Saturday, September 28, 2013

Words matter

Yesterday in yoga the teacher told us to flirt with our edge, this while we were in a difficult part of the flow. And I was thinking about the word flirt. It's a playful word. And I loved its unexpected appearance when talking about difficult fitness work.

I've always loved words. I'm told I was reading when I was three years old, but I think that's just parental love talking. I do know that I was a voracious reader and had to be sternly told "you will go outside and play!" as an elementary school bookworm kid. Before our kids were born we decided we would talk to them like reasonable people, no matter how small they were. This may have something to do with their excellent vocabularies today. And I find satisfaction with coming up with the perfect word, whether in conversation or in writing. (But now I'm all worried that these words I'm typing need improvement. The peril of a word nerd.)

So back to the topic at hand. I believe words matter, and I'm a huge fan of choosing playful lighthearted words. Some examples:

  • I often say Tim is my boyfriend rather than calling him my husband. Boyfriend just has such a playful flirty kind of feel. I'm a fan of long-term marriage (we're a week away from 24 years!) and think one of the keys to success is infusing fun into the mix any way you can.
  • I've already written about this in a previous post but writing "beauty juice" on a pitcher filled with water was the magical key to getting me to drink more water. I was a huge Diet Pepsi fan and hated the taste of water. But "beauty juice" trumps soda any day!
  • The actual word play can make such a difference regarding exercise. Fartlek (which sounds like "fart lick" and makes me laugh) is a Swedish word meaning "speed play." Using that idea, sometimes I do park play. Or hill play (so much better than hill repeats, right?). 
  • Borrowing from school lingo, any new experience is a field trip to me. I've gone on field trips by myself to new yoga studios. My kids and I took their guinea pig on a field trip to Starbucks, cage and all. The word adventure would also work, but as the daughter of two teachers, field trip is my choice.
If you have special words you use to add more fun, I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Doctor says...

... tears in gluteal tendons on both sides. At least that's her best guess. Because these tendons are always active that's why I can't seem to get any relief, except when I'm lying down. Next step is MRI and if she sees what she thinks she'll see, the solution is PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections, where they take your blood, separate out the platelets and inject them into the area.

I have a teeny tiny spark of hope that I could be pain free and maybe even running again by the end of the year.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I think I know, but I don't

My doctor says I have arthritis in my hands, and that's why it hurts to push down (think pushups or downward facing dog). Arthritis doesn't really jive with my picture of me (active, healthy, energetic) but with the stresses of almost five years of trying to take care of my parents, it's not surprising. 

Five years ago I was training for my first marathon. My high goal (which I told very few people about) was BQin, but just to be running a marathon was amazing, as a "last picked for everything" girl. I can't stop smiling as I think of that day:
  • Tim driving me to the starting line
  • My mental game plan (run first 10 miles with my head, next 10 with my legs, and the final 6.2 with my heart)
  • Knowing I'd see my family along the race route (they were at mile 10 and mile 20)
  • The crisp clear weather -- one of the very best years to run CIM
  • Seeing my besties at mile 23 -- they surprised me by coming out and ran the last 3 miles with me (tears in eyes as I think of this)
  • Finishing in 3:58:05, which meant I qualified for Boston!!!!!

Still running at mile 20, but seeing family makes it all good.
Laudon and Donna -- couldn't have done it without them!
Having my family there was wonderful. And my teen boys got up early for me. That's huge, people.
Tucker decorated my mirror. I left this up for weeks.
One month later, my dad fell and broke his arm, which triggered Alzheimer's, and his whole world, and mine, changed. 

In the years since, I've stayed active, but my parents health needs have taken priority over my own. So three years ago I noticed hip pain. But I was still able to run, and any doctor visits were for my mom or my dad, so I kept running. About a year or so later I added in yoga, which was a very good combination, but the hip pain was always there. I've tried a lot of things to address the pain, but nothing has helped. So I lived on lots of ibuprofen and lots of caffeine and just kept going. In March I stopped doing yoga, because my parents situation had gone from really bad to awful. In May I stopped running because the hip pain could no longer be ignored. In the last couple of months, hand and foot pain have entered the mix, and after I tried to run recently (thinking "fuck it, I hurt all the time so might as well try", so I did a slow jog, just a couple of miles), my right knee started hurting and "tears in eyes" pain from hips told me that running is completely out of the question.

Last week I went back to yoga for the first time. Tim went with me. (Without him I don't think I could have gone.) And I cried a lot, but that's easy to hide in a hot yoga class where tears look a lot like sweat. :) My body and my spirit felt broken, but after the class I felt peaceful and I felt more like the me I used to know.

On Monday I went to yoga again. On this day, my hands were so painful I couldn't do much of anything in class. About halfway through class I had to step out, because the mixture of frustration and pain and sadness had me wanting to just scream or hit the walls. It was just a few months ago that I was able to do this. And I loved it. And now? So fucking unfair to return to what I love and yet be unable to do it.

Yesterday I went back again. I was fully expecting to do little to nothing in terms of yoga poses, but knowing that I needed to follow the advice of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau:
Don't do nothing just because you can't do everything.
Do something. Anything.

And guess what? My hands didn't hurt as much as they did on Monday. The takeaway is this: every day is different from the one that came before it. So I may think I know, but the truth is that I don't.

Today I see a sports medicine doctor for my hips. X rays have shown that there's nothing wrong structurally. And because of a cancellation, I get to see the doctor today, instead of two weeks from now.  I can't go back to five years ago (nor would I want to), but maybe I can recapture the spirit of the me I used to be, because that girl is alive and well inside my heart.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I fucking hate feelings

Disclaimer: I realize that the things I bitch about are things that others would give anything to have as complaints. There's a man in Rocklin who is unable to use his arms and legs as the result of a freak accident 2 weeks ago. I know a 20-year-old girl who is dying of cancer. But because writing helps, here goes.

This morning I wanted to put some pictures onto my computer from the good camera. But I couldn't find the cord that connects the camera to the computer. And that was all it took. "I hate that I can't do the things I want to do," I whined to Tim as I handed him cords from the junk electronic stuff drawer. He said, "You give up too easily," as he found the right cord.

I was furious. I went upstairs and considered why. I wasn't angry with Tim. In fact, I was only angry because what he said had a ring of truth to it. And as I puttered around, I got angrier and angrier. I wanted to punch the walls or throw anything or just claw my face off. (Can you tell that I don't do anger often or well?)

It feels like I've spent my life perfecting the art of learned helplessness. You know how they teach baby elephants to stay in one place? They put a collar on them, attach it to a strong chain, and attach that chain to a metal stake in the ground. And the baby elephant pulls and pulls, but after some time realizes that he is chained in that one spot. Once the elephant has learned that, for the rest of his life you can practically tie a string around his neck, and attach it to a dandelion and he'll just stay in that place, because he believes he's unable to move. Yep, that's what being me feels like.

For almost five years I've made my life smaller as my parents have gotten sicker. It's not what they asked me to do, nor is it what I've wanted. It's just that I haven't known how to do it any other way. Things went from really bad to practically intolerable in April, and they stayed nearly that difficult until just a few weeks ago when my mom died.

So the anger? It's about a lot of things. About being unable to run because of chronic hip pain. About watching my brother and his band as they make music and enjoy life. About wanting to teach yoga, but not even practicing any more. About fighting a fight that I never wanted to even know about, but because of my oldest child responsibility issues, couldn't stay out of. So the anger? It's at me. And the anger feels wild and frightening and filled with possibilities. Because maybe the anger is appropriate if it puts me right at the beginning of something new, or as I've heard it expressed
This shit has got to stop.