Today is a great day.
I almost feel like my old self again. All of the pain and frustration from 6 weeks ago feels like a distant memory and I am focused on one thing.
Getting back on the bike.
Today, Dr Brosnan gave me the all clear to do just that – to take the first step to conquering the Ride for Jase journey. Words can’t describe how happy I am right now.
While I am elated, I wouldn’t say that this is a complete surprise. I have had first class treatment and rehab on my shoulder, something I am extremely grateful for. The moment I came out of surgery I was very focussed on getting to where I am now. Although its been challenging, I gave myself no other option. I was not going to give up. I have also been very lucky to have had the opportunity to take on my rehab on a full-time basis – I know it’s not often the case and most people aren’t afforded that kind of luxury when managing an injury.
After my initial three and half week recovery period at Scarborough Holiday Village, we made our way down to Cabarita Beach on the north coast of NSW to stay with some friends and begin my rehab in Tweed Heads. During my time here, Jono Freeman from The Athletes Workshop saw me almost every day. At my first session, I could barely move my left arm more than 20 degrees.
While the initial recovery period was painful and frustrating at times mostly because I was limited in what I could do, once I started rehab with Jono, I felt like I was on track and progressed very quickly. I focussed a lot of my mental energy into just getting better. My sessions with Jono consisted of physio to the shoulder area and then take home exercises that were gradually built on as I progressed and improved. Outside of these sessions I tried to stay as active as possible and get as much blood flow to the joint to aid my recovery. I would go for walks, swim regularly and built up to being able to swim 1km (breaststroke only) in the local pool. Eventually I was able to get back on the stationary bike up to 40 mins at a time. Man, it felt good to be able to work up a sweat again. All those endorphins. I had missed them!
So, as you can imagine, I was pretty excited to show Dr Brosnan how far I had come at my appointment today. He was very happy with my progress and said it was incredible to have full range of motion at just 6 weeks post op (great job Jono!). He gave me the ok to start the Ride for Jase again when I feel ready but reinforced that I need to be conscious of how my shoulder feels and listen to my body. At 6 – 8 weeks the joint and scar tissue is still trying to heal. Getting back on the road and being exposed to the bumpiness of riding under these conditions for long hours could aggravate the scar tissue. Dr Brosnan said that if it gets too painful I have to stop as it's a sign that my body is not ready. If this happens, he said I would need to take a break and continue the ride at a later time. If I don’t pay attention to my body and try to push through the pain, it could result in long term chronic pain issues. Well, I definitely won’t get away with that, I know that Kat will be the pain police from now on!
So, what’s the plan now?
I will spend the next 9 days continuing to strengthen my shoulder and will start to do some small rides, just to give myself some time to see how my body feels about being out on the road. If all goes well, we will re-start the Ride for Jase on Saturday 12th August from Caboolture to Noosa, just under 8 weeks post accident.
But what about the weather? This is a valid question we have had a few times now. The ride for Jase was planned and timed specifically for the weather conditions around the country. From a climate perspective, with a two month delay it will be hotter up north than we would have previously encountered, but all in all, the climate should still be ok. Luckily I function better in the heat!
AND, on another very positive note, it looks as though I may not lose my first 1000km from Sydney to Caboolture in my Guinness World Record attempt. Although I have spent more than 14 days off the bike, we looked further into the guidelines and it appears that there are exemptions for injuries. I was pretty devastated when I thought I would lose these kilometres, so I am stoked to think they may be able to be included in my final tally.
While I am very conscious of the dangers of cycling, even more so now, I am not afraid of getting back out on the road. I am just going to take it one day at a time and gradually work my way back into it. I may be a bit rusty at first, but you know what, I am really excited for what’s to come and I can’t wait to share more of this journey with you.