If there’s one thing I’ve missed more than anything in the past few months of inactivity, it’s being on the saddle with the wind on my face and meaningful thoughts in my head.

About three months ago, I was diagnosed with a degenerated L5 disc a.k.a. slipped disc. Naturally, this was really upsetting and I was immediately advised to halt all impactful activity. The compressed disc also led to a condition called Sciatica, which generally irritated some of the nerves leading down to my right foot. I often found my right leg falling asleep and I constantly had pins and needles down my leg. It was so uncomfortable that for the first few weeks, I found myself spending a lot of time in bed.

Thankfully, I was dealing with a sports doctor, orthopaedic surgeon and physiotherapist who were all very encouraging about my recovery and realistic as to how to deal with the injury. First, I was put on total rest which was immensely frustrating. But they all knew I would want to get back to a good level of activity as soon as possible. I was also given a long course of nerve medication, anti-inflammatories and regular physiotherapy.

To cut the long story short, I didn’t do jack for yonks.

I had even thought of selling my road bike so there would be more room in the house. But I’m so glad that I didn’t! Right before the new year, the ortho surgeon gave me the green light to start exercising! And what a great new year’s gift that was too. I had already started swimming in Bali and was very ready to take it easy on the bike and run front, but his actual words were: “5% of your back has been compromised, but you still have 95%. So go ahead and start cycling and running! Just know your limits and listen to your body. As soon as your back starts feeling a little tired, you’ll know when to stop.”

He said I didn’t need to see him anymore for the time being, and that made me oh, so very happy! (Even though he was really a very nice man.)

So today was the first time back on the road, and boy did I feel the effects of the last three inactive months (plus all the good food and drink from the festivities). But you know what, it felt good to be out there! Never mind that my legs were heavy and I spun super slowly up climbs, I was out. I was riding. The view was gorgeous and I thought about all the good times I have had cycling.

I know I probably won’t be running or racing much anymore, but it’s nice to know there’s still something that I love that I still can do. And I want to keep doing it, no matter what.

16 Responses to And the wheels go round…

  1. Althea says:

    Hey gal… glad that your back is better. Do take care of yourself, and don’t overwork yourself physically!

  2. lynniece says:

    yikes, i didn’t know u had sciatica these months! It’s horrible-i couldn’t get out of bed w/o hubby’s help for 2 weeks! AND i couldn’t even do simple yoga moves. Now that you’re better though, I strongly recommend yoga, it helped me get back to being active again, and the stretching releases the back so it doesn’t impinge on the sciatic nerve so much.

    All the best! :)

  3. Grace says:

    2010 will be a blast!! All the best Janice!

  4. Grace says:

    Good on ya! Remember to take it easy tho!

  5. D says:

    Hi Janice,

    I wanted to tell you to go to Bodyworks but I guess your sister may already have told you that. I have been dealing with pain for 4 years of my life. I was diagnosed with Sciatica, Scoliosis and DDD after multiple MRIs and Xrays. I have also been told it could be fibromyalgia.

    I was in pain EVERYWHERE, neck, spine, arms, EVERYDAY, EVERY MINUTE. I couldn’t hold a mobile phone in my hand (yes, that’s right) until I went to a physiotherapist and did rehab at Bodyworks. Before that I also went to Camden Medical Centre to get my joint muscle manipulated. The good news is, with rehab, the pain will stop for a while eventually.

    I haven’t felt pain in 4 weeks for the FIRST time in 4 years and I am going back to running this week after 1.5 years. If you need to know more options, let me know.

    I know how it feels and I hate to be the pessimist but don’t forget, although you may have the figurative 95% left, but would you want to push your body as hard as before? We have a whole life ahead of us.. just a thought.

    • admin says:

      Thanks, Diana. Yes I know about Bodyworks as that’s the place I go to – I recommended that my sister go there! Did you see her there or something?

      I’d actually recommend AGAINST going back to running as it’s the most high impact activity there is around for the spine. I’m going to keep jogging to the absolute minimum. So yeah, I’m being realistic about what I can do and what limits I can push, so don’t you worry about me. I’m looking at activities that are going to make me core strong so I can reduce the physio.

      Think again before you run, ok? Best to swim, really. I’m going to be doing more of that too.

      • D says:

        I can’t swim. I have pool phobia. I really love running and it hurt more than the physical pain to not get back to it. I’m doing it real slow, something like two-three hours a week for a start and see what happens next.

        I didn’t see your sister at Bodyworks. I read about it from her Asiaone blog yonks ago.

  6. undeadbydawn says:

    I had planned to get out for a good, long ride today, but unfortunately I woke up at 3:30pm [an hour ago] and the snow is chucking down! I feel so lazy.
    Of course I used to cycle at least 20 miles a day when I was working, so it’s a terrible thing to be stuck in now. And I don’t even have an injury. So I’m hoping the weather will lighten up a bit and I’ll have the urge to get back out.

    And maybe one day I’ll manage to get myself over for a visit and we can go ride together :-)

  7. undeadbydawn says:

    I am in horrible envy of your theme. I don’t know how WordPress works [and I sure as hell am not a coder/ web designer] and my site is a total mess compared to yours

    • admin says:

      It’s actually super easy to use, just requires some time. You should check it out if you want to!

  8. Joan says:

    Updated the link on my blog. I hope you recover soon.

  9. jem says:

    Speedy recovery girl!
    Slow down on ur running & pedaling..
    Oh, have a great year ahead! Happy New Year!!!

  10. AL says:

    I had PID culminated from ejection seat drills over the years. half of L4 shaved off. Sleep on hard mattresses to allow the muscles to relax when you sleep (soft mattress conform to your body contours and the muscles have no room to relax). have a low stool in the bathroom to raise one leg when you bend over to throw out rinsing water during brushing.

  11. Dan says:

    Here’s to the joy of degrading spinal discs! My C6-C7 disc is starting to go and I had similar problems with pins-and-needles this summer — in my hands. Not friggin’ good. Anyway, not much they can do for it. Physical therapy and hope-and-pray, but I’m guessing I’ll have to have an artificial disc put in within a decade.

    Also, I’m totally stealing your WP theme. Love it. Been looking for a new one.

    • admin says:

      Doesn’t it just suck so badly? Still love that you’re going nutso with the bike buying though. How’s the new track bike panning out?

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