This one is near and dear to me. I’ve been in the Army my entire adult life and have spent 22 years jumping out of airplanes. Along the way, I’ve had a few injuries, but two stand out, I dislocated my hip with an associated cradle fracture, and I’ve broken my C4-C6 vertebrae with a really bad landing. These were thankfully separate injuries at separate times, but there were silmilarities in the healing and recovery process.
I’ll skip a lot of it, but the key takeaway for me, the thing that really enable me to get going again was to treat it not think in terms of what I could do before. The weeks before I broke my neck, I was riding 300 miles and running tss numbers of 650 or better on the reg. Obviously after 9weeks of recovery basically doing nothing, that wasn’t going to be the norm, but I didn’t realize how much everything had changed for a while. I had to be refit on my bike, my flexibility was reduced, my aerobic and anaerobic abilities were minuscule, and my over all endurance (toughness) was way, way down. It was a six month process to get back to something really solid, but pretty quickly in I was getting demoralized, thinking I’d never return, etc etc. obviously these are common emotions for people who use and train their bodies when faced with major setbacks and injuries, but I really let them bring me down. It took a good friend talking to me a few times (slapping me in the face with reality) to remind me that it didn’t matter what I got back to, I was only measuring myself against me, and that had to be the “new” me, the post injury me.
This guy was uniquely qualified to tell me these things as he had lost his right leg, and part of the same hand in Afghanistan, but was trying himself to get back in the triathlon game. He went through all this, the self pity, the unwillingness to accept the change etc, and in the end he was better and stronger. Bottom line, I realized that dwelling on what I used to do, and used to be capable of, was no good, and the way forward was just to focus on the here and now, one day at a time as they say.
Like so many of the previous posters said, you can totally do it just keep your head straight, let your body and your physical therapist be your guide, and keep moving forward.