6 Weeks Post Op
It’s been exactly six weeks to the day since I had an operation on my shoulder. It seems totally crazy to think its been that long.
I remember the moment that I hurt my shoulder. I remember it well: the pain; the confusion; the fear. How did it happen? Who knows.
It seemed insane that I needed an operation. I had an operation when I was younger but I don’t really remember it. I wanted nothing more than to get my shoulder fixed and get started on my rehab and despite knowing I was in the best possible hands I was of course apprehensive and a little nervous.
I’m generally an optimistic and positive person. This seems to have helped me through injuries in the past. However, it’s hard to be be positive all the time. Injuries are frustrating and if anything was going to test my patience it was hanging out at the World Championships, that I was so motivated to compete it, without being able to climb! I’m not going to lie and say that it didn’t suck: it did. But there was no way I wanted to be left at home watching the live stream. I wanted at least to be there, watching the action and getting involved.
It was surreal to be on the other side of the barrier. To witness my GB team mates and fellow competitors competing without the usual focus of being there to compete myself. However, it was a unique and valuable experience and provided a new perspective. Although it was not so welcome initially this new experience did offer a refreshing insight.
Whilst travelling around to events like Red Bull Cliff Diving, The World Championships and Adidas Rock Stars I’ve been dedicated to and driven to make progress with my rehab exercises. Most of the time. There have, of course, been days when I couldn’t be bothered, when I have struggled to find the motivation to do my exercises. To expect to overcome injury without having down days is unrealistic. Accepting that it’s a journey and it’s okay to have days like this is important. Having people around that motivate you is important. Leah knew exactly what I was supposed to be doing which made it impossible to be lazy or forget. Keeping your friends around and aware of your plan definitely makes it hard to be slackit’s worth it!
After my surgery I had to rest up for one week. Totally rest. Initially I didn’t think that it would be difficult to do this. I imagined chilling out on the sofa, drinking tea and watching terrible films would seem appealing after going under the knife. However, just two days after surgery I felt ready to get going. I called my physiotherapist who seemed surprised and reiterated the importance of total rest in this first week. My orders were to sleep lots, eat well and look after myself. Keeping myself occupied was vital! Luckily the Women’s Climbing Symposium and CAC kept me busy. I also hadn’t appreciated how difficult such simple tasks would be with one arm immobile in a sling and how much longer things would take. A big thanks needs to go out to my family and friends who looked after me so well!
One week passed and my eagerness to start rehab was almost uncontainable. In my first session it felt so strange to take my sling off and move my arm around. I had very limited movement and the achy feeling was constant but bearable. Thinking back to that first session seems so long ago. I could barely move my arm, all of the muscles had switched off and it felt so vulnerable.
Many people have asked me about my recovery and rehab process. So far, for the most part it’s been about getting the range of movement back in my shoulder. Doing my exercises regularly and listening to my body. Pushing it but never to the point of pain. It’s been a lot about learning how far I can push and when I need to rest. Airing on the side of caution but not being too reluctant at the same time. Finding that balance to ensure that progress is made but not to the extent of causing damage. Staying occupied in the down time has been massively crucial.
I have to say it’s actually been quite interesting to have a new injury. I’ve had my fair share of finger injuries, sprained ankles and little niggles but this was different. All of the rehab is new. I’ve learnt loads about how my shoulders work or how they should work anyway. Although it’s scary not knowing what to expect with my recovery it’s also quite interesting. I get to set new goals and targets. All the while learning and developing as an athlete.
My most recent rehab goal was to get full range of movement back. I was so, so happy to achieve this during my last session at Harris and Ross. I’m now able to start working on strengthening my shoulder whilst maintaining the mobility. Working on all those tiny little muscles I use on a daily basis that I’ve never before paid attention to . How ignorant of me. They suddenly seem very important. And they sure know how to tighten up when they get worked. Massage has been vital in my recovery. I feel so lucky to have sponsors that support me through these times. It’s thanks to them that I get to work with the guys over at Harris and Ross. They’re as passionate as I am about me coming back to my sport stronger than ever. After all that’s what’s keeping me motivated. I want to come back stronger, fitter and better than ever.
For anyone out there suffering from injury I wish you all the best. I hope you’re all saying motivated. My tip to staying on the right track is to set yourself some achievable goals and keep yourself occupied when you’re not doing your rehab!