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."