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The Good, The Bad, and What's in My Control

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Good: I've healed up from the surgical procedure I had done (unrelated to my knee). Rest was good for reminding me about the things I still need to work on. Being completely sedentary for nearly two weeks forced me to come face to face with some lingering body image and identity issues. As soon as I made the choice to rest my knee, I felt as if I had gained 20 pounds. A full 24 hours didn't pass yet, and I could have been convinced (if I didn't know better) that I had put on weight just in making that decision. Also, not being able to participate in my usual activities brought up the question of, "If I'm not a RUNNER, who am I?" Looking back over my life, I have a long history of basing my sense of myself on what I DO rather than who I am or what I believe or anything else. What I do is an integral part of who I am, but not the ONLY part.

In short, I want to be okay whether I'm running or active in any capacity. I want to feel good in my body and in my skin whether I'm running/walking 30 miles a week or simply 5. Basing my sense of being okay on whether or not I'm active only leaves me feeling dependent on something ELSE for validation, security, and a sense of happiness or pride, something I worked hard to abandon with both food and alcohol. I also want to have a sense of self that extends beyond Melissa-as-runner or Melissa-as-aspiring-athlete. Who I am should run deep and be many-layered (and it IS). I've put a lot of eggs in the "running" basket in the past year. It's time to think about redistributing those and fleshing out the other interesting parts of what makes me ME. I'm sincerely glad these things came up. There are some great lessons to be learned and teased out here.

The Bad: The knee is still very much not good. I walked a mile on Wednesday night with a little pain. I walked two miles yesterday with very little pain on the actual walk, but some pain after walking. Today I tested three new pairs of running shoes on my treadmill with some slow, light jogging and walking. The knee issue came right back. Again, it's not knee PAIN. Rather, it's a sense of my kneecap sliding off track. I won't lie, I'm VERY disappointed that after two full weeks of complete rest, this issue came back in a simple, light walk/jog.

I decided I would go back to the knee specialist and talk about next options. I believe the next thing will be to try a cortisone shot. I'm not wild about this, but I'm willing to accept it as a "next option." Beyond this, I will be looking for a second opinion about what might be wrong from here and what treatment might be best. I know that I have one of two problems (or maybe both). I either have petellar tracking disorder or complications caused by a baker's cyst in my right knee (the MRI I had revealed the baker's cyst, but not the cartilege damage or arthritis that normally precede the appearance of a baker's cyst). Either one of these problems is difficult to address.

What's in My Control: First of all, I've decided with the knee to simply not give up. As a teen, I believed I was destined for musicianship, but I gave it up when I developed severe, chornic tendonitis in six of my ten fingers. As a young adult, I have regrets about this. I am simply not willing to accept that at 31, my knee discomfort would have to be something I "live with" or "deal with." Therefore, I intend to pursue every single option that's out there, and there are many that I can see from here. The diagnosis and the recovery are beyond my control; the dedication to pursuing every possible option is not.

I'm also determined to use the things that have come up through my two weeks of rest as opportunities for growth and better self-awareness. While the emotions that have come up for me are not in my control, what I choose to do with them very much is.

And in general lately, I'm feeling quite.... cluttered. My time is cluttered with things I don't actually want to be doing; my house is cluttered with things I don't actually want or really need anymore; my relationships are cluttered with guilt, resentments, and anger; my thoughts are cluttered with outdated, negative, useless ways of thinking and coping with myself and the world around me; my self-esteem is cluttered with doubts, self-depricating, and second-guesses; my routines are cluttered with old habits, reflex-behaviors, and stale, outdated thinking; even my sparkpeople friend feed is cluttered with updates about people with whom I've shared little connection or valuable exchange. A friend here on sparkpeople, a source of continual inspiration, blogged about his own clutter this morning and took the thoughts right out of my head. Things get cluttered for good reason--usually because there's some space in which we're blocked or tripped up, not doing so good at releasing what's ready to be released. I cannot control what goes on around me or how other people choose to behave, to structure THEIR lives, or to interact with me. I CAN, however, control the extent to which I let my life get cluttered with the stuff that's ready to be flushed, swept, drained, dismissed, or graciously--and sometimes lovingly--cast out. It's time to start cleaning both the proverbial and literal closets.

