I started this blog in April 2015 to journal my way through a running program to completing my first 5k, and also as a way to hold myself accountable to be sure I completed the program. I had no idea if anyone would actually read it. There are so many blogs about running as I’ve discovered. I also didn’t know if I was that good at writing to tell you the truth; it was mostly my random thoughts about my experience through the Genesis Running Program to see if I could actually complete that first 5k. As I wrote each post I was surprised to find there were people who were actually reading this blog and were interested in what I had to say. This helped with the accountability of completing the program. And I also found out what how supportive the running community is both virtually and in real life. The support and encouragement I found through this blog from all those who followed it was incredible. Matt the coach from the Genesis Program uses the post Remembering The Why as part of the week 5 message for the runners in the program now. That’s so cool and such and honor that a program that inspired me so much I am now part of that.
I found the same motivation and inspiration when I started training for my first half-marathon also through the Genesis Program. The bloggers here were also very supportive and followed my journey through that as well. Now with my injury, the support has also been there as well as good advice. I do my best to stay positive here, who wants to read negative drama 😀
So thank you to all of you who read and followed this blog and have been supportive of my journies and stories.
That was a question I asked my groups this week at work. Actually, I asked who their role models/heroes were in an attempt to get them to see and understand there are many examples of people who have overcome challenges and they could apply that to their sobriety. Of course, there is always a method to my madness, this exercise also helps to keep them from being a perpetual victim to addiction and their circumstances, at least in theory that what was the goal.
I started the exercise by giving examples of people who have and do inspire me. It’s changed over the years and circumstances. I read a lot of inspirational things; the blogs that a follow are full of inspirational people who are challenging themselves to go the next level. I’ve read books about people who have overcome addiction by using running such as David Clark. He was addicted to drugs/alcohol and food now he’s an ultra marthaon runner. If you have not read his story I highly recommend. The people who complete the Genesis Running Program the program that got me started running are some of the most inspirational people you could ever meet. Barbara who I met through Genesis has become a mentor/friend, and btw finished third in her class at the Greenbrier Half-Marathon yesterday..go, Barbara! Has become one of my running role models.
Anyway, as I did this exercise with my groups last week I was amazed how many (just about all of them) had not given any thought to who their role models were and honestly most gave answers they thought I wanted to hear. One person, in particular, said there was no one who was a role model to her, no one who inspired her. No one on the planet earth. Yes, I asked that question. I didn’t entertain it because I knew what was going on, and it’s not just with my groups. I’m seeing it a lot all over the place…this need to be a constant victim. If she had identified a role model it meant there was a possibility she could overcome whatever it was she is going through as well. No more excuses. Will be difficult to get through it? Of course, is necessary to make the changes to get through it? Yes. Anyone we admire will tell you their accomplishments didn’t come easy.
We as humans are not all the unique if we are really honest about it. If I had a dime for every time I heard “you don’t know me” seriously I would be sitting pretty. Our problems are about the same, they may come wrapped differently but basically, they are the same. Even with my current issue, I know someone has had this issue and gotten through it as I’m sure I will. Although I will admit I’ve been very frustrated by it I won’t lie. And I’ve been in sort of a space the last few weeks, the trick is not to stay there and get stuck. Yesterday was not a good day I really wanted to be at that race. But I couldn’t even stand as a spectator, yesterday was one of my not so good days. So today I rested, heat and ice, I feel a little better today. I’ve read some read inspirational blog posts today which helped me to refocus. I don’t know about my client’s but I know I will be back on track to the goals that were set.
It’s been an interesting week well actually it started last Friday after I took my grandmother to her doctors’ appointment which I mentioned in my last post. When I left off in my last post I was having difficulty moving that Saturday well that lasted the whole weekend. I could not move all weekend and even missed two days of work this week. I don’t remember when I ever been in so much pain. I couldn’t sleep in my bed so the recliner was where I tried to sleep. I tried my acupressure mat for relief, my heating pad, ice, it was so bad I finally said uncle and took some pain medicine I had here at the house; I just couldn’t take it anymore. That was the first time I had taken anything since all this started. I felt like I had been defeated. But taking the medicine did allow me to get some much needed sleep.
