Who Inspires You?

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.

So who inspires you?



It’s Race Day 🙁

Today is the GreenBrier Half-Marathon, in fact, it has been underway only a few minutes. I thought I might go and be a spectator but even today I was hurting and I know I wouldn’t be able to stand to wait for people to even finish the 5k. The funny thing is there was a part of me that thought I could possibly do the 5k even walk it and not do the half-marathon. I know, I have no idea what I was thinking I can barely walk through the grocery store without the need to stop and lean for a moment. You, runners, know when the running bug hits you I think something changes in your brain and you’ll do anything to get that medal, and this one was so nice! Anyway, my friend Barbara, who is running the half, is getting my bag/shirt for me today. I’m so bummed I can’t even begin to explain. The Genesis Running Program will begin its training for the

The Genesis Running Program will begin its training for the Charleston Distance Run 15 miler in September. It’s called America’s 15 Miler; It’s America’s only 15 Mile Race which is so cool for our State. Anyway, I’m totally bummed I won’t be able to train for it; but there’s part of me that is tempted to try. Seriously I’ve really thought about it.

My physical therapy has been scheduled for June 1st. The injections have been scheduled yet, waiting for authorization from the insurance. I had to pick up the disk for my MRI to take to my Dr. next week; they also gave me the report as well, I had no idea they would do that (why would they do that, have they met me?). Anyway, it seems as if nothing was found, “MRI was unremarkable”. I almost started to cry, well actually I did. Not that I really want something to be wrong I want to know why I’m having this pain. I mean two weeks ago I literally could not move and had to miss two days of work; I’m not making this up. Even as I type this I’m sitting on the heating pad and it’s 8:10 am.  This is real.

Good luck to all those running in the Greenbrier Half-Marathon, 5k, and 10k today!


Maybe Next Spring

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.

See you at the finish line…..maybe next spring….

Cataracts, an EMG, and a Loss

The last two days have been a bit stressful, to say the least. I’ll start with yesterday and work my back. My grandmother had a scheduled appointment to have the first of her cataracts surgeries yesterday so it had been on my calendar for a couple of months. She had to be at the hospital at 7 am; I choose an early appointment because she would have to go back later that evening for her follow up since the appointment was on a Friday. Now being there at 7 didn’t mean being seen at 7..oh no. We got her checked in, honestly, we didn’t have to wait too long before she was taken back to begin being prepped. The staff at the hospital was great from the woman who checked her in, the nurse who took her back, the nurses who worked with her to get her prepped, everyone was good to her. I stayed as long as I was allowed to and then I was given a beeper like you would be given if you were waiting on a table at a restaurant and sent to back to the waiting room. When she was back in recovery that would be beep to let me know I could come back. The surgery would take about 15-20 minutes. So I went to the waiting room, checked my classroom for my Qualitative Research course that just started and got caught up on posts while I waited. Before I knew I was beeping and she was finished I went back there she was on the bed with the blue surgery hat on and a clear patch on her right, obviously not in her right mind 😂 I would post the picture I sent to my uncle but I that would just be wrong..HA!!! Anyway, we were given her instructions and told she has to come back to the Dr.’s office at 4:45 that afternoon so the doctor could check her. So we went to breakfast at Bob Evans.

In the meantime, the previous day I had received a call from my neurologist regarding the referral for the EMG. Since I had taken the day off for my grandmother’s appointment I thought it would be easy; I would just schedule it for Friday afternoon. I told her to tentatively schedule the appointment for Friday afternoon if I didn’t think I could make it I would call them. Well, I didn’t think I would have to take my grandmother back to the doctor later that afternoon. So I called and we scheduled the appointment for  1 pm and that would give me enough time to take my grandmother home, leave go to my appointment, go back and get my grandmother to be sure she would make it to her follow-up appointment. Can I have a clone, please?

I get to my neurologist and I have to say by this time for some reason, I am in quite a bit of pain that only became increasingly worse throughout the day, it hasn’t been this bad for some time. I’ve never heard of an EMG before so I had a lot of questions about what is was and what it entailed. Okay, now, can I just say OUCH!! Those shocks hurt! I was like REALLY DUDE! Then he says to me the shocks are over; I was laying down so I wasn’t looking at him. Then thing I feel is a big stick I can’t really tell you what I said to him (that would not be appropriate). I said: “I thought you were done shocking me?” He said, “I did this is a needle”. When I looked I was like that a big fraekin needle..now honestly that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I was hurting. I don’t even have a problem with needs but I was just not in the mood. When it was all over he said he thinks I may have a small pinched nerve (yet another diagnosis, geeze). But that does not explain the pain that I’m having, which he could see I was in at the time. So he ordered another MRI this time of my hip and physical therapy. My only issue with having another MRI is I will have to take my belly button ring out again, and it hard to get back in the last time..oh well. 😉 I can check with the physical therapist to see if should still do yoga at the same time. Right now I can barely move let alone get into downward dog pose.  So that was my appointment. Now I was off to get my grandmother to take her back to the doctor.

