I know this is the cliche way to start a blog… but, I’ve been meaning to write for so long. About so many things. Not to any audience in particular, because I’m sure so few people even see this. Moreso just to say things. To get them in a place. My brain often runs so quickly that it feels like ADD and I can’t focus. When I feel like I can’t focus, I know writing helps; however, I write so slowly that it can’t keep up with my brain. At least I type fairly quickly so it makes it a little easier to put down.
My leg. Legs. I had a procedure to try and fix an injury. I’ve been battling this injury for almost two years now… December 7th will be the two-year mark where I realized there was definitely something more wrong than just overtraining for the 2019 Chicago Marathon. Ha, the Chicago Marathon was my last in-person race. At least I set a new personal record and got to have a really great time with people. But after recovering from Chicago, I set my sights on my next race, the Asheville Marathon, which was supposed to be held on my birthday. It would have been my 20th marathon, but of course, by March 22, 2020 (race day) we all know what the state of the world was in, and honestly, by that time my injury was persistent and I had already started seeing my first ortho.
At that point, it was probably just high hamstring tendinosis. It really hadn’t manifested into the shit storm that it became (and still is… Spoiler). My ortho was a bad fit. Was really not engaged and not prioritizing my health and wellbeing. Eventually, I just stopped going to him, sick of paying the co-pay for him to poke, prod, and then come to the conclusion (the same conclusion every time for months) that these things take time. Just keep doing what you’re doing.
By the time New Year’s came around and I had resolved that 2021 was going to be my year of rehabbing this thing the correct way, there was so much additional trauma and damage done around the area, including compensatory injuries to my other leg. In early 2021 I finally saw a new ortho with a new plan. We got new imaging done and settled on an experimental treatment that she has had significant results with in other patients. Platelet Rich Plasma injections. Taking your body’s natural healing elements and injecting them via guided ultrasounds to get them saturated in the most significant areas. The downside, she mentioned, was that HHT typically requires two treatments and it’s an out-of-pocket expense.
The recovery was intense, including crutches for a few days, staying almost completely off my feet, dealing with the pain purposely avoiding any anti-inflammatory meds (in this case the inflammation was good and promoting healing). And then starting in on physical therapy that would – in hindsight – last 5+ months.
Overall, I think I’m better than I was pre-injection; however, I’m not great. There’s actually MORE pain in one part of my leg than pre-injections. My hamstring is still acutely painful most of the time. My surrounding muscles and overall body has atrophied as a result of significant movement reduction. I’m actually starting at less than scratch because I’ve never been in this shape before. Not to mention the weight gain… Obviously, even consciously knowing going into these kinds of procedures, I knew that my high-calorie consumption and a sudden drastic reduction in activity was going to result in weight gain. And even though I did as much as I thought I could to mitigate, I’m currently not only heavier than I have ever been (excluding pregnancy), I’m also in the worst shape I’ve ever been in and my body composition is so troubling.
All of this causes a lot of mental issues, right? Like, I’m not the most sound of minds with my mental health cocktail of issues. PTSD, PPD, Depression, Anxiety, recently the worst Panic Attack I have ever had (literally thought I was having a stroke). And these are just the diagnosed ones that I’m aware of. Most of my previous doctors haven’t bothered with a diagnosis or they haven’t shared it with me.
Add into that mix this dramatic change in activity, specifically running and lifting hard, which has always been a healing component in my life. Add into THAT the body image issues of a woman who grew up with the tabloid shit, body-shaming norm, and the constant need to be stick-thin. (I started actively and regularly dieting and counting calories at least when I was 14, but I’m sure there was plenty present before that.) It’s not a good mix! You know, working in health and wellness for so many years between managing the health club/gym in northern Minnesota, managing the spa in Maryland, etc., and just in-general loving health and wellness journies, I’ve developed a pretty mindful awareness of the struggles and acceptance throughout those struggles. But I’ve never had an injury that has completely removed so much activity and movement from my life in one swing. I’ve never had an injury that hasn’t had a solution.
It’s removed running from my life almost completely. It has removed yoga from my life almost completely. It has removed most hikes and family walks. It has impaired my ability to do my boot camp classes with my old trainer, sometimes which I feel like I’m only trying to hang on to because I miss what I had. It impedes my ability to sleep, focus, to play with my kids. And all of this creates a really challenging complication that feels like it’s taking away my social life too.
For living in a new area right before a pandemic hit, I’ve only recently started to discover that I have less than a handful of friends and they almost all live so far away. I’ve also recently started to understand that people I thought were friends were just being kind… bless them… but have their own lives and we are actually walking on different streets. By that, I mean where I thought our friendship was versus where they have indicated it is are different places.
I get it… I’m probably a hard person to be friends with. And so many people here are in different places in their life so making room for an emotionally bagged mother with too much on her plate just isn’t a priority. I miss it though. It’s hard to admit you’re lonely. It’s embarrassing. It’s probably more embarrassing because of my age. Like, ohhhh I should have seen that before! Foolish me. Silly, foolish me.
So then we get here… Where I’m in this place of understanding and witnessing these things connect and I’m trying to identify how to move forward. Move forward with my injury and leg… Moving forward with my loneliness and mental health. Move forward with goals and create self-love, or at least acceptance (even part of the time!) and I have no idea what that looks like. They say that comparison is the thief of joy, and I’m trying not to compare, but there’s so much that I used to have that others still have and I miss it. It’s almost like mourning and in that loneliness, I just feel lost on top of it. And how do I do all of this with as little negative impact on my family as possible – because it has absolutely impacted them. It’s not a great place to be, right? It’s a lot and it takes a lot of work that honestly I don’t think I have the energy for.
And finally, I think that is the root of it all… Just being lost and stuck with so much without a clear direction or indication of where do go or how to get there. Like a limbo state of watching and wishing, but with little action. I have a vague sense of what I want: friends – LOCAL friends… I’ve been craving connection and my heart breaks when I realize I’m not included. Maybe a little more routine, a fitness or wellness goal that works with the state of my body at this moment, a healthy marriage and a happy, active family. As vain as it might sound, I’d really like to lose this weight and tone up again. I just want my clothes to fit like they used to.
Perhaps that has just been the start, then. Stating it all in one place. Putting words to some of the things I’ve been thinking. Throwing them into the world, regardless of anyone seeing them. Maybe that’s the start. I guess we’ll see.