Staying In Shape While Recovering From Surgery



I just celebrated my one-year anniversary at Professional PT. Over the past year they have helped me recover through very serious herniated disks in the two areas and I injured a disk so badly a piece of it broke off. I freaked at first till a little googling showed the body would just reabsorb it. Then I tore the labrum in both hips. My right hip was causing horrible pain and had to be reattached through arthroscopic surgery. The hip still pinches a bit. From there I’ve had a series of big bone spurs in joints. Geez, it’s sucks getting old. The first spur was in my ankle joint causing swelling and a lack of mobility. Dr. Rose removed that spur arthroscopically and I didn’t even need PT.

The physical therapist kept saying all my issues were related since everything was in my right side. We just had to slowly take care of each one.

My feet have always seemed to have some sort of pain. I live NYC and walk everywhere. But this pain was another giant bone spur in my big toe joint preventing me from bending my toe. So painful. This one couldn’t be dealt with arthroscopic surgery. This time my toe had to be opened up. I have a growing closet of orthopedic gear from ortho shoes, boots, hip braces to crutches.

Two and a half weeks ago I had another spur removed my left shoulder. Finally an injury in the other side. I had planned on no more surgeries after the toe, but this spur had to go or it risked shredding the rotator cuff. The doc described it as a “big tooth.”

I have managed for the most part to keep some type of exercise going but I really don’t feel like I’m in the shape I used to be.  But I ran into the head of group fitness at Equinox and he said, “You’re the only person I know that can go through all these injuries and not gain weight.” I don’t think I’ve remained the same weight but I haven’t ballooned up like I could have. Years ago I hurt my back badly and laid around depressed eating ice cream.


So how did I keep the fat off from all these injuries and surgeries?

Start by planning meals for the week. 
I have found one of the biggest aids to staying on a diet or even just plain eating healthier for the week is to plan ahead.

I like to eat salads for lunch and they will run about $10 in New York City. So I go to Trader Joe’s and pick up all the fixings. Then I will go home and wash, chop and place everything into individual containers for the week. Not only do I eat healthier I think I save a little money.

• I made cooked brussel sprouts and they make for an excellent added green to any salad and they are high in vitamin C and vitamin K. They contain folatemanganesevitamin B6, dietary fiber, choline, copper, vitamin B1,potassium, phosphorus and omega-3 fatty acids.

• I boiled small potatoes to add a nice texture and vitamins B6, potassium, vitamin C and manganese. I bought a small bag filled with a variety of types of potatoes

• Jicama adds crunch and vitamins like folates, riboflavin and thiamin.

• Red, orange and yellow peppers add color and vitamin A, C, B6. I’m not a fan of green peppers.

• I adore chickpeas have phytonutrients that might help as an anti-inflammatory nutrient. These little guys also have zinc, folate, copper and iron. And as a vegetarian I need all the iron I can get.

Once everything is clean and cut it’s very easy to assemble a fresh salad in the morning before work.

I love this YouTube channel: Clean and Delicious with Dani Spies.

Get all the food temptations out of the house. 
This was easier to do when both my kids were away at college but now my daughter is home living with me and she has a HUGE sweet tooth. For example, she baked a chocolate cake last weekend. I’ve been good and not touched it. But she also has Cheetos and other junk food in the house. I have to have super resistance to avoid eating her sweet stash. 

Workout what body parts that you can.
I did upper body while rehabbing my hip. I’m sitting on a recumbent bike waiting this post since I’m still in rehab for my shoulder. You just need to do what ever you can as something is better than nothing. I counted walking on crutches as exercise. It’s so hard and I can’t imagine how people use crutches who haven’t worked out prior to needing them. 

Don’t eat after 8pm.
I’m not always successful with this one but it does make a difference.

Add only one challenge a week.
Rather than trying to change everything all at once, add one thing a week and only one thing till it becomes a habit. Then move on to adding something else to your regimen.

Keep doing the PT exercises long after the body part feels better.
I’ve been doing the back stretches for a year now and the hip exercises for almost 10 months. I think the half hour a few times a week is so worth not having those issues again. And I’m working on knowing when to quit at the first sign of pain.

Hopefully I can remain injury-free the rest of the year.




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