View Full Version : Climbing Mayan ruins and other vacation adventures at 6 months..

08-23-2011, 07:39 PM
It is good to be home after being away for 2 weeks. It was an awesome trip, but I am sure glad to be back home to the high desert dry heat. The humidity was much more than I would like to live with!!
Cozumel was beautiful. Only one town on the whole island, and full of old world charm, culture, food, etc. We spent many days in the turquoise sea, in a snorkeling paradise. Saw tons of colorful fish, corals, anemones, urchins, seahorses, electric stingrays, and even swam with a few barracudas. They are definitely kinda creepy! It was so relaxing and peaceful, though. We chartered a catamaran with two other families and had an all day sailing adventure that was wonderful, also. I was able to show off a straight, slim back instead of a lumpy, scrunched up one! I laid on the front deck most of the day, flying into the breeze, with no issues whatsoever. Amazing. We climbed down into the bowels of the earth to swim in a cenote. These are freshwater pools in caverns fed by underground rivers. A nice respite from the hot Mexican sun and humidity!
We spent many evenings in the town square listening to the salsa band play in the gazebo while the locals danced. We danced in the sand under a palm-thatched palapa on the beach at sunset, and Andy even convinced me to try a pole dance and a tequila conga line.
But the highlight of the trip was most definitely the Mayan ruins. We visited Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Coba. It was beautiful, and so amazing and awe inspiring. To walk where real people actually put their feet over a thousand years before me was so surreal. We did lots of walking...and more walking...and even more walking! Temples and buildings are scattered over large areas. But I've never felt better than I did while on vacation. I was amazed at how my muscles were not tight, I had more energy, and even slept really well in a strange bed. Partly adrenaline, but I think I was just more active than I have been sitting at home. Things were just so much more flexible. I think the two weeks of swimming all day in the ocean kept my back muscles limbered up.
You guys will think I'm crazy- again-but I climbed to the top of one of the temples in Coba. It is one of the tallest ones in the Yucatan Peninsula, and was really steep. There was a hand rope to help you climb up. But I did it with no problems. It was a little odd, climbing/crawling and not being able to bend or use my hips and twist and turn as I climbed. But I did fine. Coming down was a little harder. You don't realize how much you move your spine and hips independently before surgery, trying to keep your balance while stepping down steep stairs. Not having that ability, you find other ways! I just took is slow and steady and carefully placed my hands and feet, and backed down some of it where it was steepest. You definitely don't want to lose your balance on this one. You wouldn't stop 'til you hit bottom! It was AWESOME to get back down and feel the sense of accomplishment. Especially when there were lots of people too scared to climb it...
I am amazed at what I'm able to do at only 6 months post op. I feel like I've rediscovered the old me. I no longer have that exhausted, run down, fatigued feeling all the time with the contant pain just thump, thump, thumping me both physically AND mentally!! I feel better than I have in years. And I am far from being fully recovered. They say it takes up to 2 years to get all your healing done and your energy back. But I feel so great now, that I can't wait to see me in another year! Watch out!!
That was a month ago. Now, after breezing through all that, I did some work in the yard this weekend, planting some things, pulling weeds, and wheel barrowing some dirt and mulch. I thought it would be a piece of cake compared to all I did on vacation. But no! I over did it, and I'm paying the price. I have a tightness I haven't had in months, and it goes all the way from my lower back and hips up to my shoulders. It is a tight, burning feeling. If I sit too long at the computer, and get up to fast, I lose my balance and teeter. Should have known better...this is the first time since surgery that I knew I should have listened to the little voice in my head and I ignored it. (Ok, no comments on that!) I am pretty in touch with my limits, and say no when I know better. But wheelbarrow-not such a good idea. But after a few days of taking it easy and taking muscle relaxants, it is much better. Lesson learned!

Here are a couple pics of the climb at Coba and sailing.


08-23-2011, 08:56 PM
Fantastic!! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

I am so happy you had such a good time and participated so fully.

How was the sailing experience? Did you have to move from side to side on the catamaran or did you stay in one place on the boat? Did you have to duck under the sail at all?

How did you feel snorkeling? Did you use fins on your feet? If so, how did you get them on?

I guess we all find out our limits as far as gardening goes.

Regards -

08-23-2011, 09:00 PM
Love the trip report! and yes, the barracuda’s are kinda creepy.....they are even creepier, at night. lol

It’s amazing how well a vacation diverts the mind from the back.....its great therapy and should be mandatory, covered under insurance....of course! NOT (It’s a great concept)

Glad to see you are doing so well

08-23-2011, 09:08 PM
I tried to get a prescription for daily ocean snorkeling, but didn't succeed.... HAHA.

I moved around on the boat alot. It was an all day adventure. You just have to be cautious and place your feet carefully. My balance just isn't what it used to be. I ducked the sail a few times, but had plenty of warning so I could do it slowly or just sit down. My fins are not as long as some, so I just slipped them on, then walked out. Fortunately, the entry was either sandbags out to deeper water, or steps that dropped into deeper spots, so there was no issue getting in. It felt MARVELOUS.

08-24-2011, 12:22 AM
Wow Jenee,
That is amazing to me, and after only 6 months!!!:cool: In June I went on a "birding and butterfly" trip w/ one of my sisters, she's 6 years older than I, and I couldn't keep up w/ her.

The birds and scenery were beautiful in southern West Virginia, but when the group leader told everyone to get out their butterfly nets:eek:, needless to say, she got the message when she looked at my face!!!

I plan on going again, only this time, I'm making the arrangements.

08-24-2011, 04:25 AM
What an absolutely fabulous holiday, Jenee! It would have been so good for you after what you've been through. I am awestruck at you having a holiday that so much resembled mine, at six months post op. My daughter had been to Tioman Island off the East Coast of Malaysia and said, Mum, you need a holiday here! She shouted my airfare, my partner said, "Go! You've earned it."

