Monday and Tuesday were fantastic. I kept repeating to Duncan how good my body felt and it kept surprising me how I had no pain, no discomfort, not even any stiffness - not one small sign that my spine has been damaged for the last 15 years. I cannot fully describe the sweet feeling of waking up without pain, the dizzying heights my mood can reach if I have managed to get through to lunchtime without the radiating pain I dread. But I felt like that on Monday night, even after 45 mins on the cross trainer (and just saying that makes me frustrated - I never thought I'd be one of those people having to go to the gym to get a work-out). Tuesday I managed a swim, kept short by a pounding headache, side-effect of a long day at school.
Wednesday I wasn't quite so lucky. I was also lazy. I skipped my quick Pilates routine in the morning, swapping it instead for a few more minutes in bed with Duncan, who was flying off to a triathlon course in London that afternoon. Big mistake! I could tell it wasn't going my way at around 10 o'clock when sitting at my desk started becoming impossible. I stood up and walked around for the rest of the day (god only knows what my pupils must think). At 4, walking home seemed to help and I felt well enough to take the mtb out for a quick ride on the mountain.
The evening was just right, the light was clear and bright and the sea looked impossibly high on the horizon. I smiled all the way round. I even sang (the benefit of mtbiking in a country where everyone else uses the mountain just as a dumping ground - there was no one around for miles). Of course only when going downhill and my breathing allowed. There was stiffness when I got home and a bit of discomfort but I took it easy and managed to sleep without painkillers.
Thursday was another glorious day so I decided to go for a "run". I guess 2 years ago it wouldn't qualify as running (pace of 6' 40"/km) but now it is the most I have been able to do since last time I was brave enough to try running, on New Year's day. I managed about 16 mins before the pain started. I walked and ran home... and kicked every stone on my way. I knew from experience that if I got pain during the run the worse was yet to come. As the evening progressed I got more and more discomfort and the pain started hitting my lower leg. A functional pain, a pain I could live with, in fact a pain I HAVE been living with, but a pain I dreaded feeling, because it was proof that I wasn't well yet - that I was still a long way from healing.
Read this on one of the tri-forums about herniated disc pain and wanted to share:
It's interesting that when you have this sort of condition you develop an acute sence of all sorts of different levels of pain all across the scale. The pain that sends you to bed. The pain that is just there. The pain that is strong but leaves you functional. The pain that you know you are going to need some medication to get through your day... and so on. You learn to deal with it all and find your own little routines for coping. Every now and then you also get days when you are completely and totally pain free - it's a depp and delicious feeling. You wonder how you got there, but you are not sure. "
I think I am moving forward. My pain has been less disabling. I am mostly able to do what I want (apart from runnig and riding for extended amounts of time... oh... and sitting down, though last week I managed the cinema with no pain). In fact I know I am moving forward: I have more good days than bad these days. And I have those delicious pain free days that lift me up and keep me going.