I guess for most folks 2020 has been a crazy year, though I think for me it was mostly more of the same. COVID complicated things a bit, but rehab is really what is hard. The year didn’t go how I expected, but there were still quite a few accomplishments.
- Mostly no knee braces! After a visit to Craig Hospital to re-eval my rehab convinced me, I stopped using my knee braces. This set back my walking a lot since I went from being able to walk 25-30 minutes five days a week back to only walking about 5-10 minutes, but over the course of the year I’ve worked back up to the 25-30 minute range. And of course, when I do use my knee braces now I can go for an actual hike (followed by 4-5 days of pain). Some good progress.
- My other PT exercises ended up being sporadic. I started the year consistently doing some swimming mixed with a good amount of muscle strengthening. Craig refocused me on certain weak muscles, but all the other changes I made got in the way of working on them consistently. The times I did focus on them for a week or two I would end up so weak that I was almost falling down and could hardly walk. So still a ways to go here.
- Less medication! I started the year on four medications and have reduced that to two. Two of my main medications were reducing pain and the risk of falling, but they were relaxing my muscles and nervous system which resulted in weakness and made it harder to recover from my exercise. In general, I’m in less pain than I was a year ago, and have fewer side effects to deal with.
- Sleep! It is really tough to sleep when you are constantly in pain and twitching. My sleep got very messed up over the past four years, and poor sleep makes it a lot harder to do rehab. I spent about two months in 2020 focused on resetting my sleep schedule. It was really hard, but it really worked.
Forward to 2021
Predictions are tough and probably not worthwhile, but I guess I have some guesses of where things will go.
- Losing weight. I’ve gained 20-25 pounds since 2017. Besides being less healthy, it also makes it harder to move since I have more weight for my muscles to move around. Likely it also is affecting my sleep. Since cognitive behavioral therapy works so well for me with sleep, I decided to dive in and try Noom.
- Reduce medications some more. I don’t plan to change nearly as much as I did in 2020, but hopefully I can reduce them a bit further. It seems to take 3-4 weeks for each change I make, so it is fairly time consuming.
- Regularize my PT. I’d really like to actually fill in the calendar of regular PT exercise with Xs this year. I want to find the right balance at improving my weakest muscles without wrecking my body along the way.