In the meantime, I had gotten the referral to the pain doctor, the appointment was scheduled for this past Wednesday at 8 am. By this time I was feeling a little better at least I was able to walk and be in the vertical position. YAY! I was still having some pain, however. Anyway, I get to the doctor’s office, and let me say this, his front line staff were not the friendliest of people, very robotic, no eye contact, it wasn’t very welcoming. Maybe they don’t realize how important their role is to patient care. But the staff in the back wasn’t any better. Eventually, the Dr comes in all smiles, the first person to smile during this whole experience, in his suit with a resident, also in a suit. Interestingly enough the doctor is also a runner, from what I hear a pretty competitive one. He’s run the New York City Marathon a few times. He told me he’s worked with many runners so he understood my desire to get back to it. He did his examination and reviewed my MRI. He agreed with the neurosurgeon, that surgery wasn’t needed. He did see some thickening of the spine, minor stenosis, for which he recommend two injections.
He was concerned about the weakness in my left leg; he said it was significant and ordered physical therapy for that and my core. He said if we don’t get that strengthened up it could be like a car that is out of alignment and the damage it can do to the tires except the damage would be to my back. So I asked the question…”when can I get back to running? To which he said to me “maybe by next spring“. I was like WHAT??!! I’ve got the Charleston Distance 5k in August and the Marshall University Half-Marathon in November that I’ve already registered for coming up (oh he’s running in the CDR 15 Miler and MU-Marathon). He just said yes, and maybe there is a possibility I could be ready in November but not to get my hopes up.
I went back to work after that appointment the first day this week I had been at work. I was still having some pain too I took my heating pad to work with me. I was aggravated all day, I probably shouldn’t have gone in. I really couldn’t focus my mind was all over the place, as a therapist that’s not a good thing when my job is to listen to what people are saying. I think I’ve been doing my best to remain positive about this whole thing I had just had it. When I got to work someone asked me how it went and her response was “well you did turn 49 this year” and that sent me through the roof!! I’m like really!? My age doesn’t have a damn thing to do with this. Sometimes the State I live in drives me crazy. I’m a healthy, fit person, so keep your age stuff to yourself.
It’s been a tough week and I’ve been preoccupied with this all week. For some reason, I still don’t feel like there is a resolution. So I started looking up research regarding diet and chronic pain, stress, and chronic pain to find out if there could be a possible connection there as to cause and effect. I did get a call today to schedule physical therapy which the first session/assessment was set for June 1st. No word on when the injections will be done.
I received the results of my MRI yesterday it turns out I have osteoarthritis in my joints as well spinal stenosis. My doctor referred me to a neurosurgeon, whose office called me today and I have an appointment next week; I couldn’t believe I was able to get in so quickly, but I’m so grateful and glad I did. The other option was pain management, which I don’t want, because all they is just that, manage pain, it doesn’t fix anything. If I want to be able to run again I want a solution not a band aid.
