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KDVADER3's Photo KDVADER3 Posts: 109
1/7/12 2:41 P

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I have a Schwinn Comfort bike... Voyageur model. It is unfortunately not as light as a regular road bike, but on the upside of that, my muscles are stronger from pushing that extra weight. The saddle is wider (offering more support to the hips), with a shock absorber in the stem. I stand out of the saddle when there is a significant bump coming up because my back still jars a bit, which I try to avoid. The fork also has dual shocks and the handle bars are orientated higher than a road bike, so I sit more upright. It has plenty of gears (which I hardly ever use anymore), but they came in handy when I was starting out. I challenge myself as much as possible, so I use the high (3/7) gear all the time.. even on hills. I get some commentary from the other cyclists whe I ride sometimes... "you have other gears ya know!" because they see me stand on the steep inclines in the high gear... but they dont realize that I do this intentionally to challenge myself. I have noticed recently a drawback to all this... I tend to carry my extra weight n my lower half.. my natural build, and since Ive been cycling all the time now, my clothes fit a bit tighter through the lower thigh than they used to due to a lot of extra muscle that Im not accustomed to. My better half says I just need to buy the "relaxed fit" from now on... I guess knowing that it is muscle makes it much easier to accept clothing adjustments :) I hope you get the chance to start cycling... the feeling of freedom after 10 years of sitting around due to the back situation for me was awesome! I hope to do some organized rides in the near future... my ultimate goal is to do a century ride and I dream of touring Ireland on a bike.

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LEOGRRRLIE Posts: 7
1/7/12 1:10 P

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What sort of bike? I would love to ride but they kill my back.

I also had no pt scheduled after my back surgery but told to walk as much as possible as far as I could (from around the kitchen to around the block to several miles - I pretended like I didn't have a car and walked everywhere.) sounds like you and I have similar philosophies.

thank you for the encouragement & I wish you continued health!

KDVADER3's Photo KDVADER3 Posts: 109
1/7/12 12:54 P

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Hi Peggy,

I had my first laminectomy/diskectomy in '98, when I was 23 after a car accident left 3 disks herniated. They only operated on the disk that was pinching the nerve root. My 4th back surgery was a 2 level anterior interbody fusion at the L3/L4-L5/S1 levels in 2008, when I was 33. I was probably in the worst shape of my life at that point, but decided that if I could move after surgery, I was going to do everything I could to get my life back. I had very little muscle tone and cardio exercise was non-existent. My docs had little faith that Id do well after surgery... the most they hoped for was some stability and fewer surgeries. I basically rehabed myself... starting with walks around the kitchen to walks up the street. They did not schedule any PT for me at all after surgery. It took many months to work up to walking miles, but once I got going, I kept going. There were some nasty flare ups where I was certain I would have to have more surgery, but once things calmed down, I was back to full activity. The key was that I never stopped moving.. taking slow walks when I hurt too much to do anything else. I moved on to low impact step aerobics and now I have a bike that I ride as often as possible. Ive been riding about a year and a half and am totally hooked. My core is stronger than I thought possible and I have muscle tone I only dreamed of before. My bike is not a standard road bike... the angle of the road bikes is too hard on my back, but I now cover just a shade under 17 miles each ride I take. Id ride every day if I could. Ive lost probably 32 lbs of fat and gained a bunch of muscle. Cycling has been a great way for me to keep my weight under control and my energy level is beyond anything Ive had before. Even after a ride, I will do other activities like walk the dog, or walk on the treadmill at the gym for an hour... many days I will do both! Im still awake and busy doing things at 11 pm, even if I get up before 7 to get my son to school. The key for me was being my own personal trainer and pushing myself even on the days when I didnt feel motivated to exercise. Instead of thinking of excuses for why I couldnt exercise, I would think of reasons why I could or why I should. Even 20 minutes of walking slowly is better than sitting on the couch. The human body really loves to move... if you move every day, you will crave that movement. Ive had some injuries (crashing my bike, for one), where I tore most of the skin off the top of my knee, and I had to cut out walking or riding until it healed a bit... I was more miserable about not moving than the pain from the skin being shredded. Whatever you do... dont give up and keep moving! Good luck on your journey and find activities you love... your body will love you for it!

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LEOGRRRLIE Posts: 7
1/7/12 12:35 P

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I live in Hayward! Small world! I'm feeling good today; right now I'm just relaxing in a neutral position before I get on the treadmill. I hope you're feeling well today too.

I have fibro too, since 94, and wide spread osteoarthritis as well. My spine issues aren't limited to my lower back; I had an artificial disc placed at C5 2 years ago. You know, I have several female friends that grew up around here that have fibro and it makes me wonder if there isn't something in the environment.

I hope your doctors find a solution for you; the first surgeon I consulted once I decided I wanted back surgery didn't think I was a candidate and I got a second opinion (if you can, talk to the nurses about who is the best doctor is). You have to be your own advocate and educate yourself. I was so lucky to find my surgeon, someone who respected me and my intelligence and worked with me first part of the team; he even called me to offer me emotional support when my father died and the stress of that made my sciatica flare up. best of luck to you !

CWPRAISINJC1's Photo CWPRAISINJC1 Posts: 383
1/7/12 12:11 P

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Hi Peggy!
Wow! Bless your heart; you have been through alot! How are you feeling today?
I have 3 degenerative discs that the doctors don't know what to do with. I also have Fibromyalgia and Adrenal Fatigue. :(
I used to live in the Bay Area a long time ago. San Mateo, Fremont, Hayward...lol brings back memories.
Cindy

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LEOGRRRLIE Posts: 7
1/7/12 12:00 P

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Hi all!

My name is Peggy, I'm 37 and I hail from the San Francisco Bay Area. Just a few days prior to my 30th birthday I had my first bank surgery, an emergency double microdisectomy at the L5-L6 level after both discs literally exploded a month after herniating. 3 1/2 years later, after my short lived relief dissolved into a life that revolved around increasingly stronger pain pills and steroid shots into my spinal fluid, I had a double fusion at the same location and an artificial disc placed at the joint above it; an experimental combination but when my pain management doc wanted to prescribe me Methadone I had to try something else...and I have been so grateful everyday that I did because it gave me my life back. Part of my ongoing commitment to having a healthy back is having a healthy life, managing my weight and trying to stay as fit and active as possible. I am pain free now, but I have bad days when I push myself too far and pay the price. I power walk on my treadmill, practice yoga and other exercises to keep my core strong, but it isn't always easy, especially when I'm in pain. I also have problems with employment lately ;) and recently when I was let go from a temp job I really thought I was kicking b*** at, I became depressed, stopped exercising and started comfort eating (just in time for the holidays!). So here I am, recommitting myself to my health, and already down 2 pounds of the 15 that I've gained, but still 28 pounds away from my goal weight overall. it helps to know I'm not alone and to be reminded of why this is so important, that it's not just vanity but saving my sanity behind why I'm doing this...because I can't go back to that life pills and shots and a world no bigger than my prescription bottle.

Edited by: LEOGRRRLIE at: 1/7/2012 (12:02)
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