Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rehab: Colostomy & ReSection

Fall 2009
I had Traded Cancer for a Colostomy
then  Recovered from Colostomy&Resection Surgery.

This would be was a long, slow, disciplined, and methodical journey to recovery, but I was determined and committed that
After Surgery
I will do everything I could do before Surgery
 Next step in the recovery process was rehab.  
I had an idea of what to expect, having recovered from many injuries to my slight body, not well suited for the physical punishment of 5 decades of hockey.   [With just a quick count, I recall 13 injuries of the ‘3-6 weeks-to-repair’ level, and 2 severe concussions requiring hospitalization].  The hockey-injury-rehab was a familiar process for me – take the injury, spend 3-6 weeks to repair the body-damage, then do the rehab.  At the end of rehab my body would be as good as it was before the injury, and I would again feel invincible and able to resume play with matched tenacity.
Colostomy&ReSection Surgery Rehab
The rehab routine was similar, but the outcome would be drastically different.  The damages of resection and colostomy surgery could never be restored.  There could be no recovery to original condition.  I felt an agonizing despair with the reality of the predicament, but remained committed to returning to play hockey, even with this compromised condition.  First phase was walking - starting on the first day home from the hospital – just 50 painful yards, bent over and supporting stitches and staples with both forearms.  Over the next 3 months, the walks became longer and faster as my body repaired and strengthened.  I walked twice a day, everyday. 
A very experienced and empathetic Physiotherapist helped me with the rehabilitation.
I was warned that ostomates were prone to hernias – so I did thousands of reps/sets of exercises to rebuild both upper and lower abdominal muscles.  With a 1½ inch void in my abs, it was a serious challenge to rebuild a strong core.  But I needed a strong core to play hockey, and to do so many other strenuous activities.
With trepidation, I started Public-Skating, surrounded by grandparents teaching pre-school kids to skate.  I was happy to be back on the ice, but saddened and challenged by the ultimatum to progress from kids-skating to the power-skating necessary for my comeback to the rough-and-tumble of league hockey.

Comeback to Hockey
Exactly four months after surgery, I was back playing hockey.   This was the first big test of my conviction that “after surgery I will do everything I could do before surgery”.  The first milestone was to earn confidence that I could block shots and take the hits … without an explosion!  

Read the full story of  my Comeback to Hockey  

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