Bring on 2014!!


Hi Everyone Just wanted to
do an update. Things really changed for me in 2011. In April, I saw a superb physiotherapist, Susan MacFarlane on 1111 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver, 604.986.8442.

At the beginning I was using a
walker. Tres bummer. I could walk maybe 20-30 minutes and couldn’t do much in the way of Pilates. We starting working on the really, really small stabilizers of the back. I figured it was nothing but as we continued, twice a week, small improvements happened. Some weeks I slide back into pain but overall I went forward. Boy, did I ever.

Within a 6 weeks, I didn’t need the walker and graduated to a cane. Woohoo! I was able to walk longer and overdo it to go backwards but…I started using my reformer again and walked more and more without overdoing it. After a year, my longest walk was 3 hr of hiking. I still have to watch the hills- leaning forwards is not an option – but I hike the trails in North Vancouver regularly.

I do the reformer 5 or 6 times a week and the elliptical 4 or 5 times depending on the weather. My longest time is 90 minutes. 🙂
I still can’t do the mat although I try from time to time. Biking is out because of the sitting. Skiing is out because of leaning
forward. But I am happy as heck to be moving.

And I now weigh almost what I did pre-surgery in 2007. Moving the body really helps but I also discovered Intermittent Fasting (the Fast Diet in Amazon). It has helped me live a very normal life with the exception of eating 500 cal two days a week. My sister, with 2 hip replacements, lost 75 pounds over a year and has kept it off now for 6 months. Just don’t give up.

My life is not perfect. I still have bad days but not as many as before. Standing is tough, let me walk any day. Sitting is always tough. Just need to get up frequently. It’s all okay compared to the alternatives.

Merry Christmas and have a healthy and Happy New Year.


Octane Fitness Q35c Cross Trainer: Fitness Town: Your Fitness Equipment Experts

Octane Fitness Q35c Cross Trainer: Fitness Town: Your Fitness Equipment Experts.

This is the type of elliptical trainer I bought. The doctors suggested that elliptical exercise was good in that there isn’t a lot of jarring as you exercise.

The thing that you need to watch out for is that you do not twist the torso and that you engage your core as you do the exercise. At first you can grip the stationary handlebars and as you get stronger you can try letting go of the handlebars and swing the arms naturally ie don’t think too much about the arms.

La Pena de Bernal


La Pena de Bernal

Located in the municipality of Ezequiel Montes in the state of Queretaro, Mexico. This is the 4th largest monolith in the world at over 8200 feet high. It is approximately a 1 1/2 hour drive on excellent roads/highways from San Miguel de Allende.

Incredibly Pain Free

I feel like it was all back nightmare. The pain that is. We were in San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico for six weeks. The first week I had terrible pain in the hips. I am still wearing the lift in the left shoe and it is not flexible at all. The cobblestones of SMA are deep and when the shoe didn’t bend, I would almost fall off. Lots of sta’bilizers at work here. Then I had a flu. Pretty mild but I slept for probably 4 days. Didn’t do a whole lot for another 3. The pain went away. In fact most of the pain disappeared. I was fine until the night before we left and then it was back. Took the rest of the night off and was fine for the flight back home. Am I actually getting better or was it the rest that did it? Certainly makes you wonder. I have a neurophysio appointment with Robert Johnson tomorrow. We’ll see how I’m really doing then.

Still haven’t had my botox injection…waiting 10 weeks now. I’m hope that’s not cutbacks but rather staff shortages due to the holidays.

More on Piriformis Syndrome

I have now had two steroid injections into the piriformis. The first one was great and I felt normal for a short time. The second time, the radiologist managed to hit the sciatic nerve and that was a bit disastrous. I completely lost any feeling in my right leg. I couldn’t believe that the hospital let me go. They just told me  to be careful. But the leg wouldn’t take any weight and it felt like my knee was going to bend backwards…my husband had to get me out of the car and to the bottom of the stairs and he hurt his shoulder. I had to climb up the stairs on my bum and for the rest of the day, I had to ask for help to move. It was unbelievable.

The next morning there was still parts of my foot that were “frozen”. And the sciatic nerve was really irritated. Totally different. It took about a week for the irritation to go away but the piriformis is still hinkey although it is better. On Sunday Oct 11 the muscle went into spasm and would not stop. Horrible. The next day, the leg was so fatigued I couldn’t walk around the block. It’s coming and going which I’m grateful for. Before it was spasming all the time.

I saw Dr. Devonshire on Friday and she agreed that it was time to do the Botox. At least there will be a more lasting effect. I asked her what would happen if the nerve got hit again and she said that it would stop the pain fibers which is all right by me.

I have had tremendous relief from the lift in my shoe. I also had the left shoe built up all along the bottom. It is unbelievable what a difference this has made. Physio said that my leg length discrepancy was only seen on standing. Anyway, the lift puts me back in a more neutral alignment. That translates into less pain. All of a sudden I am standing straight. It’s so strange. I have exercises to do to strengthen the surrounding muscles (first stretched the piriformis but now it’s good). And we’re trying to move the ribs separate from the hips. I have been locked for a long, long time so even being able to do the side bend and move the ribs separately is a huge big deal. I”m just watching the end ranges of movement. Also strengthening proximal hamstrings. Amazing how those little things are so hard to do. One day I expect to get back on that reformer. 🙂 I’m also doing the elliptical everyday or walking.

Using a TENS unit for Pain Management

I had someone ask me if I tried a TENS unit for pain management. It’s worth a try so I told her I would post the info. Back in 1994 I bought a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit. You get one or two leads that glue or stick onto the area of pain. The opposite end goes into the unit control mechanism. I paid $600 for my unit and now they are around $150. I had two leads which gives you 4 pads. I would put them on the upper and lower limits of where I felt pain. And then you can set the amplitude, strength, pulsing or not and depending on your unit – other controls. I think that they basically work by scrambling the pain signal to the brain. It might sound hokey but I was able to get off my anti inflammatories and continuing running using just the TENS unit.

The problem lies in allergic reactions to the glue that is used to stick the pads on. It’s a very common problem and the company, Medtronics, has gone into surgical implants. It didn’t take long for the allergy to get going and I got around it by using pads without glue and then taping them in place with paper tape. That worked very well but unfortunately, the unit wasn’t so effective this time.

And I have to tell you it only works while you are wearing it. And the leads can get caught in things plus you always have the control unit and what to do with it. No dresses. You have to have something to attach the unit to.

Anyway, it does work for some people and it’s drug free. Most physio therapists will have a unit so you can try it out with their guidance and see if you are one of the lucky ones.

Still Doing Well

I feel quite fortunate to be able to say that even though the piriformis is still inflammed, I’m able to manage things. It is taking a little bit to get used to the new drug regime – cymbalta and nortriptyline – but I am getting  used to it. I really felt out of it for the first 5 weeks. The doctor told me to play around with the timing and I think that I have found a balance. I take the cymbalta at 1:30PM instead of at bedtime. I had a terrible time with my gut and pain which is what prompted the desire to change. That has been resolved and I am also no longer sleeping so much. I awake on my own between 6 and 7 which is my normal time.

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