I get back to her house, she had taken a nap, we both had gotten up early, of course, she is 93 so she was tired. She was ready to go sitting in her chair with the glasses on they gave her looking like Ray Charles. It was hilarious. I had to take a few minutes because I was in quite a bit of pain but pulled it together to get her into the car. We get to the doctor’s office and it was like walking into a Ray Charles look-a-like contest, everyone from that morning at the hospital was at the office waiting to be seen in their glasses. The doctor was running behind a little so there was somewhat of a wait but once he got there he was on it. She was good, no swelling, she said she wanted a banana split. So I got her one and something solid to eat too. I took her home got her settled, when I left she was sitting in her chair eating her banana split, she was fine. I, on the other hand, was hurting so bad I could barely stand. I left her house stopped by the store got me something to eat, came home to my heating pad and gravity reclining chair and that’s where I was the rest of the evening.

I didn’t sleep well at all. I couldn’t get into a position that I wasn’t hurting. So about 5 this morning I gave up (should have done earlier) came downstairs to the recliner and heating pad and managed two solid hours of sleep. I’m still in the chair now as I write this post. But this time I gave in and took an Aleve. I haven’t taken anything so far for this but this time I need relief from the pain, which I would think is inflammation. So today, I think I’m going to be in the house. It’s supposed to rain today so at least it’s not a nice sunny day out.

Like I said when I started this post the last two days have been stressful. Thursday morning just before I was about to do my first group of the day, I received a call from my former manager where I worked prior to my current job. She told me one of my former clients, a woman who had done really well, had died. I was devastated, I lost it. She was 23 years old, I was with her when she had her first baby. Even after 26 years of working in this field (substance abuse) that call never gets any easier. I tried to pull it together before the group started but I couldn’t; so like a good therapist I just used it. They cold tell something was wrong so I told them what happened, no names of course. And then proceeded to use it as a therapeutic tool for them. They will talk about people they know who have died or overdosed, and it’s as if they are talking about a stranger, no emotional connection at all. They could see I was visibly upset about this loss. Sometimes I believe my clients think this is just a job for me and they don’t take this as seriously as they need to, and they don’t really understand they’re lives are at stake. I understand I am powerless as to whether or not someone stays sober, relapse or dies but that does not make that call any easier. Her funeral is today, I typically don’t go to those primarily for confidentially. Sometimes I will slip in the back and if someone asks me who I am I will usually say I’m a “friend of the family”. Today the question as to whether or not I’m going is resolved since I’m not mobile.

That’s been the last two days. My apologies for the length of this post there was a lot to get out. Not sure when the MRI will be we have to wait on the pre-authorization. I will be contacting Mark the physical therapist that I worked with previously to start that next week.

Oh, I also decided to go the Greenbrier Half-Marathon on the 20th. I can’t get a refund on the registration, which wasn’t inexpensive even at the early registration price. I’ve already paid for the brunch and my shirt. I’ll let my issue with having to earn it before I wear it go. And there’s a possibility that I may get to stay at the Greenbrier. My friend Barabra is working on that. With all this going on I’m grateful to her for doing that and even if I don’t get to stay there the brunch will be nice. Also, I know several people running in both the 10k and half-marathon so I can cheer them on; it will be cool to be around the running community again. Let’s hope I’m mobile.

That’s the update…

I Miss Running

I had dinner with two of my close friends this evening we call it The Ladies of The Round Table. Susan of course is one of them and our friend Ashley whom I met through Susan is the other. I’ve had some things on my mind the last few weeks that I haven’t talked about with anyone including them. It’s been awhile since the Ladies of The Round Table had gotten together so I called a meeting. We met at Pies and Pints, had appetizers, they had wine and beer, I only and water with lemon I wasn’t feeling any alcohol tonight. We each ordered our pizza, I had the Margherita pizza, delicious!! (Sorry no pictures) We caught up on what was going with each other work, family, back issues, the new Wonder Woman movie (can’t wait!), steer clear of politics (HA!!!!) but we ate and laughed it was a nice evening but I didn’t talk about what had been on my mind. I couldn’t bring it up. Not exactly sure why. What I did realize is how much I miss running. I did another yoga class last night it helped but this time I was just a little sore. Which could just be from my body getting use to movement again. But when I ran I could clear my head, sort things out, process stuff. Now that the weather is nice I’m really missing running a lot. It also doesn’t help I’m getting the count down emails to the Greenbrier Half-Marathon on May 20th which I registered for in the fall, that I’m obviously not going to be participating.

