This morning I tied my shoelaces for the first time since December 5 last year. Over four months ago.
And it’s not because I’ve been wearing thongs all summer and into the first weeks of autumn.
Since yet another day that will forever be etched in my physically-battered memory I’ve had a rather substantial surgical rod hammered into my femur and had a chunk of bone and a mass of muscle, including my hip flexor, removed. That all came on the back of a secondary breast cancer diagnosis when a tumour was found to be lying angrily at the top of my left femur at the end of November last year.
As recently as two days ago I never thought I would be able to put my own shoe on again. (If you think putting the shoe on is hard, think about the difficulty of the sock!!!). The distance from my hip to my toes has felt like the length of a javelin pole!
Yet, sitting here today with two shoes on my feet that I didn’t have to ask anyone (in particular my gorgeous 9-year-old boy who has done most of the shoelace tying) to help me put on is a pretty satisfying space to be in.
Rehabilitation does not come easily after any surgery, let alone a whole joint replacement.
At first, post-operatively, hydrotherapy help get my leg moving again.
Then I went back to work full-time and sitting at a desk for the majority of the day didn’t help my cause.
But there are no excuses. I thought (hoped) things would just heal themselves and suddenly I’d be back to “normal”. Surprise, surprise, that didn’t happen.
Physiotherapy was the answer for me. A physio with an understanding of hip replacement surgery, the recovery process and the mindset that goes with it!
It wasn’t an easy start. My new physio had to wrap his head around not only my body’s physical issues, but its mental ones as well/
“Why are you still walking like that?” he asked as I limped in — but was not in any pain.
It took a few weeks but he worked on my mind as much as my body and now, I’m back walking, trying to hit the tennis court (albeit gingerly) with my son and, even more momentous – tying my own shoelaces!
The moral of the story — take it easy on yourself and find yourself medical professionals who will do the same while also pushing you to reach your goals.