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.


KatieFeldmom said...

I remember your BQ day very well!!! It's the only CIM I've been to and I didn't see you do it, but I remember looking for you and was so happy to get home that day to read you had done it!!!

Brit-Man said...

GOOD LUCK Leslie and whatever happens only you can really change the person you are on the inside, not this, because this is not an emotional or mental complaint, so it's something you can have some kind of control over.

I hope you find the answers you seek and you can find a way to overcome this as best as is possible.

Chin up, be strong and best wishes, beause despite everything you are still anmazing Lady, with a lot to be proud of.

:-) :-).