My friend Susan asked me how I was dealing with the information and honestly I’m not sure. I think the reason I didn’t write this post yesterday was because I was still processing the information. It was also not a good day, I was in a lot of pain yesterday, I had to lay flat a lot which made for an interesting work day..ha! Anyway, I’m not someone who thinks in terms of being old, in fact you will not hear me say “oh I’m getting old”. As I said in my last post what we think we become so I do my best to watch how I think and allow to come into my space. But when I heard the word osteoarthritis “old” was the first thing that came to my mind. I didn’t want to become an old person. (BTW I did one of the biological age quizzes and mine was 35, I know it’s all in fun but I’m just sayin 😃 ) I had to googled spinal stenosis and you all know how the internet can be…blah. Anyway, I was supposed to be going to Sacramento next week for a meeting but I know I would not be comfortable at all especially on a five hour flight. Right now I’m alternating between sitting and standing because I can’t do either comfortably for long periods of time. Also the venue of our actual meeting was moved from the hotel to about a half a mile away, so if wanted to make a quick exit to go lay down that was no longer an option. So since I’m chair of a committee I informed them I couldn’t physically be there but if possible and necessary I could be there via Skype, total bummer, especially since I have a non-refundable plane ticket! But it’s all good the doctor was able to get me in next week so it all works out. I think the sooner I see him the better; it wouldn’t be good to prolong that appointment. And everyone understood so there was no problems, my co-chair has everything under control, I’ll miss seeing everyone though..🙁 Oh, and Susan asked if I wanted her to go the the doctor appointment with me next week..she’s the best!
As those of you have read this blog know I had a MRI scheduled on Thursday to hopefully find out what is going on with me. But before I get to that I want to talk about my friend Susan. As I mentioned in my last post she is now my emergency contact she had no idea what had been going on until I asked her permission to use her for this position. We had made plans to meet for dinner on Thursday; well as things sometimes go, when we finally got the approval for the MRI the appointment would be the same day and time we were supposed to meet for dinner, 530 on Thursday. I let Susan know about the appointment and without missing a beat she asks if I would like her to go with me. Honestly was taken back by her question, I mean really it was just a MRI and if you know me I function pretty much independently. I mean I’m the one who takes care of everyone else, that my job, it’s my role. So I gave my typical response, “Oh that’s okay you don’t have too, I’m good”. To which she said “it’s no problem” asked me what time the appointment was, she was not letting me off the hook. 😄
The day before the appointment I get a text from Susan asking me how I was feeling and what time we were meeting, it should be noted Susan and her family have a lot going on right now, and that’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to “bother” her with this “simple” appointment. Anyway, I told her what time to meet, but here’s where I realized what kind of friend Susan was, when I told her what time to meet, she asked me if I wanted her to come and pick me up and take me to the appointment. Instantly I started to tear up and cry. Now this may seem silly to some but let me explain. My friends are very important to me, when anyone describes me the one word that is typically used is loyal. I know I’m a good friend but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that friendship has not always been reciprocal. I’ve since learn my patterns of dysfunction that have contributed to that and I’ve “trimmed the fat” so to speak and let go of some people that were not healthy for me (hard lessons). When I bought my house (my current address), “my friend” whom I had known since I was five years old and at the time referred to as my “best friend” she said to me “I won’t come and visit you down here”. I was stunned by the comment from my “friend” one because she said at all and two because it wasn’t that far away. But the statement did have an impact on me, from then on no matter who it was I would always accommodate them so they wouldn’t have to go out of their way to come see or anything. And it all went back to that one statement. So you see when Susan graciously asked to pick me up for my appointment, that person and her statement came to mind; and the difference between her and Susan and the type of friend Susan is to the type of friend I thought the other one was given our long history together, brought me tears. True friends are so very hard to find.
Needless to say I didn’t have her pick me up, not because I didn’t want to inconvenience her I was leaving from work and to go home would have been out of the way and I would have been late for the appointment so it would have just been easier to meet at the office for both of us. Had it not been for that I would have accepted her offer. But it gets better. Thursday comes and I arrive a little early, (traffic was better than expected). So I start with the paperwork, Susan arrives a few minutes later, and we talk until I’m called back, she keeps my purse while go back. It turns out I was glad she was there I was a little nervous.
