I’ll be honest, I haven’t written an update because I’ve just been going through the motions of daily life and haven’t felt like anything worthwhile had happened to update you on in terms of my recovery.
BUT, then it hit me.
I’m living such a normal life that I’ve been having the conversations with my disability case manager to figure out a transition process off of disability (at least back to part-time work). With that comes a shit ton of emotions (and a whole other blog post).
But, in addition to being able to resume a relatively “normal life”, a few things have happened that I’d like to take time to celebrate.
Get My Butt Moving
So, back in the summer I had to do PT to get my knee into a state that it was fully functional and allowed the stem cells to thrive. I’d go to PT twice a week, doing water and then towards the end land and water. I also would go to yoga a few times a week.
I was working out a lot, but because I just looked at it as part of my recovery process, I didn’t really think about it.
It wasn’t until December rolled around and I realized I was gaining weight (NOT because of the holidays), but because my activities severely dropped. I hadn’t NOT been working out (I mean, I teach yoga so I’m definitely active), but yoga + all my PT was giving me a great workout that I wasn’t even thinking about.
I realized I needed to do something about this since I felt like I was starting to slack on the movement front.
In January, I started back on the elliptical, consistently. I realized that the only thing holding me back from using this machine was ME. Over the past few months, I had proven to myself that my knee was stable, so I couldn’t use that as an excuse. I realized I was just doing the typical “I don’t wanna work out” thing by making up excuses about how I didn’t want to over work my knee. While, 6 months prior in PT, I had been doing SO much more with it.
So I hoped back on the elliptical and I gotta tell you. Some days, I hate getting on that machine (due to pure laziness reasons), but I haven’t had one day where my knee has bothered me because of getting on the machine. Sometimes my energy is low, or my joints are stiff because of my arthritis, but, to date, I haven’t had a problem with AVN pain because of the elliptical.
Now, let’s keep this up Julie!
Stop Holding Back
I started realizing that I put restrictions on myself.
Just like the elliptical, I’ve held myself back thinking something would be “too much” or “I have to take it easy”. When in reality, that’s so not the true. Sure, with my psoriatic arthritis, I will ALWAYS have to pace myself. This is something that won’t change, BUT I have to remember that, in terms of structurally and AVN wise, I need to stop putting limits on myself.
Back in December, I still took my crutch to the Steelers games with me. I truly had been using my crutch AS A CRUTCH. Literally and metaphorically. I realized I needed to STOP. I do not need this crutch. I don’t need it at all.
I’ve since put them away, out of sight, out of mind.
I refuse to pull them out now… Unless my situation would change in the future and I’d HAVE to use it. I’m done.
I AM DONE.
HUGE Traveling Win Times 2
Travel Win 1
June 2012, traveling to Pittsburgh, PA from Chattanooga, TN, through Atlanta, GA was the last time I had traveled without some kind of assistance. Sure, I had a limp something fierce, and was in ridiculous pain that last journey, but I walked it, pulled my own bag and didn’t have to ask for help.
Since then, I’ve had to adjust my traveling a bit. Prior to disability, I had my airport routine down pat. I knew when to leave my house with enough time to slide through security, grab a tea and walk right onto my plane without having to have much downtime. Having to travel with crutches, or mobility issues, definitely threw a wrench in my good old routine. But, over the past few years, I’ve gotten used to a new routine. (Check out my posts I’ve written about chronic illness travel stress and traveling with disabilities lessons learned)
I’ve come to rely on having someone drop me off at the door, airport staff to help me, wheel me from gate to gate, take care of my bag, etc. (Here I even wrote an update on how excited I was to be traveling with one crutch so I could wheel my own bag!)
BUT, on February 29th, 2016 I successfully packed my car, drove myself to the airport, parked in long-term parking, walked to check in, checked my bag (I figured it would make my first trip back walking a little less strenuous), waited in the security line, took the tram myself, got off and went up the escalator (not the elevator) and walked to my gate.
Then! From my gate in Chicago, I walked from the G terminal to the last gate in H.
