Thursday, February 5, 2015
"Don't Overdo It" - If I don't test my limits, I won't know what they are!
I love Dr. Darren Rosenberg, the physiatrist I see to manage living with the effects of paralytic polio. As a recovering Type A personality, I do have to be mindful about how I care for and train my body but then again so does everybody. It's a little more challenging for me because I was trained early on to push myself to get myself out of my leg brace and be able to walk again without a mobility device.
That early training served me well as I trained for and ran the 2009 Boston Marathon and in my several running comebacks but it can lead to injury, overdoing it pain, and hitting the wall with an "I can't do another thing" fatigue. I'm not playing with a full deck so to speak in that, as we learned from the results of the MRI, the gastroc muscle on my inner left leg atrophied as a result of "chronic denervation" meaning because of the polio. And I know there are other muscles that have atrophied engaging other muscles to do their job. So there's a greater likelihood for injury given that other muscles are compensating for what is not there - as of now that is! I believe in playing in the field of infinite possibilities! As I was leaving my appointment with him, his parting words were, "Don't over do it." I teased and said "Me? When have I ever overdone it?" He looked at me with warmth and said, "Yeah right."
In keeping with yesterday's theme, "We can't control the weather..." , I've been thinking a lot about how I do manage my life. My life used to manage me as I felt I had no control over what was happening in my body. I have my meltdowns and frustrations especially during winter storms where I have to be especially mindful and careful with what I do but for the most part, I am finding a rhythm and acceptance of what is while always striving for higher and higher ground in my rehabilitation journey.
Truth be told, I DID overdo it last weekend! Friday is usually a rest day for me but after the PT fiasco, I needed to sweat it out. I volunteered for Super Sunday 5K bib pick up on Saturday. I made sure I had a chair and sat when I was able to but it's a high demand job and I loved every minute of it. We had to get up very early on Sunday for Tom to run the race. I walked around in the freezing temps and did more walking at a brisk pace than I had since my knee injury in December. I was able to sit in the car and spectate and then we walked around after Tom crossed the finish line. On Monday, since I could not and should not go out to help with snow removal, I decided to clean our house from top to bottom. Spring cleaning. On Tuesday I was up uber early to make it into Aquatics Therapy and had an intense and wonderful workout. Driving home took a lot longer than usual and by noon, I had hit the wall. Big time! I could not do anything other than lay down and rest. It's not a comfortable kind of tired but rather one where I have no choice but to stop everything and rest; it's the kind of tired where I have to tell myself to not be afraid and that with rest I will recharge and recover.
I napped on and off Tuesday afternoon and got 12 hours of sleep Tuesday night. On Wednesday, I paced myself throughout the day, resting, meditating and listening to music to make sure I had a good store of energy for Wednesday afternoon aquatics. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
While being as mindful as I can be and making choices based on the knowledge of what is right for me, now, I also choose to live my life with passion even if that means overdoing it at times. I told Tom that last weekend was my training for when we go to Hyannis for the Hyannis Marathon Weekend. I'll have a table at the Expo and it will be a high energy weekend for sure.
I use my mantra, "I have all the energy I need to do what I want and need to do." I also believe that my body is constantly renewing itself and surprising me. There was a time when I experienced chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression and it took so much effort just to make it through the hours in a day. Now I listen to my body and am mindful of how I choose to expend my energy. I no longer fight against myself or beat myself up when I do "hit the wall" nor do I have to get sick in order to take good care of myself. And there are going to be times when I do overdo it because if I don't test my limits, I'll never know what they are.
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"Journey Well" is a book about resilience, strength, courage and how we are able to journey well no matter what conditions life hands to us. I profile the people who are Boston Stronger and share how 4/15/13 was a wake up call to me to return to my healing path from contracting paralytic polio at age 5 and 9 years of domestic violence as a child and adolescent.
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