scheduler at The Steadman Clinic in Vail. It was followed by an email from the rehabilitation specialist who attached an eight (eight!) page document outlining my pre- and post-surgical PT approach.

This can only mean one thing: ten months of waiting for Dr. Philippon is nearly over. Hip surgery is lingering, staring me down from its place on my calendar just five weeks away. Continue reading