Friday, August 28, 2009

7 Weeks - First Steps

Dr. Mayo said on Tuesday that the gaps in my pelvis have filled in with enough healthy bone to support my weight while walking. He suggested that I start bearing my full weight on the right side but continue to use two crutches for balance and because my muscles are weak. He told me that after I build up my muscles I'll be able to drop down to one crutch, then a cane, then walk unassisted in a few weeks.

Never known for my patience, I have been trying to walk without crutches whenever possible since I got home from the appointment on Tuesday. My balance is just fine. Due to muscle fatigue I still use two crutches for long distances and one crutch for medium distances. Oh the joy of one crutch; I can go to the corner coffee shop at work and carry a latte back to my desk all by myself! My caffeine addiction, which has been dormant for 7 weeks, is now back in full swing.

When I got home Tuesday night I took a few steps without crutches, figuring it would be a disaster. I made it across the room lurching like a drunken sailor. After that I couldn't help myself; I started walking without crutches whenever I was going a short distance. Yesterday I left the crutches in the car when I got home from work, and I've been walking totally unassisted in the house for two days. I've been going up and down stairs normally (just 2 steps to get in and out of the house, and 14 if I want to go down to the basement). My right quad is a bit sore, but I can't even call it pain. I am limping due to weakness, but it's getting better each day. I can lurch really fast when necessary, although I do prefer to go slowly and concentrate on NOT lurching.

The first couple of days I could not stand on my right leg without support - it was just too weak. Starting today I can balance on just the right leg for about 10 seconds with no other support. I did this several times throughout the day - in the shower and while waiting for the elevator at work. I also tried toe raises. I could do just one the first day and now I'm up to three on my right leg with no assistance from crutches or the left leg.

I've noticed that my lordosis (swayback) appears to be much improved. Since diagnosis I've thought the mysterious swayback was my body's way of providing a little extra femoral coverage where none naturally existed. Now that I have normal coverage, my body appears to be realigning itself. I'm shocked at how much realignment has occurred in such a short period of time. My lower back, which has almost always hurt throughout my life, doesn't hurt any more and feels more stable than ever. My clothes hang differently -- almost normally! -- straight down my back, something that has not been the case since I was a teenager, when I started recognizing that I had a deformity but did not know the cause.

I can't wait to get some real strengthening and stretching exercises from PT on Tuesday. Meanwhile I will continue these first steps. Of course walking through the house with hands free means I have no more excuses for not cleaning, so it looks like tomorrow I'll be spending some quality time with the vacuum.

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