I’m off the brace. Finally! Though I almost cried yesterday when my PT said that even though she also hates my brace but I have to wear it while it’s snowing outside. (Yes, it was totally snowing in Chicago yesterday. Evil, I swear). BUT, now it’s gone!
Seriously, look at this sucker, it’s the most annoying thing on the planet.
However since it has been gone, I have some observations. Clearly it’s only been one day, I’m sure I’ll have more in the weeks to follow. So far the scar is weird and I have sympathy sensations on the left side… like if I scratch the right side of my scar I feel the nerves twitch on the left side. It’s kinda creepy but kinda awesome. I don’t really understand it but it works.
Beyond that I’ve noticed that I’m extraordinarily tired because I’m using my left a lot more today than I have been when I’m restricted in my brace. And my left glute is killing me. Clearly my quad is not engaging enough and I’m compensating for it in odd ways. I’m totally working on that. However it’s not an instantaneous process. Le sigh. But every day it gets a little better. And every day I see how much closer I am to being whole again. I can’t wait until I can start biking and running again!
So I got my stitches out. I am pretty sure no one except for me wants to see this but apparently my blog has now become my “after surgery journal” where I’m documenting everything. Getting the stitches out was *way* less exciting than I thought it would be and everyone whose had it done told me it would feel weird and there’s no better way to describe it. I didn’t believe them… but they’re right. It just feels weird. It doesn’t hurt, it just feels weird – for lack of a better word.
Anyway, before the stitches came out… see the awesome little blue bits. I know so attractive.
And then after.
And now 5 days later when it doesn’t look quite as bad.
What bugs me most about this whole process is that I typically get waxed pretty frequently and I dislike shaving intensely BUT I’m a little nervous about getting my legs waxed at the moment, like I just don’t know if I can do it. And to be perfectly honest, I’m actually a little freaked out about shaving my legs as well because I don’t want to mess with the stupid wound until it’s completely healed. Also I had to buy flats today because I only own one pair and I don’t think I’ll be able to wear heels for a long time. It’s really tragic.
So it’s Saturday morning after having had surgery on Tuesday. Overall I feel pretty good. The worst part I think is not being able to sleep consistently. I stopped taking pain killers yesterday and I don’t feel any worse for it so I think that’s a good decision. I am finally able to go up stairs by myself with just crutches. It’s nice that my roommates will still walk me up and down to make sure I don’t injure myself but I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to know that I can actually do at least part of it by myself.
They say that my knee looks really good for after surgery and that I can take the bandage off myself. Personally I think it looks way better with the bandage on than off.
Though they say the scars are healing well and the bandage still looks good on the wound itself so I guess that’s a good thing. I think it looks all gross and black and blue but it could be worse, I suppose.
The hardest part about surgery is not having your independence. To rely on people for a glass of water or food or pretty much anything is a major bummer. It’s been a real adjustment for me because I will get up fully intending on getting a glass of water just to sit back down again because I realize even though I am perfectly capable of walking to the kitchen and filling up a glass of water once I’m there, I can’t actually carry it back because I’m using crutches.
There is also this thing that I have to wear a billion times a day (no joke) that compresses and pumps ice water around my leg. It’s actually pretty cool (no pun intended). It’s called a “Game Ready” and it’s really useful to have around, I’m sufficiently impressed with how high tech and awesome it is. It’s the red thing in the corner of the picture below.
I’m really lucky that my mom came up to take care of me. Even though she isn’t the strongest person around it really really helps to have someone keep track of how much I have to ice and to make sure I eat food. She also helps keep track of how much pain medication I need and to make sure I do my exercises. I’d probably do them anyway but it’s nice to have someone around so that I don’t forget. And I have the best roommates ever who helped me up and down the stairs when I couldn’t manage on my own. They’re pretty much the best guys ever. I thank my lucky stars every day for letting me find them. To be honest it’s kindof nice to have my mom around and my roommates and all of us being able to eat meals and hang out together.
For the first time in my life I can truly say that I am a little bit terrified. And I’m not really sure if there’s anything that’s going to make me feel better. Normally I’m not scared of anything. Pretty much at all. But I am a little scared of having to have surgery and 6 months of rehab. In fact, I’m not really afraid of surgery at all. That part I’m ok with, what I’m scared of is that I won’t be responsible enough to do the rehab part correctly. I’m scared of being alone. I’m scared of trying to push myself too hard too fast because I do that a lot. I’m scared that somehow I will make this worse before I can make it better.
