It has now been 39 days since my surgery. I have been free of narcotics for 10 days and since the thoracentesis on the 12th, I have felt more and more like myself. As you might imagine, this means that my mind has turned to the future because I no longer must focus so intently on every single moment (just to get through the day).
I established a big goal this past Friday in deciding I will return to work on October 29. That will be just over 6.5 weeks after my surgery.
I have also been trying to establish my baseline fitness level so that I can set a plan for improvement. After two days of walking about 3.4 mph (1.6 mile walk), I believe this is my baseline. Prior to the surgery I was walking 3.8 to 4.2 mph; so the goal will be to get back to that level and then begin jogging. My shoulder injury – from weeks prior to the surgery – did not mend while I was recovering and it appears that I will need to do considerable rehab. I am stretching it out now and will begin more active rehab in a few weeks. In addition, my sternum (cut during surgery) should be healed in 18 days (that will be 8 weeks). At that point, I will begin light resistance training. Yes, I will have to start with the small weights. I have considerable muscle atrophy in the upper body and some in the lower body as well. Also, I put my bodybugg back on this afternoon. I may not start logging food yet, but want to have some idea what my metabolism is up to these days. I have my work cut out for me.
I was making my protein bars today and thinking about how much I love the fall. Usually I enjoy my football team (Auburn Tigers); however, they have only won one game so far. I am thrilled that my baseball team (Detroit Tigers) is headed to the World Series. But there are other things I love: apples, crisp air, the holidays, and the fall colors. The autumn also brings wind and storms. For the past two days it has been very windy here with a forecast of fairly rapidly dropping temperatures and even the possibility of a few snowflakes. While I love the changes, I feel as though I missed a season. Most of the summer was spent working out details related to my health and then planning surgery and now it is fall.
Fall is often seen as a time when things die or become dormant. However, this autumn will be my opportunity to begin the rest of my life. With the aneurysm repaired (and the Dacron tube should be completely covered by my tissue by mid December), a healthy heart, and no other health complications (other than the issue with my shoulder), I can begin to move forward. I have spent too long treading water and can now begin to swim, to run, to ski, and to do whatever I want to do. I still have pain, tightness, discomfort, and tire easily, but I know that this will pass. My hope has returned and I feel stronger and more determined than ever.