I'm feeling grateful today for the recent setbacks. From them comes incredible opportunities for growth and for a new way of doing things and looking at things. Clearly, the universe conspired to get this message out to me loud and clear since, just in case the knee injury that left me sidelined wasn't quite a clear enough message, it was soon chased with a THWOP! right over the head when that minor surgical procedure I needed left me literally laid out flat on my back! "Sit still, Melissa. Listen up!"

Incidentally, I haven't gained back 20 pounds because I rested for two weeks (haha). In fact, I've managed to drop a little bit more weight even. When my brain tells me that I'm gaining weight and am getting fatter with each sidelined moment that passes, I am politely and lovingly reminding myself of the wisdom that's printed on my therapist's bumper sticker: "You don't have to believe everything you think."

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You are an amazing inspiration to me. I love that you are not sidelining yourself and are confronting your problems.
    3051 days ago
    Melissa, I needed to wait a few days to respond to this amazing blog. You are so incredibly open and honest and true to yourself in your blogs that its very hard not to personalize them and feel like you're talking to me. But that's not the case. This is all about you and your journey.

    I am so thankful that you're healed up after your procedure. I am sorry that your knee issues are still giving your problems. Congrats on knowing your heart enough to not settle for one opinion and to find a specialist who has experience to help you.

    I am saddened that you felt like you gained 20 pounds once your realized that you were going to be sedentary for a while. You've worked so had and come so far. I applaud your ability to see the reality in the situation and understand that the self perception is something that you need to work on.

    I love your description of who you are and how its been previously tied to what you do.I applaud your efforts to move that gracefully to identifying yourself by the many layers of the wonderful person you truly are.

    You are a gift to me, to SparkPeople, to those who know you in so many ways. I have no doubt that you will accomplish all that you set your mind to and then some.

    3130 days ago
    It's encouraging that although you have experienced some set-backs you are taking them in stride and using them as a learning experience. I'm always motivated when I read your blogs. You use every experience that happens in your life as a learning tool. Most people would feel sorry for themselves and give up, but not you and that's amazing! Keep on keeping on girlfriend. The knee will heal in time. But in the meantime, please keep hitting the pavement! You're doing it!
    3131 days ago
    Great blog! Im sorry your knee isn't getting better. I know from experience how frusterating it can be to be forced to lay out for a while. When I hurt my back I was barely able to use the bathroom on my own let alone get any sort of physical activity in. You will find ways to cope with the injury. You may want to give something like swimming a try. Don't think that your knee can hold you back. You just have to find a way around it!

    I hope you get to feeling better!
    3131 days ago
    What a powerful piece of writing, so powerful in fact that I read it 2x and have decided I need to revisit it a few more times in the coming weeks.

    What you had to say both about clutter and defining who you are struck a cord deep within ... one that I'm not willing to look at in this moment but will eventually have to emerge & be dealt with.

    I also appreciate the reminder that "problems" are a matter of perception & that they could just as well be opportunities.

    Thanks for writing!
    3132 days ago
    love love love this entry, girl i am so with you, cleaning out old outmoded ways, trying to open up to newer better influences, letting go of the old angry bitter me and trying to rise from the ashes more positive and strong. we're doing it together girl, i got your back ;)
    3132 days ago
    Thank you for the reminder that setbacks are opportunities for growth. It seems in this journey sometimes we forget that and it's nice when we get a reminder!

    I am SO sorry to hear about your knee. I was sure it was feeling better after your status message. I hope for your sake that you can get it figured out. However, the soul searching to find out who you are is awesome so maybe there's a reason that this is happening to you now.