Thankfully as afraid as I am of being alone, I have a posse of truly amazing friends that I know are here for me. I always feel silly whenever I talk to one of them because they remind me that I’m not as alone as I feel. It’s just that I don’t need them right this minute so they’re not right here. But they will be when I do actually need them to help out. It is comforting to know that someone will be there to catch me when I fall.
2011, I have now started a list. I’m pretty sure I hate you. And it’s only the first week of March, which by the way is a few days shy of my birthday. Possibly worst year of all time: 1. MIA laptop. 2. stolen bike. 3. dead car. 4. torn ACL that requires surgery. (I’m not counting the crazy month of work crap because it’s too vague and hard to define). And let’s be honest we haven’t even made it a quarter of the way through the year. Clearly this is awesome. You know, generally I believe that life works out the way it’s supposed to. And sometimes bad things happen to good people so better things can come along. Right now, I’m *really* starting to question that.
I keep flipping from feeling really alone and really scared about having to even have surgery to being really angry at the world for all of this happening at once. Every time I keep thinking that this year is going to get better something happens that just makes it worse. I want to believe that that’s not true and that it will get better but for the first time in a very long time I’m having trouble hanging on to hope. I like to view the world through rose colored glasses. It is so much harsher through the cold clear view of reality.
I know I sound like a deranged lunatic with all my running updates and sometimes am less than coherent about it. But it’s because for me it’s more than just running. I’m not doing this just because I want to run a marathon. In fact, I totally made fun of both of my group-mates in my econ class just a year ago because they were training for the marathon and were clearly on their way to injury but still running anyway. I just didn’t get it at the time, I do not have that desire to run. And while I like running. It keeps me in great physical shape and I’m happier and healthier having it in my life, it is not my passion. By a long shot.
Let’s be honest, I’m happiest curled up in bed with a good book doing absolutely nothing. I love sports, I enjoy running and I enjoy being physical but they are certainly not the first things that I think of when I think of things that make me happy. I am one of those people where it requires some amount of effort to do those things. So this whole fitness regimen has been a challenge for me. Mentally and physically. Actually I think more mentally than anything else.
So the real reason I’m running… because cancer has touched my life by affecting several people that I love dearly. And when I say family it’s not just about being related by blood there are so many people that have touched my life that aren’t related by blood. It’s my friends, exes, people I’ve known forever and those I haven’t known for very long. It’s the people who touch your life regardless of whether they stay for a long time or are a brief glimmer of light; it’s those people who change you, who will forever be a part of you, that I consider to be part of my “family” too. So I run for Team in Training as a part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society because in some small way I feel like I’m doing my part to help. And at the end of the day there is so little I can actually do that this is my way to try and advocate for a cause I believe in desperately. So I babble about my shoes and my injuries and how much all of it irritates me. And how I got a tattoo in the middle of my training because that was a brilliantly well thought out plan. (I know, sometimes I’m an idiot). Because I have to keep running. I simply do.
So I keep semi-hurting myself. I don’t want to say injuring because technically I am not injured, which is really the only thing I am clinging on to right now. But I’m hurting. Pretty badly. And I’ve at least narrowed it down some. I seem to hurt only after extremely long runs. Or after I’ve done sprints (or soccer, which is essentially the same thing). Now I actually managed to figure this out after I did a 5k this weekend where I had been mentoring these kids to teach them how to run. So my running buddy for the race is this absolutely adorable 5yr old with crazy amounts of energy. But my little buddy is not so good at listening to advice about pacing so he took off at breakneck speed as soon as the race started. And continued to do pretty freakin’ fast sprints for the first mile, even a bit of the next half mile. We finally slowed down to a more normal run/walk for the last half of the race. But let me tell you by the end of that set of sprints my knee was *killing* me. On the bright side at least I know the causes and how to avoid it or at least try to avoid it.
Anyway so I’ve been in physical therapy for a few weeks and I have this giant bruise on my leg. My PTs have been doing “deep tissue massage” on my IT band because apparently that’s what’s been causing all my knee problems. You’d think this is great… not so much it’s more like Chinese water torture. And now it just hurts to touch or lie on my thigh, which is *awesome*. (not).
