I am officially entering month 8 of surgery recovery. I feel like I lost an entire year of my life to my back. More than two years if I count the way my back limited me beforehand.

I hate how much my body has changed. I still can’t really fit into most of the pants I wore before the surgery – my calves and ankles are giant balloons. My endurance is awful – I finally started doing cardio last week (the elliptical because I am not allowed to run or do anything with ‘impact’ on my back) and I am out of breath after 20 minutes. I have been forcing myself to go for 45 minutes at a time, but if I am being honest, then I am just tired all day afterwards. I have tried doing barre and yoga classes, but my back mobility is so weak that I can barely get through the class. I feel like the fat, uncoordinated person in the class and that everyone’s eyes are on me, because I am struggling so much (yes, I know that’s not true, but when you’re sweaty and immobile, you tend to get irrational)

It’s tough to describe, but my body feels completely different after spinal fusion – it’s like someone pushed my ribs and butt in and straightened my body. Before this, my torso had a bit of an S shaped that I assumed was natural (we are never really taught what a normal body looks like, are we?) and now I feel like a tree. I can finally do a plank without my back collapsing. But I’m irrationally terrified that something I do will hurt my back again.

I was told before that recovery is not linear and I still feel like there are pits and peaks in the process. It seemed crazy that people would take 2-3 years to run a 5K or go skiing again, but the thought of either of those things makes me terrified. I’m guilty of judging people for this too – I remember reading about Kim from Matt and Kim and how recovering from knee surgery brought her into a huge depression, because she thought she would never dance again. I trivialized her feelings, because it seemed insurmountable that a surgery can cripple a body. But here I am, almost a year in and I still feel crippled.


  1. Sending love! If there is such a thing, this is a good year to take good care of your body, as the world also struggles to make sense of life as we know it. Taking time to heal and live slowly isn’t time wasted at all, rather such a vital step to take for long-term wellbeing.

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