Thursday, July 07, 2011
I had a moment of clarity recently, and am now seeking to change my ways.
I am a runner, or, I was until this foot injury months ago (Good Lord has it really been since April?).
You see, my foot started to hurt out of the blue, so I went to the podiatrist. I had 2 separate bone fractures and was ordered to wear the big black boot you can see on my Spark Page for 12 weeks. Count 'em, 12...
I also had to use some bone regenerator machine to nudge my bones into healing faster, since my system is already compromised by a rare disease that I have.
Oh the thoughts that came at me from all angles were incessant.
How would I get my long runs in? What on earth can I do now to work out?
That doc is just being conservative. Surely I can at least do the elliptical right? Umm...no.
Have you ever tried to ride a stationary bike with a massive foot brace? Well I did. Not pretty.
I even had to sleep with the Bertha Boot for the first 4 weeks. Let me just say, you know that line about when the woman of the house is not happy, no one is happy? It's true.
I even went through the 8 stages of grief, I swear.
I didn't know how I had hurt my foot either. I used to joke that I needed a good story to tell people who inquired about my Bertha Boot. "How did it happen?" someone would ask. "I was running with the bulls in Pamplona" I would reply. The best story yet was that I hurt it while drop kicking toasters (ha!).
Although I had no injury to claim, and yes my body is considered a bit more fragile than others due to my disease, I am now certain that I did this to myself.
I would only run 3 days a week on the treadmill and do Insanity dvd workouts on the other days, so it seemed balanced. But it was the duration of those runs and the mindset behind the hours pounding on that hamster wheel that made me realize I had turned something beautiful into and ugly thing.
With the TV on a news channel as I spun that treadmill wheel, I would later tell my friend, "ask me the weather forecast anywhere in the country. Go on, I dare you!" It seemed funny at the time.
But I would usually run between 13-16 miles on my long runs, and I wasn't training for anything.
I was trying to un-do the damage I had caused by stuffing my face the night(s) prior.
Somehow I had twisted my runs into a caloric depletion mechanism and made my bingeing on junk food OK. How could I turn something so wonderful into an unhealthy obsession?
It hit me like a brick as I looked down at Bertha. This was not good. Not at all.
You can't fix things backwards. I needed to change to behavior behind it.
Since I joined Spark, I have been working day to day to improve my eating choices; my 'relationship with food', as they say. I guess that food and I were really tight for a while, but in an abusive way. If you've ever been in a controlling relationship you might understand that feeling. I had not only been damaging my body and spirit by allowing myself to behave this way, but also injuring my marriage at times by being too hard on myself, directing my blame on him.
So as much as I hated the foot brace and wanted to wear those 2 running shoes, I am now actually thankful for this time, since I can see the true cause of those fractures. Fractures in my spirit if you will, and how I needed emotional (and physical) healing.
I can't wait to get my body moving more and leap into cardio workouts once I get the green light from the doc. But I don't think I will jump back onto that hamster wheel for a bit. I need to re-learn some things; do some mental re-wiring.
And be grateful for this journey, without the spinning tread beneath my feet.
Monday, July 04, 2011
An elderly couple walked past my husband and I as we were waiting for one of my many doctor appointments this past week. They looked to be about in their 80's. I swear they were the same height, about 5' tall. She had a scarf over her hair, and he had a hat on. The woman in a skirt and blouse, the man had a suit on. Both were wearing huge Reebok sneakers, shuffling by, linked arm in arm. They took 2 laps around the block in front of us. It was beautiful.
I look in adoration at couples who have been together for decades and are still happy. Key words: still happy. I often wonder if each feel that their partner has changed, and as a result, their relationship was even better. Was she slim and perhaps a a knock out beauty years ago? Did she ever struggle with her image? With her weight? Was he supportive of her efforts; loving her regardless?
In the past I know I have been told in a heated argument, "you've changed" when I might not feel the same way about something anymore. My husband and I used to stay up late and then sleep until lunchtime the next day in our courting period. Somehow I morphed into a morning person. I was never into running, but decided to start 8 years ago. Not sure how that happened, but there it is.
Aren't we supposed to change? Was I supposed to retain the naiveté about the all of the things I did when I was married at 24? Should I whip out the canned veggies, ranch dressing and shake n' bake tub to make tonights dinner since this was what I considered a gourmet meal as a new bride?