Though on the not so sucky side my PTs also have me doing some pretty awesome yet somewhat difficult exercises and routines. The best part is they totally make comments while I’m trying to go through the exercises/stretches they give me. Today one of the guys was like, you know I think y’all gave her every single thing that everyone hates to do. And I’m thinking to myself, “Gee thanks guys, I appreciate being the guinea pig of torture treatment”. On the bright side I’m getting some really awesome core workouts that I don’t think I would ever inflict on myself. And I’ve learned some pretty good stretches. And I actually feel like I’m getting stronger and I feel like I can actually see the effects of all of it on my body, which is great. Like my upper abs look amazing, now if my lower abs didn’t look like jello we’d be all set. So all of these things are definitely good, it just comes with a lot of pain and hard work. I can’t decide if it’s great or if I hate it. Either way I’ve got another 2 weeks left and I am going to try to make the best of it. (I’m almost tempted to ask for more. Yes, I am a bit of a masochist, always have been a lil’ bit).
You know, running doesn’t seem like something that is initially incredibly complex but now that I’m training for a marathon I think there is a lot more to running than just putting one foot in front of the other. Such a huge part of training is a mental game, just being able to tell yourself that you can do it. First of all, I don’t consider myself a runner because I’m slow and I just don’t think of myself as a runner. I first started running any meaningful distance (read: more than a mile… ok actually it was like 3ish) in April when a coworker asked me to start running outside with her and to do a 5k. I have these trusty old running shoes that I have come to love a lot.
Since I started training for my marathon these shoes have served me really well but they’ve got a lot of miles on them now. And recently I’ve heard a lot of talk about these new shoes. Ones that are the closest thing to running barefoot. So I’ve decided to take the plunge and give them a try. I haven’t run in them yet, obviously since you can still see the tags.
As much as I deny being a runner and saying how much I dislike it, it’s seriously addictive. After I did my 5k I followed it with a 10k a few weeks later and then a half marathon about 3 weeks after the 10k. This was a pretty poorly planned set of races for someone who isn’t a runner. However, it did make me see that I really like running, it’s challenging in some great ways but it’s also difficult to run the much longer distances by yourself. I find running about 6 miles by myself is a great challenge and I like doing it alone. But the longer distances pretty much anything upwards of 10 miles is really really difficult for me to get through without help. So I am extraordinarily glad that I discovered Team in Training because not only do I have a great group of people that I run with, I am reminded that I’m not just running for my health or to challenge myself but also to help all those people who are battling cancer. I’m doing what I can to make a difference in the world. Perhaps it’s in a very small way but it is what I can do. It also reminds me to appreciate the journey I’m on. Life is one great journey and there is always something new around the corner and you never know what you find.
with body-image. I’m pretty sure I’m not all that unique in this struggle actually. In fact, I’ve found that most of my female friends have many of the same issues I do. I mean we all complain about different things and have unrealistic expectations of what we should look like. And each of us carries this burden in different ways. The most fascinating part about it is also that most of us have a view of ourselves that are skewed in remarkable ways. For example one of my friends recently got married and apparently put on a few pounds after her wedding. Now she’s my old college roomie, I’ve known her for over 9 years now (wow we’re getting old) and the weight she’s gained is barely noticeable. Seriously, the only reason I noticed is because she said something and then specifically pointed out all her problem areas. I mean yes, we’re not 18 anymore. None of us look the same. That’s totally unrealistic to expect that we will ever look the way we did when we were in our teens again.
I was recently thinking about this because my mom came to visit. And as usual she had a comment about what I looked like. Now last year I went through some major ups and downs which caused me to lose a drastic amount of weight. This is me in January:
This is me on Memorial Day:
So perhaps I have gained a little weight. And yeah the two photos are two totally different contexts so they look drastically different. But the main idea is that in all honesty, I haven’t gained *that* much noticeable weight. Even without the added input from my mom, I have noticed a certain unhappiness in myself with my weight and the way I look. To counter this I’ve used a few methods from my best fried, Ev, where I was taking status photos every week (now every month) to see where my body is at and give myself a more realistic view of what I actually look like. The problem is that I know I don’t necessarily see the right me even in photos. A lot of it is dependent on my mental state and how I think I should look. It’s amazing how frequently it interferes with my own well being. I know that I may be a little extreme but I don’t think I’m the only woman that beats up on herself over a pound here and there. The thing is I used to do this when I was 107lbs. I was teeny tiny and I thought I was horrifyingly overweight. I think it’s something that you have to really take with a grain of salt and start to appreciate your body for what it is and not for the super stick thin images that we’re presented with in magazines and on TV. I have a friend who has started to do that and I’m not sure how she does it yet but boy do I hope to get there some day.