And furthermore, once I arrived in NYC, I got off the plane, walked down to baggage claim, grabbed my bag,waited in line for a taxi and made it to my hotel in the city.
ALL LIKE A NORMAL, FUNCTIONING 30 YEAR OLD!!!!
Honestly, people in the airport probably thought I was crazy. I had such a smile on my face all day. It was so, so, so, soooooooooo great. I didn’t take it for granted for one millisecond. Not one. I can’t tell you how many times I said “Thank you!!” in my head during that day. Honestly, it brings tears to my eyes.
As I was walking down the terminal in Chicago, I passed by a place where I’ve sat numerous times on a Thursday night eating dinner. I pictured myself, 5-6 years younger, sitting there eating some Chinese food. How I couldn’t have possibly fathomed how my life would take such a drastic turn and how different it would in the future. How simply walking down the corridor of that terminal meant so much to me, something I’d done so many times before, but didn’t give a second thought to before. As I was boarding my flights, I purposely made myself be one of the last passengers onboard. For the last few years, I’ve always made sure to be one of the first ones on so that I had time and room to maneuver my way onto the plane and back to my seat. Making sure to take my credit cards and important items out of my crutch bag, before handing them over to the flight attendants to stow or compressing them to ensure they fit in the overhead compartment. This time I had to just worry about my bag and my coat.
Something felt missing… And rightfully so.
Travel Win 2
My last trip up to NYC was in November 2015 – just a few short months prior to this trip. (Read about it here) And at that time, I took 1 crutch and walked A LOT around the city. Well, I guess I should say “a lot” is relative. It was a lot to me (according to my iPhone, about 7-9k steps). By the end of the day, my knee didn’t hurt, but my feet and ankles were pretty darn swollen.
This trip up to NYC I walked SO MUCH. And guess what? Without a crutch! And guess what else what? No pain! My feet and ankles experienced no swelling, but I will say both of my knees were a LITTLE bit swollen at the end of the day. I attribute this to my psoriatic arthritis, not my AVN. It was the first time since April 2012, that I took the subway myself, walked down SoHo myself, and felt like a typical person just walking down the streets of Manhattan. I can’t tell you how excited this made me! I love being in the city, and feeling the freedom I once had, made it even more exciting.
I’ve Come SO Far
To arrive at where I am today, there has been so many things which have occurred.I can’t even tell you how full of gratitude my heart is. For the prayers, for the well wishes, for the help, the support, the love.
And it’s been a battle on my side as well. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t think about walking and not using a crutch everyday.
Every single time I walk up the steps, EVERY SINGLE TIME (I’m not exaggerating), I think about how grateful I am to walk up the steps and not have to hang on or take one step at a time. Walking up the middle of the steps, in full control, is such an amazing feeling. I honestly can’t even explain it. I feel it in my heart, every. single. time. And honestly, I hope I never stop thinking that or feeling that.
There are so many things that we take for granted on a daily basis that we don’t realize until they’re taken away from us. I know I take so many things for granted, but when I’m mindful and am truly living in the moment, I remember to say thank you and take advantage of what I have.
My life is so different from it was just one year ago. Reading this post, I remember taking my last Humira injection. I was nervous about what would happen, but had this inherited feeling that everything was going to be ok and work out as it should be.
I can’t wait for my next MRI to see if there has been any other progress in my bone. Not that 40% isn’t amazing – because holy shit, 40% regrowth was mind-blowing and helped me get a more stable knee, but I can’t help but be curious!
Next month will be 1 year since I had my Regenexx procedure. ONE FREAKING YEAR!!!! Time flies when you’re having fun and are not in pain! I can’t even believe it’s been one year. I still feel like I’m looking for my answer or I’m waiting for the procedure to occur. I’m eternally grateful to the Centeno Schultz clinic, Dr. Pitts and the Regenexx procedure for helping me get my life back. FOREVER grateful.
Wishing You A Pain Free Day!
Looking for more Regenexx related posts?
Monthly Recovery Posts: