Be gentle with yourself

Here I am, 5 years ago, much bigger.  Note the bandage on my neck; cane in background; neck brace hanging on the tree.  I had just had urgent neck surgery for a herniated disc that was pressing on my spinal cord, making my legs very weak; I was barely able to stand or walk.

I’m smiling in the picture, because I was with my best friend and family.  But I was also depressed, wondering how I’d recover.  Every day I went for a walk, gradually increasing my distance.  My sister helped me walk.

I can do a lot more these days – see video below!

I talked today with a friend recovering from heart surgery.  She admits that, now two months after surgery, that she feels better than before surgery.  I’m glad for that.  She is weak, and she’s gained a few pounds (I gained water weight with my appendix surgery – see the spike in the weight chart below).  No doubt, she’s also lost some muscle.  But tomorrow, she starts with physical therapy and rehab.  I have no doubt that she’ll be even better soon.

One thing I learned in rehab and physical therapy – you have to do the exercises on your own, not just with the therapist.  And continue them once the prescribed therapy is over.  Indeed, a recent study shows that home-based therapy after a stroke is as good as, if not better than going to a specialized clinic.  Bottom line – we’ve got to do it ourselves.

Go, Judith!

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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