Recovery | Mt. Greylock

Mt. Greylock, Arthritis, Travel, Hike

My recovery goal was to be on top of a mountain by the time my birthday rolled around. I didn’t care which one, but I wanted to hike. This required over the course of my recovery to rest early and often so I didn’t injure myself or worse, face a relapse. Per doctor’s orders, I was to limit my activity for 8 weeks, and I’m proud to say I followed it. Okay, to be honest, it’s all thanks to Mr. P reminding me! Every time I felt the urge to walk a little bit further or when the weather was perfect for a run, I held back and reminded myself of the quote, “Pay now so you don’t have to pay later”.

The recovery was difficult towards the end since I ended up with the flu. I was literally told by the doctor that if I didn’t get my flu shot, I would’ve ended up in the hospital. I think at the moment, he patted himself on the back, but I was grateful as well. The entire month of April was dedicated towards recovering from the flu, including my husband. It was rough, but we’re finally on the mend, well at least from that journey!

As soon as the 8 weeks were up, I saw a physical therapist twice a week and worked on my exercises at home. I walked every day and started to run, albeit very slow, twice a week. I took this time even more serious than I did the 8 weeks of absolute pure rest because I knew this was a critical step back into my active lifestyle.

So, was I able to make it on the hike?

Yes, yes I did! After approval from the doctor and tips from my Physical Therapist, I hiked Mt Greylock, the tallest mountain in Massachusetts at 3,489 feet and 17 out of 50 tallest in New England. It’s peak located in the northwest corner of the state in the town of Adams in Berkshire County. It’s known for its expansive views of encompassing five states and a seasonal automobile road climbs to the summit, where stands the iconic 93-foot-high lighthouse-like Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower.

Mt. Greylock, Arthritis, Travel, Hike

And recently, J. K. Rowling released a new story telling the origins of a magic school set on top of Mt. Greylock. The short story, released on Pottermore, details the history of the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardy, founded in the 17th century, which is part of the North American school of magic. I strongly feel that all those who have chronic illness are magicians. We make it looks easy to those who are healthy and therefore, those who are healthy are the muggles.  I mean how else do you explain the air I caught in this picture? I’m flying!

Mt. Greylock, Arthritis, Travel, Hike

The days post-hike I had to recover like a mad woman. I was extremely exhausted and not sure if hiking was the best idea. However, as the days passed by, I felt better and better. I continued with walking and supplementing running when I could. Having a goal at the end of my recovery was the true motivation I needed to stay on track during recovery and keep going.

Next goal? A 5 mile race 6 weeks later!


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Microdiscectomy Spine Surgery

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Five short days later I went in for surgery. Don’t I look fabulous? I look like Marge Simpson’s younger sister. I think one of the worst parts about surgery is the lack of coffee in the morning. Ok, well, obviously the surgery and the recovery are the worst, but those few hours before surgery, it’s torture to those who just adore coffee. Like me.

The nursing staff actually complemented me on having such a positive attitude and how my laugh was contagious. It improved everyone’s mood and they were happy to assist me in anyway. I believe the quote “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” rings true here. The surgery itself went really well. Once awake, although really muddled, I immediately felt relief in both of my legs from the pinched nerve and was very pleased about the outcome.

Once a little more lucid, we quickly realized that I was having a minor reaction to the anesthetic medication. Although I was able to go home, it took three times longer to get discharged. Oi! Once we left, we had to visit the pharmacy to drop off my opioid prescription and wait for it to be filled. Nothing like showing up with an authentic paper prescription and showing your ID when you are hopped up on drugs. An hour later, all thanks to the ER experiencing an influx of patients and sending them to the only 24 pharmacy in town, I was finally able to take the medication.

Then something happened. It felt as though someone reached through my stomach, grabbed my spine and then pulled it right through. As if they were looking for a rope to hold onto. I couldn’t sit because I was dizzy and I couldn’t lay down because I got nauseous. Mr. P called it a level 10, I called it a level 9 because I’m saving my ten. Mr. P called the on-call doctor at 1:30 in the morning hoping he didn’t have to call the ambulance. The on-call physician happened to be my surgeon and he suggested that we increase my anti-nausea medication and once that medication kicked-in, we were to increase my pain medication.

Two hours later, the anti-nausea medication kicked-in and therefore two hours later, I could increase my pain medication. Over the course of the next four days, this process was repeated. I had to wait for one drug to kick-in until I could take the next one.  On the fifth day, I woke up and decided to take Tylenol instead of the anti-nausea and opioid medication to see if it could combat the pain. To be honest, I was so sick of feeling nauseous, I was uncomfortable anyway regardless of whether I was laying down or sitting, and that dizzy feeling was unbearable; I felt like I was drunk! Once the Tylenol kicked-in, my pain subsided and I felt like a whole new person. Called the doctor and got the approval to stay off the opioid drugs as long as my pain was manageable. YASSSSSS!!

Now only to combat the boredom and anticipation of getting back to my “normal”.


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