Happy 2010! I’ve been contemplating a New Year’s post for a little while but I was struggling to figure out what to write about. This past year was… well eventful. In some really fantastic ways and in some really horrible ways. I’ve actually taken a little time to reflect on all of it and to be honest, I would do it all again given the chance. The good, the bad and the ugly, it’s all a part of what shapes the person I am today and I think I’m better for having had those experiences. It would be great to always have things be happy and everything work out for the best but how would you know just how much to cherish the good times if you never had the bad? And how would you know how precious all those moments are? Besides, if nothing bad ever happened you would never learn from your mistakes. I think it’s true that having truly failed, having tried your hardest and still failed builds so much character because it is learning to pick yourself back up and try again anyway knowing that you might fail again but to succeed would be a true accomplishment. So in 2010, I’m going to try harder. I’m going to try to be stronger, smarter and to be as open as I can. I’m going to make an effort to do those things that are scary and see what happens. Because I’d rather try and risk failure than simply accept mediocre.
I rarely make New Year’s Resolutions because I think most people have a tendency not to follow through and quite often I’m particularly bad about it. But this year I’ve made a few that I’m really trying to stick to:
- So for one, my friends started this fitness challenge and being the silly optimist that I am, I figured why not give it a shot? Who cares if I can only do like 2 push ups at a time. It’ll be fine… Haha I’m on day 2 and let me tell you I’m a little concerned. Though I will give it my all and really really try to get through it.
- I’m going to try to be a grown up and actually start cooking for myself again. (Thankfully one of my friends is moving into the neighborhood and he likes to cook too so we’re going to attempt to do this together).
- To start running every day before work and hopefully a little on the weekends too – doesn’t matter how much, I just have to do it (again, I was good half way through last year and then life got a little messy and I stopped so I’m going to try to go back to it).
- To be assertive about my needs and wants and to make sure that I’m taking care of myself. But to still remember to be kind to the rest of the world even though I am trying to be good to me.
- To start volunteering again.
- To get out there and start rediscovering Chicago and all of the things that I love about this city.
- To try and reconnect with friends that I’ve made here who I’ve been really bad about keeping in touch with. And to make new friends whenever I get the chance. (It’s great to meet new people and do new things!)
I think it’s a good list. And it’s not an unreasonable number of things to try and do. Obviously we’ll see how it goes but I think it’s a positive way to look out for the new year. I have faith that the future will be bright.
So I’ve lost 27lbs this year and really the bulk of it, 17lbs I lost in the last two months. I lost them strictly due to stress and anger. It’s amazing what the body can do when you put it in a stressful situation. And if you reduce your eating to about a tenth of what you normally eat and you don’t sleep for more than 4 hours a night (and even then that’s if you’re lucky). You’re really changing your body’s patterns. Not to mention that stress and anger burn calories all on their own like you couldn’t imagine. Combine that with a need to release tension and add a good several hours of exercise a day just to work off all the excess energy you have from stress and anger and you’ve got a sure fire way to shed pounds very very seriously.
Now in case anyone missed the sarcasm in my tone, I do not actually believe any of this is a good or healthy way to lose weight. Effective, yes. Healthy, not even close. However, the first 10lbs I lost the old fashioned hard work way and I really believe that is the way to go. I mean yes, I am happy to have a better body image due to my circumstances but I can promise you I felt much better about how I got my body to start changing when I did it the right way. It’s not by following some miracle diet. In fact, I didn’t follow any diet. I simply ate when I was hungry and an amount that lead me to feel full but not overly full and to institute exercise in my routine. I go to the gym (or play soccer) 6 days a week. I’d like to do it 7 but I know that realistically I have to allow myself at least one day off. Seriously, diets are not effective it changes your patterns for a short period of time and the weight will come back. If you just make healthy changes in your lifestyle and commit to raising your metabolism it will work. It will just take time. It took me 3 months to lose 10lbs but man did I feel really successful when I did it. I’d even say it feels much better than losing nearly 20lbs in less than 2 months because I know that the first time around I was trying and I was taking care of myself. The second time around was due largely to external factors. And of course, I’m a girl so I have my own set of body image issues but it really is far better to do it the way you feel accomplished as opposed to a way where you feel like you cheated the system.