Life with and after injury
Sunday, March 18, 2012
I decided to write about this as my first blog post, as I've been struggling for the past few months and thought that there may be a lot of people who are going through or have been through the same problems as me.
First off, I'm a bit of a yo-yo dieter. From time to time I gain too much weight and decide that I need to lose it. I'd start exercising, cut out the junk food and lose a stone or two. Then I'd start getting complacent and the weight would slowly creep up again until I couldn't fit into my clothes once again and something had to change once more. It wasn't an ideal situation, but surely being skinny some of the time is better than never being thin, right?
Anyway, everything changed last summer. I was starting to experience pain in my wrist after work, but thought it was just strained and would get better with a bit of rest. But no. The pain kept getting worse, but every time I went to see a doctor they told me it was nothing and I should just take some painkillers.
And then it got really bad. I couldn't get through a day at work without literally getting tears in my eyes from the pain. I couldn't cook, clean, do the shopping or even lean on my hand. The doctors told me to rest my wrist while they took months to do tests only to tell me that once more, it was nothing.
At that time, things started going wrong. I felt like I was utterly useless, being sat at home most of the time doing occasional reception work while my fiance was bringing home the money and had to do everything around the house as well. There wasn't a lot of exercise I could do and what didn't hurt my arm I didn't feel like doing anyway, because I was feeling too miserable. As I couldn't cook we had takeaway food or frozen ready meals most of the time.
As you might imagine, the pounds kept piling on, but rather than get off my butt and do something about it, my increasing weight just added to my misery and I kept telling myself that there was nothing I could do anyway.
Two years ago I'd run a 5k race for charity and went jogging for an hour four times a week. At the beginning of this year I put my running shoes back on and was completely shocked when I was out of breath, redfaced and completely unable to even run for 60 seconds! So, rather than push myself, I just gave up again and resigned myself to a "fat and useless existance".
I couldn't get started on building a career for myself, as my whole life felt like it was on hold.
I've since visited a hand specialist and I finally know what's going on. Unfortunately, it seemed to be bad news on top of bad news and because a large part of the cartilage in my wrist is completely torn it will never be healthy again. Once you're an adult cartilage doesn't grow back anymore and my only option is surgery to prevent it from getting even worse and even more painful. To be honest with you, that was quite a blow. I spent the rest of the day crying.
Then, somehow, it occurred to me: My life wasn't on hold. This was only part of the journey. I know it sounds incredibly cheesy, but I realised then that I couldn't just give up on myself. I could no longer hide behind the excuse of injury and refuse to take control of my life.
I started going for long walks every day. Eventually I took the plunge and went running again. Though I was easing myself in with mixed periods of running and walking it was still hell, but I grit my teeth and told myself that eventually it would get easier again.
What I'd been waiting for happened yesterday. I was running up a hill and realised that sure, it was difficult, but I was doing it. My legs weren't burning and my lungs didn't feel like they would explode any second now. My body was getting stronger. After feeling for months and months that my body was letting me down, this feeling was a revelation. I practically flew the rest of the way.
Since I started changing my ways I've lost 4kg. For a lot of people that might not be an awful lot, but for the first time in my life I don't particularly care about the number on the scales. It's the changes in my body, the strength I gain every time I get off the sofa and force myself to be active, that makes me so incredibly happy and proud.
I have joined this site because I have more surgery scheduled for Thursday and I need something to keep me on track and prevent me from going back to how it used to be. I am writing this to remind myself that injury does not stop your life in its tracks. It's annoying, yeah. It's sure as anything frustrating, too. But it's part of the journey and only another challenge you will one day look back on and be proud you overcame.