Hi everyone… I just wanted to share some experiences I have had over the past few months from injury to depression to recovery to getting back in to riding to another injury, etc…
For anyone who does not know me very well, I have been off the bike since August 3rd with a back injury. I had a collapsed disc injury back in January 2013 that I will have to live with for life. My L5 disc spacing is deteriorating and will never get better. The ortho doctor told me I will have to live with this for the rest of my life. He told me it will happen again, and it will be painful. He did not recommend surgery though, because the pain is not a daily nuisance in my life. I had ‘another incident’ and the pain was horrible enough to keep me off the bike and go to physical therapy 2x a week. But, unless I’m living with the pain daily, he recommends I just keep doing what I’m doing.
We, as athletes or fitness buffs (whatever you choose to call yourselves), are not used to being sidelined. I was extremely depressed during my injury and was in such severe pain that just walking from my couch to the kitchen took every ounce of my energy. I literally looked like a 100 year old woman, taking baby steps because the pain was so terrible. I can honestly say I never wish any of you this type of pain. That being said… the depression and sadness I experienced was spiraling and I never thought I’d be able to ride again (yes, I am that dramatic!) But it’s true! Unless it happens to you, you have no idea what it feels like and how devastating it is to your mental state.
That being said… flash forward to a week ago, and I am finally getting the doc’s orders to come back on the bike… slowly. I rode both Tuesday and Thursday night social rides last week. I rode slowly and only rode for 20 - 25 miles each time. For any of us who bicycle all the time, that’s easy!! Well, I felt great until Friday. My back is fine, but now my left knee is back to giving me problems and again, I’m being told to stay off the bike for a little by my physical therapist.
I am going to the ortho doctor again next week to discuss next steps in my knee recovery, but for now I thought I would share with you my frustrations. It’s really hard for active people to sit along the sidelines and not be involved, to not be able to just jump on the bike and ride, ride, ride till my heart’s content. But, for the long-term benefit, I am following doctors orders.
Please, if there’s anything I’ve learned from this experience is this… make sure you take good care of your bodies. I bicycled for more than 6 years and never stretched before or after my rides. I ate well, I did circuit training, etc… but I never added stretching to my workout. Please make sure you take the time to stretch a few times a week. I know many of you have touted yoga, and I am working that into my weekly routine… although it’s not one of my favorite things, I feel I will grow to like it more as it does give me a feeling of inner peace.
I’m sorry if I’ve been out of the peloton and unavailable… I know some of you have been keeping in touch. But for those of you who didn’t know… now you do. This injury had really gotten to me this time, and until I can get my knee in good shape, I’m afraid I won’t be able to take the lead and help as much as I have in the past. I’m counting on all of you to use the website to communicate with each other, since I may not be able to send out messages as frequently as in the past.
Thanks for listening everyone… and please… keep pedaling! Just work in some stretching, core exercises and strength training. Add some dimensions to your cycling routines and hopefully you won’t have the issues I’ve been dealing with.