9 months ago I got rid of my old spine Dr who wanted me to have risky procedures and take more pain meds and I started attending a physiotherapy gym 2-3 times a week to see if I could increase some stability in my joints.
When I started at the gym even walking was extremely painful, my arms could do 5lb reps for less than a minute before muscle spasms meant that I would loose control of my arms, my legs couldn't do much better at 20lbs. Everywhere I went so did my wheelchair.
Going to this gym 2-3 times a week was a massive strain on time, I still had to work and work doesn't stop because you have several hours a week you need to dedicate to therapy. The first few months were hell, it was painful. very painful, I would get back home after a session and not want to do anything but get in a bath and go to sleep. There was massive a increase in muscle spasms that made it almost impossible for me to sleep at night and mentally I was drained.
I went to see my PCM / GP because I was getting extremely depressed, as I am not someone who typically suffers from depression I knew it was just from months of poor sleep caused by the muscles. My Dr gave me an anti-spasm drug used for MS that I could take at night before bed. Now instead of being woken up hourly I often get 4 hours of sleep before a spasm wakes me and just being able to sleep again gave me the drive to dive back in to things I had shut out of my life.
Now I want to take a moment to thank some people. I am a very fortunate person to have a strong group of friends around me in Paintball, friends who don't let me not do something because I feel I won't be as good as I should be and I really want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for never letting me say no. A few of you are in the pic above but those who aren't, you know who you are. Without you guys I would have given up a long time ago.
Now this isn't a happily ever after post but it's one of real progress that 9 months ago I didn't believe was possible. Today I leg pressed 90lbs (reps over 3 mins), my arms managed 48lbs (reps over 3 mins). This month I have gone to the grocery store twice, leaving my wheelchair in the car. While I was in agony by the time I returned to my car it was still a massive improvement and using a shopping cart to help me walk I didn't fall!
So whats next? Well I keep going, keep upping the weights to try and get my muscles around the ligaments and joints that are causing the issues stronger. I hope that my close group of friends are still stood by me pushing me and motivating me to continue. I just got cleared to use the assisted sit up machine at the gym which means I can start to get rid of some of the extra weight I have gained and get toned again which will in turn bring my confidence in my body back up. I will still need the chair when lots of standing / walking is involved as my issues with my lower spine will never go away, but, every goal I hit at the gym, every lb i add to the weights is a sign of an improvement in the quality of life I have in both the short and long-term.
So for now I keep on doing what I am doing and try to increase muscle mass as much as humanly possible in the hope that the stability given by them slows down the spasms.