Boating, snorkelling, mountain climbing, trekking through jungle, swimming, eating and sleeping. It was fabulous. I didn't realise then, but I do now, that it did me so much good. I will remember that holiday as my "getting back into life" holiday.

A great travelogue Jenee, I was almost there.

08-24-2011, 07:57 AM
that is absolutely amazing...
and that you can do all that with fusion to sacrum, pelvic fixation, is even more
i know i could not do any of what you describe, even if my spine were straight....
probably wouldn't want to, city girl that i am....
but i so admire that you did it!

it is so wonderful, and at 6 months post op....really astounding!
you both have had such successful results!
am very happy for both Jenee and Jen G!


loves to skate
08-24-2011, 08:35 AM
So glad to hear you had a wonderful vacation. Thanks for the photos. You look great.

08-24-2011, 08:59 AM
(hmmm, I was surprised that your story brought tears to my eyes.)
thanks for your fabulous and inspiring vacation details…as well as your reality check that followed.
As a soon-to-undergo-surgery-candidate scheduled for mid-October,the thought of not being able to bend or twist or move freely and carefree had brought a tremendous anxiety when I was still 'considering' doing 'it'.
I have since learned to focus on what surgery will do for me, not to me.

Your details were inspiring that life goes on in wonderful ways. Along with all the other stories we pre-ops obsessively read, it builds our courage while providing some realistic expectations.

So glad you had a great vacation…I think perhaps I will pass this thread along to my family to read (hint hint?)

08-24-2011, 11:23 AM
Shari-maybe no catching butterflies-YET. But that's ok. Just getting out to enjoy the trip was the whole point. There is no way I could chase after the little buggers, either. I tried badmitton the other day-and I was not successful! It was a mental blow to be the lousiest player!! LOL

Jennifer, what a great way of putting it.. getting back to life. I truly felt like I was somewhat normal after all these months. It breaks up the monotony of being home day after day, waiting to get "better". I think getting away and not being at home and aware of every little ache is wonderful. I highly recommend it, even if it is little weekend trips. It really does take your mind off the recovery, and makes you realize that life does get back to normal, eventually!

Jess, there is no way I could have done that before surgery. With the pinched nerves and stenosis, I could not trust my legs to always be there for me; and the ribs resting on my pelvis were very uncomfortable, so climbing that thing would have been dangerous and painful. I truly don't think I could have done it. So yes, I was amazed and so happy! And from someone who has lived in both big cities and tiny towns- you city girls (and scoli girls!) are just as tough as anyone else! There is a reason they call it the concrete jungle...lol

Judy-you are doing the right thing, focusing on the benefits. It is always a trade off, but in the end you will be better for it. I am so happy with how I am doing, and I am doing far more than I imagined I would. It really hasn't stopped me from doing anything. Sometimes there may be a little adjustment to how you do things, but it truly isn't as bad as people imagine. I know- I was there, extremely worried about it, too! Good luck!

08-24-2011, 12:13 PM
I too want to thank you for sharing. I am in the middle of my surgery decision mainly motivated by the declining power of my legs. It's great to see what you can do 6 months post op and also to hear the contrast pre-op and that you had nerve issues with your legs, but they are working well and reliably now. Thanks for sharing. My family would love if I could join them in hiking again.
Have a continued great recovery.

08-24-2011, 12:45 PM
Thanks, Lisa. Good luck with your decision. It is such a tough one. We are talking about the rest of our lives, here!! I am so glad I finally went ahead with it. I was very active, but starting to lose the ability to do the things I loved. And even if I could force myself to do things out of sheer determinatin, or stubborness, it got to be pretty painful and I would pay the price for days. I hate to slow other people down or complain about my condition, so I would just tough it out. So it was as tough mentally as it was physically. I cannot believe how much better I feel now. Pain-free is a totally new concept to me! I am glad I put it off from the teen years, but I shouldn't have put it off quite so long. I actually should have done it about 2 years ago, before my curves collapsed so quickly. I would have gotten a much better correction. But hey, I feel great, so I have no regrets. I'm doing things that I haven't done pain-free in years! I plan on lots of hiking and biking again, and skiing late this winter. You will hike again someday, too! Send me a PM if you have any questions at all.

08-24-2011, 03:10 PM
As you know, I've already seen the awesome pictures that you sent me previously. I was so happy to see that you shared them with the forum. You truly are amazing and an inspiration to others. I think I'm doing great, but I can't imagine climbing a temple (ever)! Way to go!

08-24-2011, 04:55 PM

I agree with Jenee about the concrete jungle. I would love to visit New York, but I would be so much more nervous about that than visiting a jungle covered island. :D

08-24-2011, 08:40 PM

That is so amazing that you were able to climb that Mayan ruin at 6 months postop! Good for you. Plus the snorkeling and sailing...wonderful. What a treat after such a horrendous surgery. I was hoping to maybe go to Hawaii this year and do some snorkeling but I wasn't sure if I could do it...you have inspired me!

But what is a coincidence is that I climbed that very same Mayan temple in Coba - 20 years ago! I also visited Tulum. The water there is a gorgeous blue and yes, the humidity can be awful. Bet if feels good to be back in Bend.

Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

08-25-2011, 06:30 AM
WOW--I think I'd hesitate to climb that thing NOW, at almost 3 years post-op! :)

I'm glad you had fun, it all sounds fantastic. I know what you mean about that little voice--sometimes I still ignore it and I pay for it for a while with the tightness. SOmetimes it lasts for a week or so and I never think it will go away again, but it always does. I hope you feel better soon.