On March 3, 2016 I will be 16 months post transplant. I have been working so hard on my Rehab and Recovery and while I am doing better than I was a year ago, I am not making the progress I would like to be making.
Rehab started at home with a Physical Therapist coming to the house and starting to get me moving slowly. This lasted about 12 weeks. At that point I was told I was ready for Out Patient Rehab, so off I went to Rehab twice a week for 12 weeks also. It was challenging to say the least, but I kept at it and even if I didn't have Rehab, I would work on exercising at home; going for walks weather permitting or using the treadmill. But I was working hard and not just going to Rehab on Tuesday and Thursday. I was working out 5 days a week most of the time.
As many who read my Blog know, by September 2015 I accomplished a goal I had been working toward by participating in, and finishing, the Respiratory Health Association's Hike for Lung Health 3 mile walk. I had done 3 miles in getting ready for the event plenty of times, as I should while preparing for the walk. It should have been "a walk in the park" (that's a joke; it was held in Lincoln Park in Chicago). But it was SO challenging I wasn't sure I'd finish, although I did.
As I reached my One Year Anniversary and realized I had been working out for a year, but didn't feel I was where I should be, I talked to my Rehab Team and they recommended a special program offered at their Health Club for patients that have been through difficult surgeries, strokes and the like; been through Rehab but felt they needed more. It was affordable, so I signed up.
I got to meet with a Trainer who discussed my medical situation and what I was having trouble with, he put together a customized training routine for me and for the first 30 days I got to have a trainer work with me two days a week at the Club when I would work on this routine.
I have been doing this now for 3+ months and I have mixed feelings about how I am doing. I push myself, asking to be shown how to use different equipment for my Cardio workouts and I am pushing myself on the Strength Training the Trainer put together for me. Yesterday was a big accomplishment as I tried for the first time since I started to go through my Strength Routine TWICE! So I did the full routine once, then went back and repeated the whole routine a second time.
Today I am very, very sore and tired. I am scheduled for a "day off" from working out today, but I went to the Grocery Store. As I pushed my cart up and down the aisles, I felt SO winded and by the time I got home, I just collapsed. Maybe doing it twice wasn't such a good idea.
This is where my frustration comes in. I've been working so hard, that it seems I should be seeing improvements in the simpler things that have been so hard. I had to go to the lab for some blood tests this morning and just walking into the building from my car - NOT far - had me so out of breath I had to sit down. With all I do working out 5 times a week for a year, not to mention following this training program for 3+ months, a short walk like that shouldn't be SO hard. I expect to get winded working out, but not doing normal, "easy" everyday things.
But it is frustrating to feel I am not progressing the way I feel I should. I know it's only been 16 months since transplant, but other patients who are post transplant fewer months than I am, are doing all sorts of challenging activities, like the Respiratory Health Association's Hustle Up the Hancock fundraising event, climbing 1,632 stairs to the top of Chicago's famous John Hancock skyscraper! I have to sit down after I just climb the stairs to my bedroom (13 stairs)!
I have been dedicated and committed to my workouts, going 5 days a week for months. Yet I am struggling to make progress and see things get at least somewhat easier as I continue to work out.
I'm not giving up. I intend to complete this 6 month training program and see where I am at that point. I will never stop exercising as I do not ever want to go backwards to being as de-conditioned as I got while waiting for my lung. I have been told some patients only achieve a certain level of recovery and that may be the case with me. I'm not going to throw in the towel, but what I wouldn't give to see simple tasks not be so hard. Then I would feel all my hard work was paying off.
But persevere I will. I will keep exercising, even if it's just to maintain a certain level of fitness. I didn't get this lung to be a lazy couch potato. So while how much progress I make remains to be seen, I will never give up and always keep fighting to get as fit as I possibly can.
But yeah; Man This is Hard!