My Workouts After Surgery

August 5, 2015, Wednesday

double mastectomy and reconstruction (phase 1, expanders)

I will be following my plastic surgeon’s advice closely so that I can heal properly before doing anything here. I’ll let you know when I first get back to any activity worthy of being called a “work out”. For now, I’m prepared to not even be allowed to get my heart rate up for at least the first 6 weeks so that everything can heal properly. Stay tuned….

September 14th 2015, Monday

It’s September 14th – and I’m about 5 1/2 weeks out from surgery. The discomfort is finally going away on a seemingly more permanent basis. I’m planning to hit the gym again for the first time next Monday – about 6 1/2 weeks after surgery. Going for all mobility (stretching/flexibility) and maybe light aerobics (running? erg with the tension set really, really low?). I’ll be taking it easy – see how things feel…. will be nice to be back! Cannot wait – a little less than one more week.

September 17th 2015, Thursday

I’m now officially past the 6 weeks of recovery for the surgery. I’m anxious to get back to my old workout routines but I’m also not crazy. What I’ve noticed during my recovery – where I didn’t even do yoga for fear of stretching out things that shouldn’t be stretched – is that my body has gotten tight. Tight muscles. Tight joints. My husband swears I lost half an inch of my height after the surgery and I’m certain it is because I’m still rolling my shoulder forward in a permanent hunch, in a protective stance.

In order to work myself back into the old routine I’ve decided to begin easily at home with yoga. Yesterday I did about 30 min of simple stretches – a ton on my calves which are notorious for tightening up, and also a little at my shoulders and hips. Today I did a little more – a shade deeper, never to the point of pain just to the point of a comfortable stretch. Breathing into it I would repeat and then go a little deeper. Moving my arms around a lot more – swimmer style to see what was comfortable. At this point I can put my arms over my head but they aren’t really straight and I’m still not forcing it. Baby steps is key for me. I’m a highly conservative person by nature and I really, really don’t want to overdue anything.

The plan is to get up the next few mornings and continue to do yoga for 30-60 minutes – stretching more and more of my body a little deeper and deeper each day. Then, next Monday I can head to the gym – and continue with stretching – mobility – in my shoulders, hips and calves – and also try a little light aerobic work such as running or the ergometer for 5 minutes – and see what happens. Will my new found chest be sore from being bumped all over from a run? What will it feel like? Although I’m off my pain meds I definitely still feel a general soreness in my chest at times and this I attribute to the exapanders expanding my muscles and stretching them out. There’s a reason that expanders stay in a 6 months – to let a body heal and adjust to them being there. Time. It’s going to take time. A little each day – the consistency in every day, is key here for me.

September 17th, Thursday

Light yoga stretching for 30 min or so – focusing on hips, shoulders and arms. Everything is tight! Not pushing hard -just working on movements and breathing deeply into poses.

September 18th, Friday

Light yoga stretching again for about 30 min. Same as Thursday. Taking it easy so as to not over do anything.

September 21st, Monday

First time back at the gym after surgery. I’m 6 1/2 weeks out or so. I said hi to my 5 am classmates then headed to the back gym to do a lot of stretching of my calf muscles, my shoulders and arms. Things were very tight when I went a little deeper than last week. Going to take a few days of lots of stretching to get it back. Did 5 min (835 m) on the ergometer -set to a nearly the lightest tension setting possible. No ill effects noticed the next day.

September 22nd, Tuesday

Back to the gym again. Today was tons of mobility in the class so I stuck with the class. When they did their heavy push presses I just used the PVC pipe and worked with my coach on my form (which was totally out of whack). Felt so much better afterwards! Also used another pole which was maybe 5 pounds in weight.  Did some planks which was nice – happy I could do them. Wasn’t so successful on the side planks – felt odd and didn’t want to push it so leaving that for next time.

Big thing today was actually at home – first time lifting Cassandra up and giving her a big hug with her arms and legs wrapped around me. Wonderful day!

September 23rd, Wednesday

Made it back my 3rd day in a row! Took it easy again – did manage to knock out a 2K row in 10:44 and also did 1/2 pood KB swings x 10! That made me feel good – knocked off two more things on my list. Rest of the day was just more deep stretching. The class did heavy push presses and I did push press technique with a PVC pipe against a doorway – and held it. Felt so good to have a nice, deep stretch!!

September 29th, Tuesday

First day back with the class!! So, so happy!  20 min AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) – 400 m run, 10 burpees, 3 ring rows. I completed 4 rounds plus a 200 m run.

September 30th, Wednesday

Back with the class officially! 5 RFT (rounds for time) – 10 ring dips (I scaled with PVC pipe thingies), 10 ring rows, 30 sit ups (down to 20 on the 3rd round – exhausted!). Felt good but definitely lost a lot in my ring dips – don’t have full range of motion. Also – was substituting ring rows for pulls ups to regain the strength – and for practicing full range of motion. The warm up had kip swings on a bar but that wasn’t going to happen – don’t have the mobility/strength to comfortably do these so I just hung from the bar for this first time even trying that.

October 1st, Thursday

2nd week of 3 classes in a row!! Getting back in the groove. VERY sore in the legs and calves from earlier this week’s workouts and warmups (the warm ups are almost as much as the work outs and I didn’t even write them in here!). Today looks like it’s all about KBs and wall balls which is great! I wanted to knock off the 3/4 pood x 10 KB swing and 10 lb x 10 times wall ball – I’ll do them each once at that weight and run the workout at a lower weight – my aerobic capacity is not what it was….. and still don’t want to over do it on everything the first few weeks back. The workout: bent over row 5 x 5, 18-15-12-9-6-3 – wall ball then KB with 20 double unders before each round. I’ll let you know how it goes…. in the warm up yesterday I found out that I lost my double unders – it’s all about technique and I’ve lost the timing. Will have to work to get it back. I did manage to pop out 2 double unders but that was it. Previously I was able to string together anywhere from 6-15 or so…

October 15th, Thursday

Last week I felt as though I was coming down with a cold. Skipped the entire week. Could have made it back likely on Friday but at that point I waited until Monday to reset. This week went off without a hitch. Hit Crossfit 3 days in a row! With the class each day – did front squats (holding the bar in the front rack position – was not in the same place as my port – higher, on the bones). Not pushing the weights but getting full movements in. Felt really, really good to be back. Even on Wednesday when we did the “Karen” workout – 150 wall balls. Some folks finished in 7 minutes. I took 13:32 with a 6 lb ball. The squats left me a bit sore but I just walked the stairs at work to help stretch my legs.

I also stopped tracking myself to my list of goals post-surgery. I just don’t seem to need them anymore. I still believe in them but right now I don’t need them to pull me out of bed and keep me going. I’m doing fine without my goals to pull me along. If you don’t hear from me for a while, posting here, likely means I’m cruising on at my usual 3 x week 5 am class. It’s nice to be back and I look forward to regaining my lost strength.

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