One Step At A Time
I am getting ahead of myself. Sure it seems like surgery has gone well and the early weeks of rehab are under my belt; even the surgical scars are largely healed - Mrs Cavell helpfully removing the dressings under telephone direction from the hospital. Added to which I am now in week three of physio under the forensic microscope of Fiona Troupe (Six Physio) and my old Cyclefit colleague, Shaun Rouse (Physiolistic). Both Fiona and Shaun are challenging me in different ways - Fiona is all about obsessive detail around movement and core control. Shaun is trying to add balance and strength into my strength and conditioning diet. I am very lucky to have a great rehab team, with Alex Fugallo ready to step in if the pain ratchets up.
A Million Steps To Fusion
It is mildly gratifiying to add daily physio exercises into my mobilisation (walking) programme that I have been following since getting home from hospital. Walking is a significant component of spine fusion surgery - my surgeon, Mr Tucker went out of his way to reinforce the message that 'loaded bone is healthy bone' - and it is my job to try and walk a million steps over the next few months, to encourage the stimulation of new bone to grow in and around the cages, screws and rods (pictured). The need to move and specifically walk, leads to the logical conclusion that spring or summer is the most ideal time to have back surgery. Last time my surgery was in the autumn, and as a consequence I was trying to mobilise in winter with a growling lung infection. It was a fundamentally negative and destructive time.
Ultimately the previous round of previous surgery failed precisely because there was no bone fusion at the T12-L2 levels. And the prosaic truth of the matter is that unless I achieve post-operative fusion around the new metalwork, the thoracic-lumbar junction will not be stable enough to allow me to live without pain never mind ride a bike again. It is that simple. In truth I won't find out if there is any evidence of fusion for a few months yet, so patience is required, especially because at the time of writing I still can't bend down to put my own shoes and socks on. Only three-quarters of a million steps to go.