My injuriversary

Ah memories.  One year ago today I herniated the disk in my back.

The worst injury I have ever suffered.  I was on crutches for the first time in my life.

The really annoying part?  I didn’t do anything out of the norm to cause it.  I basically turned to look behind me while I was propping up a bench with my hands in front of me.  That was all it took.  (point learned – always, always, always bring your arms in the direction your are turning your body).

It was kind of odd, because the injury hurt at first, but didn’t feel bad for a couple hours.  Then by the end of the day I could barely move and was crying from the intensity of the pain that went in the distribution of that red line in the photo above.  I didn’t come downstairs for 2 full days.

What I didn’t realize that day was exactly what it was.  At first, we thought it was a pulled muscle and that was the first diagnosis by the doctor, but then as the pain progressed and I began to get sciatica symptoms (aka agony), it was then found out to be a herniated disk.  I ended up with quadriceps atrophy and my left thigh shrank to a full inch smaller than my right thigh – and I could not stop it from happening!  The problem with nerve injuries is that you can physically move the limb around, but without the firing of the nerves themselves, the muscle fibers really aren’t active and will shrink from lack of use.

I panicked a little bit at the thought of gaining weight, but that did not happen.  I actually lost a little weight during the first part of being injured. Interesting, eh?

It was a long recovery, and honestly I never quite got back to normal. That was something I was afraid of and it actually happened.  I think I recovered very well, though.  The key was trying to move as much as I could as soon as I could rather than sitting around. I went back to gentle lifting after 2 weeks.  The only exercises I couldn’t do were squats, anything that was a split leg move, and anything that required bodyweight support like planks and pushups.  So I modified.

I could barely walk, but I was able to get back on the bike in a few weeks, albeit slower than before.  Running took months before it began to feel more normal, but I never got my pre-injury speed back.  I also began feeling more pain again with running since January or so and have since stopped running as of March.

What am I left with a year later? I get an achy back sometimes, especially after running, walking for a long time, or really long periods of biking.  The skin over the inside of my knee and a little of my calf is numb/alternating with hypersensitivity.  (yeah – that is fun and weird).  My left leg is also just a bit weaker than the right, which I notice when doing single-leg exercises.

Something I am also left with?  Fear of another injury.  Having never really had something like this happen before, I didn’t understand chronic pain or lengthy recuperation.  Now I do – and I know how easy it is for something like that to happen.  I am so careful now about how I turn and move with my back, like reaching into the back seat of the car or looking behind me.

I am just very thankful I can bike as much as I want.  I am not sure if running is out of my life completely, but it is on hiatus for now.  I am pretty okay with that as long as I can bike.

Speaking of biking – guess who had their bikes outside today!!!

It was in the 50s this afternoon, so we headed out for a coffee break!

The happy bikers:

Big smile!

A nice 12.5 mile ride.  It was on the roads because the path was mushy and had some icy spots, but a ride nevertheless!  Yippee!!

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21 thoughts on “My injuriversary

  1. Susan

    I will be one happy camper if one year from now I can write a similar post about my injury. I love your honesty about how you’re not back to your old normal. But your hard work and determination to get back to a new kind of normal is nothing short of inspiring. Thanks for this post Lori!
    Susan´s last blog post ..Family Matters

    1. Lori Post author

      You are welcome. People really are pretty resilient. I am sure you will have quite an interesting post to tell about what direction you end up in post injury!

  2. Marisa @ Loser for Life

    Nooooo! It cannot be a year already! I totally remember when that happened to you, Lori!!! You were even working from your bed because you couldn’t move! Sheesh…time flies.

    Glad you got out for a ride today!
    Marisa @ Loser for Life´s last blog post ..Talkin’ Turkey

  3. Helen

    And still. Still with that terrible injury you did not let it sideline you forever, which is what so many people would have done and shows that you really are the Superwoman we think you are!
    Helen´s last blog post ..Tuesday Ten

  4. Kim

    I just yelled “Woo-Hoo” at my computer because I was so happy to see you and John got to take a bike ride (an outside bike ride). I love SPRING!

  5. MB

    I’m so afraid of an injury throwing me off track. So happy you finally got out on the bikes. Your smile says it all. Happy trails…
    MB´s last blog post ..Numbers Game

  6. Matt Kimble

    I am glad to hear you are feeling better. I had a similar issue Sept. 09. I had a fusion of my c6 and c7 due to a ruptured disc. It has not been fun.

  7. Kimberley

    Yahooooooooo to riding outside…love the happy faces!

    I remember when you were in so much pain…I felt terrible for you. I am so glad you are much, much better and I hope you get back to 100%!!!
    Kimberley´s last blog post ..Short and Sweet!

  8. Jane

    I didn’t know you then, Lori, but I can sympathize with your pain. I had a herniated c6 and c7, and it was a year of recovery. I chose not to have surgery, and I recovered, but not quite fully. It was the worse pain I have every had, and I have given birth to three children. I’m so glad you recovered well and didn’t give up on your physical activity. You are a strong person, and I admire you for many reasons!
    Jane´s last blog post ..Reviewing What I Have Been Writing About and Moments of Grace

  9. Shelley B

    I appreciate your honesty, and also can relate quite a lot to your sentence “I didn’t do anything out of the norm to cause it” – that is part of the frustration of my injury, and it helps to be reminded that this kind of random thing happens to other people…not that I want other people to be hurt, but you know. And that you are not completely back to normal is scary, but I love how you had not let what happened stop you from enjoying the physical activity that you love so much.

    Glad you got outside to ride your bike today – and on your injuriversary, to boot! 🙂
    Shelley B´s last blog post ..Wednesday Workout Update – Running Club!

  10. Fran

    I remember this happening to you last year. I understand your fear.
    I’ve got an injury a few years ago at my left leg and still am afraid it’s back if my leg hurts a bit more than usual. It’s all between the ears because the therapist said it wasn’t an injury that would come back.

    Now that’s something I’ve been waiting to see: an outside bike ride! So happy for you guys you finally were able to bike outside again.

  11. Miz

    I saw this on facebook and am a little embarrassed I immediately made it all about me.
    I thought, after reading, I PRAY I HAVE ONE and have a date where Im pretty d*mn close to pain and injury free.

    so so so glad for you.
    Miz´s last blog post ..A kid’s guide to mindful eating

  12. Kelly

    Wow, it’s already been a year? I hate that you had to go through that. My hubby has chronic pain in the neck and it frustrates him. I can only imagine having it in my back! But with the way you work out no one would guess you’ve had an injury!

    YAY for bike rides!! Glad you guys were able to hit the roads. Cupcake ride coming soon, yes? 🙂

  13. Jody - Fit at 53

    I LOVE LOVE that last pic of you! I can’t believe it has been a year! WOW!!!!! So happy you are back at it & yes, I understand how you never would want that to happen again! Working on my own injuries right now! 😉

    Hey, it is in the 50’s here & I am in southern CA!!! OH NO!
    Jody – Fit at 53´s last blog post ..Blogger Causes Happy Bday Jamie Oliver

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