Getting Surgery?

Getting Surgery?

My response to a question regarding recovery:

I don't have any idea how your surgery/back problems relate to mine but I'm going to assume that they are somewhat similar. I had trouble training, walking, sitting, sleeping... living. I had severe nerve impingement, sciatic pain and massive leg pain on both sides all the way down to the foot. However, it did give me a good excuse to fly first class...I just told me wife I needed more room. More room for free alcohol.

In line with "advice" I can't tell you what to do but I can tell you what I did.  Be prepared to recover; Train as hard as humanly possible. Squat, push the prowler, deadlift - whatever you can do to get your body strong AS HELL before you go under. It sucked most days (all days, really) but I just told myself that I wouldn't make it any worse. Yes, it would feel like death...but it was going to hurt no matter what I did or didn't do. This is not to prove you are a badass. I don't think I'm a badass: I shit in clean water, have all my limbs and live in a country that has limitless grocery stores.

The pain was tolerable because I knew I couldn't make it any worse - it was liberating.  And knowing that it was going to pay me back was a worthwhile investment mentally, emotionally and physically.  I was walking around the hospital less than 24 hours after my surgery, doing small laps for about a 1/2 mile. I remember having to squat off the bed and it being one of the hardest things I've ever done physically. I was determined to do it myself and I prepared for it like a max lift. And it pretty much was a max lift. Be stubborn, not stupid.


Once I was home and somehow walked up my porch steps and upstairs to my bedroom (again, max well as getting into our truck), I stayed in bed for a couple days. As soon as I could, I began walking 1/2 miles, several times a day. Every time I walked, I got home and did mini-band shoulder presses, curls, up rows - anything to keep my upper body moving. So three times/day, walking and band work. 

After about a week, I started wearing a 10lbs weight vest and did all my walks like this. And kept walking and walking and walking. I really haven't stopped walking.

3 months after the surgery, I was healed. 6 months after, I was given the green light to not be a total asshole. It took more than a year to feel normal when squatting/deadlifting, maybe longer. It didn't hurt so much; it felt insanely tight and "weird".  The deadlift was easier and I've heard the reverse as well, so be prepared for your body to choose a preference.  

My surgeon was one of the few doctors I've met that wasn't a total blowhard/pussy. He asked me flat out, "Do you want to get better?" I said, "Yes." He followed, "Then you'll be 100%."

The first 3 months after the surgery, I'd go in for a check-up and I'd be in the waiting room, surrounded by people who had very similar surgeries.  It killed me to see so many people barely walking, barely moving, horribly out of shape and in terrible pain. I refused to be like that. Granted, some people have it worse and don't have much of a choice. However, there was no way I'd end up like that. None. I was ferocious with my rehab and desire fueled my ACTION to get healthy and be strong again.

I 100% believe that you will infinitely improve your recovery from surgery when you go in super strong and in amazing shape. I wanted my legs so damn strong and my lungs so "big" that nothing could stop me; I wanted to feel like a tank. If you've already had your surgery prior to reading this, you are coming out well behind the 8-ball. So whatever you can do, do it. Make your arms strong, shoulders strong...everything that can be strong should be strong.  Incidentally, this is also my advice for people who are not injured.

I understand that my decades of physical training and mental training payed off. But I learned that being strong mentally and physically, two things you have total control over, will prepare you for just about anything that life throws at you.

I don't know what you can or cannot do - find a way to be strong as shit. Find a way to be relentless in your pursuit of strength. One lyric that stayed with me through all of this was from the song, "Damage, Inc." by Metallica. I kept repeating this line to myself, over and over again, "Fuck it all and fucking no regrets."

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