As you all know, I have spent my summer break working diligently in the pool to improve function, strength and endurance. Except for a few weeks here and there, I have pretty much been at the pool everyday with weekly check-ins with my physio.

Looking back at where I was mid November and then looking at where I am now 3 months later, I feel amazing! I have worked really hard to improve everything and my physio is really happy with the effort I have put into getting to where I am. It wasn't easy, in fact the first few times it was so hard I cried but now I can spend an hour in the pool and cope very well.
I started out very small, not even able to get to half a length of anything but now I can do repeated lengths of even the more painful movements. And now can even keep up with a moderate to high intensity aquafitness class!
I am swimming lengths, can go on forever just kicking and go faster than some people swimming freestyle. When I am hopping and running in the pool I have symmetry comparing left to right and apparently I make it look really easy! I have worked hard and now have improved my right hip flexion, something I have struggled with since my surgery 2 years ago.

I really like working in the water, it decreases the pain flaring compared to working on land and I find I can push myself much harder in the water as a result. Also its useful, you cant fall and hurt yourself in the water-just end up with a mouthful if you loose your balance! I'm able to control the dorsiflexion at my ankle now although I still don't have comfortable range, I'm sure that will come. I can walk on my foot properly now whereas before I was walking on the lateral side all the time. I have also pretty much got rid of my limp, it only comes back when I am really tired and in lots of pain. This is super news for me as I have had issues with this for so long now that its like I want to celebrate loosing my limp!

I had my last physio session on Tuesday to work out a game plan for the coming university year, around my studies, I am going to try out ballet, go to an aquafitness class, fit in another pool session and a walk on the beach each week. Comparing it to what I did last year it seems daunting but I need to keep up the physical activity to improve my confidence that I can do this. It doesn't matter if some weeks I don't fit it all in but it is something to work towards and you know what? I cant wait to go back down and start! I have many coping mechanisms put in place and lifelines if I need them, but I want to see that I can do this on my own, I am an independent young woman and I dont see why I cant with the help and support of my family and friends.

I really recommend trying out a warm water pool if you can, its a relaxing environment where you can push yourself and the pain flares are not quite so bad. The water supports your body and decreases the amount you are weightbearing which can be helpful while creating a certain amount of resistance which makes your muscles work. It can be so fun too, makes therapy more like a game than hard work and that has to be a plus!


Dave Schultz said...

I love hearing your progress, Ale. You look radiant in your pic from last week, btw.

Tough Cookie said...

Wow! I am so happy for you and so jealous (in a good way)!!!! Standing in the water is just as painful as standing on land for me and the kicking really hurts, too. Keep up the good work! I'm so proud of you!

Alessea said...

Thanks so much Dave, its nice to know you keep in touch.

Maria, I wish that you were at a stage that this would have helped you too. I feel so guilty about my progress lately. In the beginning standing was just as bad as land and kicking was a nightmare but somehow I have got used to the pain and can mostly switch it off. Some days I cant but my physio stands there and says just carry on and I find that almost every time I can do just as she says. Sending hugs to you.

Lisa Moon said...

Wow, that's so wonderful, my dear! I'm thrilled you've been able to make such great progress and only hope that I can report the same sometime soon...

We have a warmer pool here in town which I've been to and have promised myself to return to asap. It's great to be able to walk about in the warm water and use muscles more 'normally'...

SO good to read about your pursuit of dance and other things in your life. I'm so very happy these things are coming together so well for you!

As always, gentle but huge HUGS,