Thursday, 29 October 2009


In gaining temporal distance from my thesis only now am I beginning to understand what came before. This year was a whirlwind; parts of which I will never recover from. I also made some strides; building upon it is my current challenge.

Whilst digging out my mountain biking kit, I flippantly muttered to myself ‘I would give anything to be back in shape’. After thinking about it, no, I wouldn’t give up what I fought for this year. Being as out of shape as I am it’s incredibly difficult just to think of all the work that I need to put into it, let alone actually do it. This time as well, I know that it won’t be OK. I’m broken; yet, the surgery sounds worse than the condition.

As amazing as it might sound, I’m coming on with my physio in leaps and bounds. I already aced the first set and am nearly a week into the second round with next to no pain. There is one huge caveat though; I haven’t been climbing in ages. That is where I think the trouble lies.

I’ve been trying to work on my poorly neglected cardio with a bit of mountain biking and some running (I managed 5.4k which for me is next to a miracle). I even got myself a new pair of running shoes as encouragement. I noticed that just a little bit of exercise makes such a huge difference to me. I have been sleeping better and yesterday I actually felt oddly optimistic.

Swinley Forest

For a few weeks just after my viva, I couldn’t conceive of anything more than just going to work and even that was an enormous chore, despite the fact that it was doing something I enjoyed. It was as if I lost a part of myself in the 95 pages that comprised my thesis. I was spent. I couldn’t fight anymore.

In some way I am even happy not to be climbing. I think I needed a bit of a break from it and I definitely had other things to focus on. I also think that if I go back to climbing, I need a whole new strategy. That will of course take some time to figure out.

Slowly, it’s coming back. I just wish that running didn’t hurt so much, but I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, or even possible for that matter.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Minor Progress

I’ve been trying my best to keep up my physio exercises but I had a miserable cold this week which thwarted my efforts somewhat. However, I seem to be able to dive right back into doing them. At first, they didn’t hurt, but felt horribly awkward. Now they feel more like a normal movement instead of a complete battle. I guess this is progress? I’ll take what I can get for the time being.

Oh and I’m trying my best to stop feeling sorry for myself... though I reckon this will take some time.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Finding Tuva

I’ve chickened out. I decided to try physio again.

Quite a few things led to this decision, primary amongst is that I don’t want to turn up to an interview with my arm in a sling. Additionally I don’t believe the surgery is worth it. My surgeon admitted that no matter what I do my shoulder will never be normal. I don’t know how much I can achieve through surgery.

I also worry about the surgery itself (not to mention the lack of scientific advancement from the human race). As of 2009 an ‘advanced’ surgery involves drilling a hole into healthy bone and putting in a screw to act as an anchor for a tied off tendon. It sounds medieval. I worry about developing osteoarthritis from this advanced technique not to mention a lifetime of increased pain resulting from the needless destruction of healthy issue. On the other hand, I’m probably going to be in pain from the injury anyway.

Physio and surgery aren’t mutually exclusive. I need more information on surgery and at the very least come to terms with the lack of surgical progress contributed by previous generations.

My longsuffering physiotherapist asked what my goals for physio are this time ‘round. Knowing that it can’t ‘cure’ me I said, being able to climb without severe pain would be nice, however I would settle for being able to pour a bottle of water without spilling it. I’ve lost the ability to fully control my arm.

It’s odd going back to the tedious theraband exercises. I never feel like I am doing them right. I am trying to teach myself how to move my arm with an incomplete set of tendons.

No, I’m not giving up. I was thinking that maybe where physio got me last time, able to boulder but not push it, isn’t a bad place. A lot of things changed this year including my focus. Maybe what I have is enough.