The MRI technician, Sally, was so very nice, she did everything to help me to be comfortable. She told me the MRI would take about 20-30 minutes, I had no idea..so I went out and told Susan, she said “oh yea, I know, I got my book”. I was like okay..still in disbelief she was going to sit there and wait for me. I get into the room and there’s that tube I had to go into, Sally, gives me earplugs, a sheet to cover up and asks me what I like to do. I told her running of course, she says close your eyes and picture yourself running, to help me calm down as she puts me into the tube. She then offered me a small cloth to put over my eyes to further help me calm down. She was so great, as she got me ready she offered me headphones to further block the noise, she said relax you are running and before I knew it I was in a meditative state, my breathing was slow I could feel my body, and I was running a full marathon in my mind. It was a beautiful sunny day and I saw myself running and completing the marathon before I knew it, the MRI was over. Meditation is a wonderful thing. I was somewhat startled when this guy started taking things off of me, I asked where’s Sally? He said she’s at the control panel. When I got up, I went in gave her a big hug for being so nice to me and making this a pleasant experience. Being a healthcare provider myself, I know all to well that healthcare providers too often have a tough go of it and are not told they are appreciated, I wanted Sally, to know she was.
Anyway, Susan was waiting for me when I finished I hugged her too and thanked her so much for coming and staying with me. She had a pretty stressful day so that fact that she was with me, speaks volumes about her. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at a Mexican restaurant and then we parted ways for the day. I haven’t gotten the results yet, hopefully early next week I will know something. But even without the results yet, I learned a lot from the experience for which I am grateful. 😊
Well my MRI is finally scheduled for Thursday of this week exactly two weeks to day that I had my doctor’s appointment. I’m not sure what took so long to get the pre-authorization from the insurance but I’ve never had a pre-auth take almost two weeks to obtain. Hopefully we will have some answer soon as to what is going on. Which leads me to the point of this post. It’s interesting when some people ask me about what has been going on I start to hear the horror story of age. I don’t see myself as an “old person” in fact when I someone tells me I don’t look my age I’m often perplexed by the statement. What exactly does that mean? What exactly is my age “supposed to” look like. I got a text from a friend today who is the exact same age as I am and she described herself as “overweight, sick, and old” but she started training for the distance run here in Charleston in August; which was going to be “an uphill fight”. I keep telling people despite whatever is going on with me, my goal is to be back out there running again. I’m going to let my body really heal; but I plan to be back out there no matter what. I don’t use words like old, sick, aging, etc. I find them to be negative and if you bring that type of thinking into your world that is what you become. I’m not sure why our culture is programmed to believe when you get into your 40’s or for some your 30’s somehow life is over and it’s all downhill. That’s why I don’t tell people my age anymore, not for vanity sake so people can’t put me into a box of the “supposed to for your age” BS. When I don’t tell people what my age is they actually think I’m years younger than I really am. I think that is in part due to my attitude, I don’t talk about aliments all the damn time, you never hear me say dumb stuff like “I’m getting old”, I do my best to keep negativity out of my world, and I’m good to my body, one of the reasons I want to get back out there running again. My doctor said my labs were great, cholesterol every thing were fantastic! Whoo! Why on earth would I call myself old for crying out loud?!
I’m not sure what happens to us as we transition into adulthood. It’s like my running coach told us, our bodies are built for running. As kids we run all the time and don’t even think about it; it’s fun. Then we become adults and we forget it was once fun and say ridiculous things like “running is bad for your knees”. Maybe it’s all that weight on top of your knees that’s bad for you…just sayin…Anyway, I don’t want to be one of those people who is always talking about becoming an old person, that’s the fastest way to become one. As a child of the 80’s I saw all the John Hughes movies (wasn’t that a requirement). The Breakfast Club was one of my favorites. There is a line in this movie when they are questioning if they are going to be like their parent’s. To which Ally Sheedy’s character says “it inevitable when you grow up your heart dies”. I think there is some truth to that statement. We grow up and forget how to play or that we even once kids. I’m not talking abut being irresponsible but not following some script that says I have to stop living, dreaming, accomplishing and being adventurous because I’v reached a certain age. Where is this written??