    3133 days ago
  • BANAN2
    Don't know if this would apply to your knee situation, and it's just a bandaid approach:
    I have chondramalatia which causes my patellas to not track properly in the groove due to ligaments that are too loose. My daughter also has it, and I've talked to others. Our orthopedist taught us how to tape the knee and fit us with braces to keep the kneecap in place. (Uh, it's been a while... I think we learned the taping from a P.T.) I know this only works for certain conditions, but my daughter was able to continue her activities and run with her brace and taping, and eventually it became less acute. Now, at 27, she is able to run successfully without a brace or taping her knees. Hope your outcome will be the same as hers, that once the knee is rested and coddled for a bit, in whatever way yours requires, it will bounce back!
    3133 days ago
    I have so many comments to make about so many aspects of this blog but I don't want to get all rambly on you.

    I hate to hear that your knee is still bothering you and I hope the best for your consultation with the knee doctor.

    I too have been removing emotional clutter from my life. It has been a really amazing experience so far. When the clutter and gunk is gone, I see the most amazing things emerging. Really good, happy, confident, articulate thigns start emerging once the clutter dissapates.

    I also know what it feels like to identify yourself by what you do not who you are. I would get hooked on one thing and that is who I was. My strategy to combat that was to just do so much that I couldnt pinpoint the one thing that I was the most of and it all just became ME!

    Have a great weekend.
    3133 days ago

    I've been in a major funky body image space recently too. It's crazy how fast old thought patterns can pop up when our routines change for whatever reason. I'm fighting hard to remember all that I've learned instead of listening to the outdated tapes.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings of defining yourself by what you do. I do the same thing and find that it's easy for me to lose sight of myself when I temporarily stop doing whatever it is that I feel defines me. I also tend to get bored, move on to the next thing, define myself that way and on and on. It's true that both of us are so much more than anything we do. It's hard to delve deeper and understand how the many aspects that make us who we are work together but it's so fun when they start clicking into place and we can glimpse our true internal power.

    I also appreciate the reminder that setbacks are opportunities for growth, that clutter can speak loudly, and that you don't have to believe everything you think.

    While I know that you will pursue solutions for your knee until you can find something that works, I hope that happens sooner rather than later.

    Big Hugs!

    3134 days ago
    I can relate to everything you said, and then some.

    I had a personal training session early this morning, well earlier than normal. Usually I will train after lunch. I'm not sure why it happened but towards the end of my work out I came within an inch on not only passing out but losing my breakfast all over my trainers shoes. Not being as young as I used to be, it took a full hour before I felt comfortable enough to take a shower and drive home. I been shaky the rest of the day and when I called my doctor she said most likely my body was in need of sugar and when I used it all up, it cried out for more.

    All this comes on the heels of having my trainer take me to task for not pushing hard enough on Tuesday so I am quite sure in an effort to impress her i pushed harder than I should of. I was scheduled to run 2.5 miles tomorrow morning and take Sunday off but now it looks like I am going to rest tomorrow because i still feel a bit wobbly.

    Aint life grand? My head is spinning a mile a minute and I am so glad someone else acknowledged that they have spark friends they dont always answer because I know for me I get so darned over whelmed sometimes that I forget. Then I lay awake in bed at night and feel guilty.

    Sorry to have high jacked your blog. Thanks again for your wisdom
    3134 days ago
    Very inspiring and something I needed to hear today about the clutter and the roles instead who we actually are..maybe for a long time! Thank you for sharing all that!! emoticon
    3134 days ago
  • BAM0827
    I was just thinking today I hadn't read a blog from you (or Katie) in awhile and had hoped all was OK. Seems like for the most part things are going well because you continue to work on you.

    I hope you get some relief on your knee soon. Also, I hope your clutter clean-ups go well.

    Have a great weekend
    3134 days ago
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