Monday, October 24, 2011

My mind is ready, but my body is not

Here at the almost 5 week mark, frustration is setting in. This is exactly the point my breast surgeon flagged for me, months ago, when discussing my recovery. She said that around now, I'd start to feel much better physically, and that I'd want to do more, but that I would still have restrictions, and I'd need to "sit on my hands."

And how.

After being cleared for cardio last Wednesday, I took a decent-sized (all things being relative here, it was about 1.25 miles which is a small fraction of my former distance and intensity) brisk walk. No arms swinging - they were locked at my sides. I had my workout mix pumping, Map My Run (or Walk, as the case may be) tracking my time and distance . . . I felt AMAZING. Saturday, less so. I felt like I had a grapefruit under each arm - swelling. Plastic surgeon told me that swelling was a sign of overdoing, so Saturday I lay low. Sunday, swelling down - what better way to celebrate than with a power walk? So out I went - this time I did a little more distance, less intense. Today, a veritable fruit salad under the pits.

I just came back from PT, where my dear friend Nancy set me straight. Reminded me that in the "olden days," I wouldn't even have been out of the hospital for that long at this point. That just 'cause I'm home and set "free" by the docs, doesn't mean I'm OK to go about my business. This is not the time to push through. This is the time to coddle. She pointed out that I only have one shot at a good post-op recovery period, and if I blow it, I'm screwed (Nancy is much too refined to use that word, that's me talkin'). So no walkie for me today and tomorrow while we let things simmer down. Then we do less distance and do alternating days of intensity. That way, I "trick" myself into thinking I'm exercising every day ('cause if you know me, you know this is a thing of mine), but I honor my healing body.

Those of you who know me know I'm very into the mind-body connection, but that I have a hard time slowing down. It was far easier when I felt like junk. I had no choice but to be slow. Now I feel like I "should" be OK, and yet clearly I'm not. Swelling is the body's way of protecting a fragile area, and of signaling that something is not right, says Nancy.

I mean, I love fruit, but not under my arms.




  1. Nancy is absolutely right. You only get one chance to do this recovery thing right and it will be a test of your will power to follow her instructions. In the end you will be so glad you did. I like that you are coming up with ways to fool are already adapting!

  2. I know it can be frustrating - especially for us Type A's :) We all need to listen to our bodies more (myself included). I hope you are having more better days, and I'm sure when you are fully ready nothing will stop you! take care, and keep in touch.