My 50th birthday is in January and I’m already thinking about how I want to celebrate it. And one thing for sure is there will not be anyone allowed who will be talking about being over the hill or any old stuff; I am not the one. Heck, maybe I’ll be ready to do my first full marathon by then..who knows!!..I’m currently watching this ultra marathon going on across the Sahara Desert, SlowRunnerGirl mentioned it in her blog. This is the coolest thing ever; I’m not saying I could ever do this but there are people of all ages doing this thing! I gotta give props! Ultra runners amaze me and they have my respect. They inspire me to keep going and not get caught up in all the negative stuff. But the same can be said for those who are finishing their first 5k and never thought they would, that was me three years ago. I admire people who don’t limit themselves with the excuse of age and get out there do what they want.
So MRI on Thursday and no matter what the results show I will be pushing forward and do my best to not get caught up in those “old” negative Nancy’s out there. Maybe I should take one of those emotional age quizzes. It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of those; the last time I did one I was much younger than my biological age.
Update after my MRI…until then keep it positive and watch those thoughts…🙂
If you have read this blog then you know I am a substance abuse therapist. With the suspected diagnosis of compression fracture in my back I’m careful who I tell about it; for several reasons. One the OMG! response, which happened when I told the person who is now my in case of emergency contact. I changed this because the person I had has been acting like a bonehead I need a person who is reliable. So when I asked for permission to use her she obviously asked what was going on and up to this point I had not mentioned anything about it. The other response has been, “did you get that from running?” To which I will say no and say sitting all day is more harmful than running; that always leaves them scratching their heads! 😅
Yesterday I was looking for new end tables and a coffee table for my living room. Prior to that I had been to the grocery store for my grandmother and did a little cleaning for her. She turned 93 last month and it’s what I typically do on Saturdays. So I had lifted some heavy bags, cases of water, etc needless to say I was in a some pain before I left to do my errands. I was wearing a knee brace for support however. My grandmother’s other kids who live by and can help don’t (knuckleheads) so I’m the one who takes care of what she needs done no matter what. So I do what needs to be done for her because it has to be done. By the time I reached the furniture store I was hurting pretty good; the sales lady, Connie, could see it in my face, she was real nice. She explained she had also similar back issues at one time had a small surgery and other treatments and has been good ever since. The most positive response I have received. It was refreshing. She did say however, it took time and she had to be careful with what she did but she is good today. As we were picking out my tables she asked if I wanted to sit in this Zero Gravity Reclining Chair…okay, can I just say..OMG!! This was the best chair ever! First of all it was soft and comfortable that alone made it worth it. But then she said push the button on the side of the chair to recline it, I found my spot I felt the pain ease up…fabulous! Best chair ever! And it was on crazy sale! I didn’t buy it right then I called my grandmother to tell her about it and she asked me if I bought and that I should. That woman is funny. I had to come home to figure where I would put if I decided to get it; my living room isn’t that big. But I think I will get it.
On my way home I called a friend who had been asking what was going on so I told her, Dawn is always a positive person. While we were talking I told her I had to give in and no matter what is revealed by the MRI or x-ray I’m really going to have to let my body truly heal because recovery is process that takes time. I know I can be and have been hardheaded about this is mostly because I found something I like to do in running and I miss it a lot. In fact there is a group of Genesis Grads doing The Run The Bluegrass Half-Marathon in Kentucky this weekend and I’m totally jealous; but it’s not my time. I also have a business trip coming up at the end of the month in Sacramento, I’m not sure I will be able to sit for five hours on a plane even though by then we should have a better idea of what’s going on; that’s still a long time on a plane in an uncomfortable seat. Maybe I could Skype into it or something, we’ll see about that one.
I know I’m frustrated because my muscles have atrophied, I’m losing the fitness I’ve gained due to the inactivity and there has been a little bit of weight gain 🙁 So I’m wanting to rush getting better. However, recovery doesn’t work that way, it takes time and I’m going to have to be patient, learn the lessons I’m supposed to learn, do what I need to do, so I can heal, so I can be ready to get back out there and not re-injure myself…The same thing I tell my clients to do. And as always do my best to keep it positive.