The struggle is real

The pool opened again this week, after more than 2 months of being shut. So guess where I went?! Yep… I was on the doorstep the moment the opened for the first time on Thursday!

At the moment, swimming is still the only thing that I can do that creates any type of cardio fitness effect. It isn’t pain free, but there’s less pain swimming than almost any other activity that I try.

Cycling is hard work. I really struggle to ride without causing incredible pain in my affected leg. To begin with it was o my calf pain, but now my pain comes from the hip or higher so a lot of my cycling has to be single leg. I just can’t get enough consistent effort in without pain to even raise my heart rate. I am beginning to question whether it’s even worth it trying this.

However, swimming isn’t pain free either and I expected it to be. Whether I kick, or don’t, the longer I’m swimming the more the pain builds in my affected leg. I eventually have to stop and stand up for a bit to get sensory feeling back and allow the nerve pain to ease. But… I can tolerate swimming for longer than I can cycling.

So, I went swimming again two days later because I couldn’t contain my excitement!

This time I swam constantly – for 2000m (80 lengths of a 25m pool). I looked back in my fitness records and this was not unusual, I was knocking out some serious km in the pool before lock down came along.

Now aside from the (I’ve no idea why) foot pain, I felt quite good otherwise.

However, I was asleep on the couch by 8pm that evening! 😂 (kinda a good signs because it means I actually did some meaningful exercise!) However it’s amazing how much fitness you loose in a short space of time! And it wasn’t for the want of trying! I was churning out 80-110km a week with my wonky one legged cycling.. it’s not that satisfying though and I couldn’t do it at a consistent level to raise my heart rate enough to call it a cardio exercise!

Why do people carrying serious injuries end up overweight / immobile?

Watch out… soap box moment coming…

I feel like there’s a bit of stigma surrounding people who have an injury or need surgery. Quite often the person ends up in a catch 22 predicament because they are told they need to lose weight to have surgery, but you can’t lose weight if everything you do causes pain.

I have damage to 3 discs in my lumbar spine that’s cause nerve entrapment. I have no clue why or what caused it. It affects my left (non TKR) leg in a major way and that leg is almost unusable at the moment. I feel even more immobile, unfit and disabled than when I was waiting for a knee replacement. I can’t walk very far at all (I was just deliberating today whether I would be eligible again for a disability badge!) riding my bike cause pain and swimming causes pain. This is an even worse situation that Pre TKR.

And the drugs I’m on to (try to) keep this all under control are frightening. Waaaay more drugs than pre TKR. All this in fact.. daily. And it doesn’t completely control things.

  • Nerve pain meds
  • Muscles relaxants
  • Anti inflammatory meds
  • Paracetamol
  • Sleeping tablets
  • Opiate based pain meds

So back to the original question… I was fit before hand, my ‘normal’ like was quite active and I’m trying my bloody damndest to keep as active as I can but I’m already beginning to feel like a bit of a fraud Personal trainer when I’m in this physical state.

I can totally see why someone who didn’t have a fitness lifestyle before their injury could end up in a massive hole of depression and inactivity.

So, before you judge those people – stop for a minute and think.

Put yourself in those shoes.

Pain all the time. Pain when you walk, pain when you don’t, pain when you cycle, pain when you don’t, pain when you swim, pain when you don’t. Pain sitting watching tv, pain when lying in bed trying to sleep.

Imagine that as your new normal. Then reassess what you thought about those people who might have been rejected for surgery because of their weight, fitness level, whatever reason it might be.