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A Year of Surgeries And Mental Challenges

Ahh, ringing in a new year. A time to reflect and a time to make some new goals. Well, my 2022 has been a year of surgeries. I had 3 in total. I can’t say I recommend this route but it certainly makes sense insurance-wise.

2023 Happy New Year

I have already written about my preference for carpal tunnel surgeries and have informed you about my hip surgery. I have not written much on the mental game surrounding surgeries/injuries. In my experience, the mental game can many times be more challenging than the actual physical ailment.

While carpal tunnel doesn’t have much to do in terms of PT, it still takes you out of kayaking for about 2 months. What I did to stay active during this time was a whole lot of hiking. I did so much hiking that I was exploring trails that were not on the internet or on all trails. And while this was great for my dog and me to get out, I was itching to get in a kayak like no other.

Now, the hip surgery. A whole different ball game because you can’t go hiking. The PT is pretty intense and I have been diligent to stay on top of the exercises while trying really hard not to overdo it. Honestly, the mental game for me thus far has been a bit easier with the hip surgery and I think that is largely due to the focus being on PT.

The hip surgery is likely a full year of rehabbing so I am sure it is going to get old real fast. It is mentally challenging for me at this stage in the game because typically when I am in the gym, I tend to work out hard for shorter periods of time. This is certainly not the case right now. I have not only been rehabbing the hip, but I have also incorporated shoulder and trap rehab to make sure I am as strong as possible for when I can get back into a kayak. I have learned about new imbalances in my body and have really focused on the small things that I tend to forget about because let’s be real, band work isn’t exactly my idea of a fun and exciting workout.

Hip day after surgery

(To be clear, much of the hip PT at this point is all about the core. This will definitely be a benefit to my kayaking game.)

Another thing that has helped me along this hip journey is knowing that I am coming out of it much stronger. Staying focused on getting better has kept me sane. At least to this point. I also started a list of projects that I could do during this rehab period and have been knocking them out. These are also things I have managed to not get to because I would much rather be in a kayak. I have also gone to visit friends and do things I typically wouldn’t do, such as go shopping

Hip incisions almost healed

Staying busy is the key for me. However, no matter how busy you stay, you will still miss the sport that you love. There is no denying that.

2023 – one word – recovery. I tend to not make New Year resolutions and instead, I like to pick a theme for the year. Recovery it is.

Road to recovery image

I’d love to hear what you do to stay sane through injuries/surgeries. Leave your tips/comments below! Oh and, Happy New Year 🙂


I started kayaking in Wisconsin of all places, because this is where I am from. I then moved to San Diego and took on kayak surfing along with heading to the Kern River when water was available. I then made the move to Asheville, NC and have been hooked on this sport since my Wisconsin days. With whatever it is that you do, do it because you love it, not because society tells you should or for other outside factors. Don't simply exist, live!