Small steps

Me and the walker, making progress at my first PT appointment FIrst lesson learned: Physical therapy is not the same as going to the gym. There is no one to beat. I didn’t even feel guilty for not breaking a sweat. And my therapist was like a counselor, cheerleader and doctor all at once.

At our appointment this morning, (my husband has been there for everything. It’s his, too.) we got the chance to tell Amy our story. How I ended up with diastasis symphysis pubis, the time between that day and surgery and the biggest challenges along the way were all laid out for her. And it sounded crazy.

Even to us.

But today, all of that was solidly behind us. Today was about looking forward. Today was an example of that cliche of small steps leading to big things. For us, it is true. My last scheduled physical therapy appointment is Dec. 20. That’s two days before the Little Guy turns 11 months old.

We were there for a little less than an hour. She stretched my legs and talked to me a lot about the pain in my right SI joint. Then, one of the stretches Amy did on my right leg shifted things. I felt a pop and then relief. And this time the relief has lasted. She explained that the muscles that stabilize the SI will be a focus of our work over the next eight weeks. My legs have gotten week, and so have my abdominals. All of them. And that means the joint that connects my right leg to my spine is weak, too. If it stays that way, I will never feel as strong and capable as I did.

Amy took our goals seriously: to hike, camp, even be physically able to run. And she said she thought I would do well. She had me do several exercises and made sure we both understood how they worked, since we’ll be a team at home. Then she checked out my walker, put me in a gate belt and said “We’re gonna get you standing.”

She held the belt to make sure I didn’t fall, but I did the work of moving the waker and taking small steps. I went toward the door and back to our bay. I sat again for a minute while she printed my exercise instructions. Then she had me walk to the door. All the way to the door. My husband took pictures and even a video. We were both smiling fill-your-whole-face smiles.

What an incredible feeling! Back on my feet, but timid, relearning what it feels like to stand. Telling my legs to move was a strange feeling. While standing or on the table stretching, it felt foreign to have to tell my legs to move. I was learning something again that I thought I already knew. I’m guessing that will be weird for a few visits.

But I feel pretty good now, eight hours later. My back feels better than it has in ages. Maybe as good as it has felt this time of day since last December, when I started needing my husband to massage it several times a week before bed.

At home, as long as I have my walker and someone with me, I can start walking some. I should stand several times a day, and wait at least 10 seconds to know I have my legs under me before I start.

We’ll work on stairs soon, and then I’ll be able to take a shower, move out of the living room into our bedroom upstairs and finish unpacking our apartment.

So much to look forward to. So many more steps to take.

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