Sunday, January 8, 2017

Going the Distance: Countdown to Bermuda: "We don't recommend running for polio but it's your life!"

A memory popped up in my Facebook news feed from two years ago:
Thank you everyone for all the well wishes and the support. It looks like we're looking at a lateral meniscal tear. I'm going to go for an MRI. We're going to go for a conservative approach with physical therapy to start with. We have to see what else is going on with the structure in this beautiful left knee of mine that is been through many surgeries. It was a great visit. My favorite quote was when he said you know we don't recommend running for polio but it's your life and it works and you have to do what's right for you. He is totally on board with finding the quickest and safest way to get me back on the roads.

He wasn't quite totally on board with getting me back on the roads. After the results of the MRI came in he told me that I should not run farther than a 5K; that my knee was too far gone for any surgical repair with bone spurs, osteoarthritic degenerative changes, degenerative changes from reconstructive leg surgery, a fatty lipoma, along with an atrophied gastroc muscle, and that I should be prepared for a total knee replacement not too far down the road. He wanted me to go back to the post polio clinic for a complete reevaluation to see what interventions they could offer me because after all, "you are aging." I thought about that for a New York minute. Hmmm maybe they can help with the tremors or some OT for my fine motor skills or.....

The Universe sent me the physical therapist from hell. The massage therapist I was working with at the time wanted to collaborate with my medical team because he needed to take his cues from them. When I said that I wasn't going to have another knee surgery he shrugged his shoulders. I wanted to scream kind of like Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas...Isn't there anybody out there who knows the true meaning of Christmas only insert to help me heal?

Why yes there is the Universe answered. Dr. Ryan, a healer chiropractor's office was just a stone's throw away IN THE SAME PRACTICE from the massage therapist I was working with at the time only he never thought to refer me to him for help with my knee and for my healing. My powerful intention to heal that I set forth in my poetry was a Force that could not be stopped. Dr. Ryan who knew how running was in my blood. Ryan supported and encouraged me every mile of the way and encouraged me to set goals and be the very best I can be on my health and wellness journey!

Tom and I reflected on that appointment with the physiatrist at Spaulding Rehab's Post Polio Clinic. While he tried to be supportive of me, and in the early days of my healing odyssey, was extremely helpful, he came from a constricted view that often happens in Western Medicine. The massage therapist I was working with at the time and the physiatrist had never known the joy of running. They weren't fully alive and vibrant embracing all that life has to offer. That's not a judgment by any means and I'm sure that both of them have helped their patients and clients but for me, I need people in my life who like to do epic shit and take risks.

What running does for me can best be expressed in this quote by George Sheehan:

or in this quote by John "The Penguin" Bingham:

So Dr. Darren, you might not recommend running for polio but I don't run for polio. I run for my health, for my soul, for my mind and body.

One week from today I run my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. I'm nervous, excited, enjoying taper time with awe and anticipation and getting ready for our race-cation.

It's my life indeed and while "they said" no distance longer than a 5K or a 5 miler at most -- I say 13.1!

To your health and wellness!

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