The long and the short of it I miss running…

Ineed to run

Yoga Power

I had my first beginner yoga class this morning at Yoga Power. I thought I would be able to do the aerial yoga but given my current issues they recommend starting with the basic beginner yoga class, which was cool. The place is fabulous! It’s really nice I can see why in the year that it’s been open it has gained in popularity. There were three other ladies in this morning class, obviously regulars because they talked as if they knew each other well; even so they were very welcoming, as was the instructor Janice.

I had already registered over the phone a few days before, gotten my check in info on the MindBody App, so all I needed to do was complete just a couple pages paperwork when I go there. Janice already had some information about my back and she told me to do what I can and modify the poses as necessary. The class was an hour, I did pretty well and didn’t have to modify as much as I thought I would. The only pose that really felt difficult was the pyramid close towards the end other than that I did fine. I felt good when I left better than I did when I arrived as I was in some pain when I got there not so much when I left. That was great. 👍 I did notice I’m not really as flexible as the woman next to me. She was able to go all the way flat to the floor, touching her toes, and everything. I was like wow! But I know that takes time to get but I was truly impressed. Anyway, I have a free week and I’m going to use it, if one session helped like this I can only image what a full week will do.

I had dinner last night with a friend to celebrate her birthday and she gave me a great book called Break Through Pain: A Step by Step Mindfulness Meditation Program for Transforming Chronic and Acute Pain. So now it’s about alternative approaches. I’m not going to not follow through with the doctor appointments, I will be a “good patient” but I’m now going to explore the alternatives as well.

Here’s the studio we were in this morning. One of several. Like I said the place is fabulous and it’s gorgeous. 



The book my friend gave me

No News is Good News…I Think

I had my appointment with the neurosurgeon today my wing women Susan was with me, like I said before she’s just fabulous. She went in with me to see the doctor, Dr. Schmidt, who by the way is just the coolest, laid back, straight forward dude. Susan took notes the whole time. Anyway, when we got back in the room, one of Dr. Schmidt’s assistants came in to talk to me first while he was reading the MRI disk. I can’t remember her name but I think she was a Nurse Practitioner, I think I blocked on her name because when she came in she spoke to me in that ridiculous high pitched voice, with her eyes really wide as if I was six years old. Why do people do that?! I came so close to asking her “why are talking to me like that?” but I didn’t because I didn’t want to come off rude or be labeled a “difficult patient”. Susan noticed it too and it’s a pet peeve of both of ours. Honestly that drives me crazy I don’t even it think it’s appropriate to talk to a six year old like that. Susan said “you know when a 70 year old comes in there she does the same thing”.

Anyway, she did an examination asked some questions (😡) told me she noticed pretty much what everyone had noticed, weakness on the left side, poor flexibility on the left side and of course the pain in my lower back. She poked me in my back which irritated my pain..blah! So Dr. Schmidt comes in, he’s an older gentlemen and he hops (literally) up on the examination table and starts his speech. You know there is good news, he says, he had looked at my pictures from my MRI and my spine looked okay, said some things that happen with age (whatever) but he didn’t see any bulging disks or anything like that; he said my spine looked fine and I would not need surgery (great!). He said however, “we still don’t know what’s wrong with you and why you are having this pain in your back an down your leg”. Long story short, he is going to refer me back to my neurologist for an EMG, no idea what that is, I’ve not been on Dr. Google, but apparently it has something to do with checking the nerves. He is also going to refer me to pain management, which he could tell by my reaction I didn’t want. He then said those are the experts who can handle this; to which I said I don’t want to manage the pain, I want this resolved. I almost broke down in tears, instead I became frustrated.

I asked if I could run or exercise, he told me as far as my back was concerned he thought it was safe, he saw no problems. I told him if I stand too long I start to hurt so how on earth can I do that? He didn’t have an answer. I’ve been so frustrated and preoccupied with this today it took me awhile before I could form the words to write this post. I don’t know what do, even as I write this I’m hurting. There were some folks who were texting me today to find out how it went, and I was getting crap back like “maybe they will start you on Lyrica” or “is it fibromyalgia”. Really people?? I don’t want medicine! Not that I’m putting medicine down, but we live in culture that is so pill dependent, have you watched TV lately? Every other commercial is about some medication..and I want to know what’s up not mask it!

So I think I will look into this new place that does aerial yoga called Yoga Power. You can get a week free to try it out so I have nothing to lose; who knows it may help. Susan thought that was a good idea too. My left side is still weak and the longer this goes on the weaker it will get; that can’t be good. I can’t keep waiting for the doctors. Or maybe I need to go somewhere else like Cleveland Clinic. I’m already going to miss the half-marathon next month and I’ve already registered for one in the fall I don’t want to miss that one too; not to mention all the 5k’s going on right now. I miss all of that as well as the people I’ve met in the running community.

That’s the update. My apologizes for it not being as positive as I usually try to keep my post I’m in the middle of a moment but it will pass.