People mature. Taste buds evolve. What once required American cheese to constantly reside in my dairy shelf now has real cheddar (light of course), and the cupboards are no longer stocked with sleeves of chips a'hoy cookies and fruity pebbles for that afternoon snack.
Educating myself with tid bits about health has encouraged me to keep healthier options for well, everything in my home. From sunflower seeds to SPF 30, I want to lengthen our years as healthier people, and not retain the same summertime behavior as I did years ago (too many cocktails by the pool and baby oil - eeks!)
I think that the evolution of my marriage was first met with strong resistance. Some people don't like change, but how else does one grow?
Growth in relationships with spouses, friends, strangers, even how we relate to food shows growth within ourselves.
After all, I speak for myself personally when I say that my relationship with food needs desperately to grow and mature, far from the adolescent behavior I have had with it for too many years. How else did I gain so much weight? How else will I attain my goal in the long term if I don't change?
How many times have you ruined an otherwise nice evening since you felt bad about yourself, and then dragged your significant other over the coals for it? I've got my hand held high here. That's definitely something that needs to change.
When (and I do mean when) I do change my behavior around food, I know I will be better (and lighter) for it. That healthier relationship is something I have struggled with (and lost to) for years, but I know it will transform other areas of my life, my weight, and my marriage for the better.
As I drink my tea and type away, I can see that little note on my Yogi tea which says, "Realize that the other person is you".
Now where do I order 2 pair of oversized Reeboks???
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Yep, and I need EVERY SINGLE PAIR baby!
Tell me I am not alone. I have at least 8 pair of jeans currently. Actually, even though some might rotate in and out of that stack (acid wash, zippers, etc.), I think I have always had about 8-10 pair of jeans.
Have I become some chipmunk of denim, and my closet is the knot hole in the tree, waiting for winter?
I really do think I have a pair for every occasion.
Need help painting your room? I've got a beat up pair that are so stretched out that I can actually breathe AND paint, which is useful.
Going to a cute-but-casual event? Darker washed longer jeans so I can wear heels. By the way, what is cute-but-casual anyway?
If there is a work related event that is considered casual, I have a rarely worn pair of jeans with a waistline that would not dare threaten to show my bum cleavage (embarrassing!)
Then there are two pair of the exact same size/length of jeans, that seem to be an oddity. One pair is comfortable, and the other is too big and too short in length (???), but I can't remember which one's which, so I have them both...
Waaaay at the bottom is the pair of jeans that I hope I never fit into again, since they were bought when I was at my highest weight. These are a reminder to me.
I think we all hold onto a pair of jeans that there is just no way possible in the physical universe that they will ever fit again. You know, that pair from college or even high school, but for some reason you cannot get rid of?
Lastly, I'll bet you have that pair you really really want to wear soon. The goal weight jeans. They were not cheap, the color is spot on gorgeous, and you use them as a good gauge to see how you are doing with your new lifestyle. Those would be the 'holy grail' pair.
I hang those puppies right on my closet door as a reminder to keep up the hard work.
Maybe I won't need all those jeans in my closet, but for now, let's just call them my blue cotton dyed security blanket, OK?
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Hear me out here...
Both look fantastic at first, but of course there is work involved.
Girls, we all know that when we bring home that perfect bra on that teeny plastic hangar, it STILL needs to be properly broken in to be given that "perfect bra" title, right?
Moreover, sticking to a new regime of eating good, healthy food and breaking a sweat with tough workouts can be work at first too.
My new healthy lifestyle plan and new bra share some other characteristics:
Both can be uncomfortable at times (i.e. birthday parties with my brain screaming, BIRTHDAY CAKE!, and that undergarment beneath your outfit that you wore to that party).
Both can poke at times and be unruly (no need to explain).
Both can seem pricy, but well worth the $ spent in the long run.
Now let's look at the similarities just for kicks:
NEW WONDERFUL PERFECT BRA IN TRAINING:
Slips occasionally until you get the right fit
It lifts! It shapes! It makes you look flattering in anything!
It's breathable fabric will hug you.
NEW LIFESTYLE IN TRAINING:
Slips occasionally with consistency in both food and workouts.
