Turning the Corner

You be the judge. I think I have made significant progress in the last 7 weeks.
You be the judge. I think I have made significant progress in the last 7 weeks.

A few blogs ago, I questioned whether or not back surgery was a good idea. I’m still wondering. Maybe not as much or as actively, but I do wonder a bit. I’m not sure how or why, but the hip ache that kept waking me up at four in the morning seems to have abated some. It’s not like I have been able to take a break from planes, trains and automobiles, as I seem to find more modes of transportation to cart my ass around (city to city, I’m running my rhyme). Airplane, rental car, electric cart, buses, yak; funny, my hip hurts as I write this. For some strange reason, perhaps time, I have experienced less pain and less swelling.

As I mentioned a few blogs ago, I am really tired of taking pills. Hydrocodone, prednisone, naproxen, ibuprofen, bourbon (how’d that get in there) – I am sick of it all. Lately, I have been able to drop this down to when I really, really need it, which hasn’t been that often.

I have been back on the exercise tip for about seven weeks now. June 17 was the six weeks post-op mark. I spent a week and a half/two weeks doing bodyweight only exercises. You wouldn’t think that this would be challenging. Well, I learned how to do a wall-sit. Wall sits can kiss my ass. I tried everything – squats, push-ups, lunges, planks…any bodyweight only exercise I could find that didn’t involve bending at the waist except “good mornings.” (Who names these things?) So, no crunches, sit ups…nothing crazy. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that a bodyweight only workout isn’t challenging.

I then started to get back into my weight lifting regimen. I dropped the weight. I really went light. I felt a twinge or two here and there but never felt anything that made me stop and reconsider what I was doing. I have gradually increased the weight. My strength has returned in seven weeks. In fact, in many regards I am stronger than I was when I blew out the disc at L4L5. I am pushing more weight than I was before on many exercises. And, I will NEVER do another dead lift as long as I live.

I can’t quite get the diet right at the moment. Work is in the way a bit as far as that is concerned. My weight is up just a twitch. Muscle weighs more than fat. I’d love to know how much lean muscle I’ve added, if any. My own indulgences are still an issue. I have enjoyed too much bread lately. However, if you look at the comparison photos, I think I’m doing okay considering my carb/protein/fat ratios are off.

I highly recommend the Couch to 5K app for those just starting to run or those getting back into it.
I highly recommend the Couch to 5K app for those just starting to run or those getting back into it.

Many of you may have seen my countdown to July 29. Three months after microdiscectomy surgery, my surgeon said I could start running again. He said to make it more of a jog/walk. Well, it was time to download the Couch to 5K app again. I am no in the middle of Week 3 of this app’s program. I’m really enjoying the interval training. I have a 5K to run in a month on Saturday, Sept. 12. If Monday’s session was any indication, I should be ready. I doubt I’ll best 28:55, the official time from my last organized 5K, but I should be able to run the thing non-stop.

I think my biggest problem right now is fear of re-injury. I am afraid to do too much. I am sure that some of this is a healthy respect for what I have already been through and the fact that I do not desire to repeat it. I’ve only just started exercises that involve bending at the waist – all core strengthening – leg lifts, V-ups, sit-ups, etc. I am extremely careful tossing barbells and dumbbells around. I have been experimenting with exercise ball craziness and I am able to do exercises I have never tried before.

I can actually do this now.
I can actually do this now.

As I mentioned, I m definitely getting stronger and I am a little surprised at the progress I’ve made in seven weeks. I haven’t been able to as much barbell bench press as I’d like, so I have been doing it dumbbell style. I have gradually increased the weight for this and incline pec flyes. I have amped up the biceps and triceps weight too. I think I actually see my deltoids now. My chest is bigger and more defined. I think I am defying gravity. If I am not mistaken my pecs are riding a bit higher.

I have even managed to get in a few two-a-days of late. I think tomorrow is going to be one of those days.

A few week’s ago my surgeon’s nurse offered to try to get me in for another MRI, just to make sure they didn’t miss anything. I thought long and hard about this. If something was amiss, why am I am able to stand or walk for hours on end without having to sit down because of excruciating pain and numbness? I decided, for the time being, to just let sleeping dogs lie and plow through.

Now, if I could just do something about this wretched belly fat. Maybe if I could lay off the damn carbs and stick to a high protein diet I’d be able to shed this spare tire or hot water bottle or whatever this is covering my abs. I’d like to build up my quads some. My belly fat is a real source of anger and frustration. But then again, when you look at the rest of me it’s all still a work in progress. I can’t say I am happy or satisfied with anything.


1. having an undue fascination with oneself; vain.
2. Psychoanalysis. tending to derive erotic gratification from admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes.
– Dictionary.com

Body image is such a huge issue for me. I have written about this ad nauseam. I don’t want to just look good in a suit, I want to like what I see in the mirror. Does this make me narcissistic? Probably. Maybe I have “body dysmorphic disorder.” I don’t think I quite fit the definition for this, well, maybe, partially. I am not going to go out and have cosmetic surgery. I’m nuts, but I am not that nuts. I actually take great pride in the fact that I have not used a whole lot of chemistry to lose weight or get in shape (I’m in shape all right, think wet paper bag).

Body dysmorphic disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw in your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. But to you, your appearance seems so shameful that you don’t want to be seen by anyone.

When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely obsess over your appearance and body image, often for many hours a day. Your perceived flaw causes you significant distress, and your obsession impacts your ability to function in your daily life. You may seek out numerous cosmetic procedures or excessively exercise to try to “fix” your perceived flaw, but you’re never satisfied.

-Mayo Clinic

I wasn’t sure if I’ve made any visual progress until I saw the pictures. I can tell I am getting stronger. That much is obvious. Maybe it’s the lighting in the master bath, but I see the same thing in the mirror time and time again.

Have I turned a corner with this back issue? Hell if I know. I think I may have. If you hear me screaming in pain at 4 a.m., then you’ll know I haven’t.

Just know this, no matter what I write, no matter what I say, I am addicted to exercise and I am too obsessed to stop. I’m just not crazy enough to do anything too stupid.