I started this blog about five and a half months ago, when, thanks to an unleashed dog and a pile of dumb luck, a couple of spaces opened up in my pelvis. Between pieces of my pubic bone and pieces of my acetabulum. Put more bluntly, I broke my ass.
It hurt a lot. Over the first few days in the hospital, I’m pretty sure the staff just came to know me as The Girl Who Screams; rolling – even slightly – was excruciating, and I didn’t take kindly to being rushed through the process. And then, as most of you have followed, I’ve recovered, little by little.
It would be convenient – maybe even logical – to say that I’m glad I’m almost back to normal, that it’s too bad the whole thing happened. But I don’t feel that way at all. I feel like cracking those awful spaces in my pelvis helped to crack open some other spaces too…
I may have written before: It’s kind of like a big tree falling in a forest. Only then can the smaller trees below it grow; they were there all the time, but they couldn’t find the sun.
So my little trees are:
Relationships – I got to spend a lot of uninterrupted time with Michael. Yes, a good bit of it was spent taking care of basic life functions – like eating and dressing – but we also got some nice wheelchair walks, grocery store trips, and just good time together. I’m so glad for it. The recovery process also induced me to suggest the Iron Girl Tempe 5K walk for my mom and I this November. Excellent girl time; so happy to have had it. And of course, I received amazing support from lots of family & friends – from high school, college, work & Train-This. These relationships are really what matters in this life, and I’m glad I (forcibly) got slowed down enough to cultivate them.
Strength – I won’t lie. I have absolutely loved the physical recovery process. I have dug into my PT sessions like they are my job, which I guess they are. They replaced my normal daily workouts, which gave my days in the Recovery Suite some structure, and they also let me see bits of tangible progress, day by day. I was (and continue to be) fascinated at the way recovery happened: that tiny quad squeezes laid the foundation for walking; that my knee hurt far more than my hip for about a month, as the surrounding muscles rebuilt; that it’s just been in the past week that I can climb stairs without this little click in my right hip. I’m even more excited that I get to continue this process right along, as really this rehab process is just training writ large. Apply stress, allow recovery, repeat. I am so excited to see what the next season – and seasons; hell, lifetime! – holds for me. Because I learn more about myself at each step. Fascinating.
Breath – I first went to yoga class at Breathe for the heat. I figured it would feel great on my tight muscles and stiff tissues. It did. But it also helped me learn how to breathe. How to notice what’s happening right now. How to take one thing at a time, not worry about the sixteen things that have to happen next. How to notice the cold air on my skin while pumping gas, how to let a conversation be uncomfortable, how to let right now be enough. Before my accident, I had the tendency to run each day like a race; to check as many things off the proverbial list as I could before crashing home, tired, underfed, and crabby. All I was thinking of during the day was getting to the end, and then once I got there I was too wrecked to appreciate it. I’m not going to pretend that now I’ve achieved perfect balance in this respect. Because I’d be lying. But I have learned to enjoy the process more – and if not enjoy it, at least be there for it. I eat more in the afternoon now, to avoid putting on my Crabby Pants every night for dinner. I guess I’m starting to see that it’s not about getting to the end, it’s about ending well – which requires presence at every step along the way.
Faith – I use this word with some trepidation, because it’s so loaded with meaning already. I guess I’m referring to a renewed trust that good can come from bad, if given the chance.
That forgiveness – or renewal, or healing – is fundamentally, irrevocably built into the stuff of life. That just because something hurts now doesn’t mean it always will. And I especially love the fact that I – like each one of us – have the power to choose healing or not. Yes, living systems are built to regenerate, find equilibrium, heal. But I know that by doing physical therapy, using my pain as a guide, and allowing myself to rest, I cleared the way for that natural healing. This confluence of circumstance and choice is fascinating and confounding, but I have to say that I’m more in love with it – and less scared of it – than ever.
Sooo….with the new year, the blog got a new look! I decided to stay with the Mend-This title for now, basically for lack of a better idea, but also because I’m still recovering. I’ll still use the blog for recovery updates, but I’ll probably use it equally for training reports, race reports, fun pictures that I want to share, and whatever else turns my crank.
Wishing all of you a happy, safe New Year’s Eve and an excellent 2011!