WILL lift that toosh. My body WILL gain new shape, and look flattering in anything.
My clothes will hug me less...
Now let's be honest, the whirly gigs that we sometimes buy into like shiny pedometers and florescent music headphones might not physically make us stronger in the gym or on the trail, but those satin bows and perfect powder pink color of a bra doesn't make supporting your breasts any more efficient.
It's the mental aspect of these things that make us feel just that bit more 'put together' in life, don't they?
And it's worth the work!
Thank goodness my lifestyle changes can't be ruined as quickly as accidentally throwing that new bra in the dryer - AUGH!!!
Saturday, June 18, 2011
A few days before Memorial Day weekend, the foot that I fractured almost 8 weeks prior had swelled painfully. I called the doctor and was told that swelling from fractures was normal. Normal after 8 weeks? I asked. "Yes, don't worry about it as long as you don't have a fever or calf cramps", the nurse replied.
Coincidentally, my husband had to go out of town unexpectedly, and I was stuck at home with my swollen painful foot in the big black boot all weekend. I tried to ice it, elevate it, shoot, I practically sang lullaby's to it, but it would just not ease up.
By Sunday I realized that it had been 3 days since I had been able to move my toes. They hurt like they were filled with shrapnel. The color wheel shades of my toes were starting to scare me too. Ranging from deep purple, crimson, orange, all the way up to my toenails; like pieces of purple candy corn.
And then the strangest thought popped into my head:
"You know what you need to feel better? A new tube of red lipstick!"
Where on earth did this come from? Had I absorbed so much I Love Lucy over the years that this actually made sense??? "Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do!" What a ridiculous thought.
But wouldn't you know it, I went to the drug store, bought myself a beautiful shade of red lipstick (L'Oreal Rambling Rose), and went back home to lie down.
Well, the lipstick didn't work.
By late Sunday night I was in tremendous pain and feeling very much alone. What is it about the wee hours of the night that make everything scarier? I spoke to the on-call doctor (holiday, remember?), and was told to get to the Emergency Room right away. I couldn't drive at this point so I called my neighbors but they were out of town. And my husband was 600 miles away, but scheduled to land a few hours later, so I waited. Ouch...
He picked me up and rushed me to the ER. The doctors had no idea what was wrong. I was wheeled around for tests and X-Rays by someone who proceeded to tell me how he had better not get scheduled to work over the Christmas holiday, since he was working this particular holiday, and then parked me within earshot of another patient on a gurney who was snoring loudly. "Oh, he's still snoring", he said. "How long have you left him in the hallway?", I asked. "Oh, a while. See, we're short staffed with the holiday", and he walked off (insert blank stare here).
The test results came back normal (???) and they sent me home with lots of pain killers. No thanks. Another sleepless night went by, and I finally saw a specialist the next morning.
At this point I was wiggling uncontrollably from constant sharp pain; sweaty and scared. "Please, make it stop",was one of the first sentences I blurted out.
I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Disorder. Something I had never heard of until that moment. It's a rare condition that is particularly mean and disabling, wasting away bone and causing nerve damage within the affected area (my foot!). It can be deforming if not treated within a critical window of onset, and even then would need treatment most likely for years.
I already live with another rare and also painful neuromuscular/neurovascular disease called Erythromelalgia, which limits my daily life. I felt like my existence in this world was shrinking even smaller, like Alice in Wonderland.
This was a huge blow to myself and my husband, but there was no time, and I needed to start treatment getting a nerve procedure the next morning.
The procedure went well. I can feel my toes now and am walking on my left foot gingerly, but I have a way to go. A few days after the procedure, another nagging thought, but not about make up this time.
"You have to move your body however you can. You have to keep it moving too".
The nerve drugs make me ill, and turn my brain into pudding. I can't seem to get a grasp on my thoughts at times, and seem to have taken up a new sport -marathon swaying- but I am assured this will pass with time.
I have been making myself workout daily, as best I can. Lots of ballet toe pointing exercises and countless arm exercises since I can't do much else.
I am determined to slow this monster down from taking my foot.
I still cry (a lot), but have the support of friends, Spark friends and an amazing husband.
Does this mean I should give up on my weight loss goals?
It may slow me down, but I WILL get there - said with confidence rich in my voice (and red lips).
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