When you know you're permanently injured
Thursday, January 12, 2017
I'm finally back to healthy eating to try and take back off the pounds I packed on in the last three years. It's been rough--three years ago this month, DH had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery, then in August of that year our 5-year-old god daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After 8 stressful months of treatment, during which I coordinated all the assistance to the family and did lots of child care for her siblings, she died on her sixth birthday, at home, surrounded by so many of us who loved her. That same week, I was diagnosed with the degenerative disc disease. In November of that year, my mother died. So 2015 was mostly a blur of grief.
Then this October I had a heart scare of my own. I was diagnosed with a atrial fibrillation, and the cardiologist initially believed I was also in heart failure. Fortunately, the stress test showed that my heart is stronger and healthier than he believed. the A-fib is hereditary--my brother and one sister both have it--but looks like it's going to be controlled with medication. Still, going through a month of testing before getting any answers was stressful.
So I've been stress eating, and now I'm turning that back around. I'm really focused on my health. My new job pays for a gym membership, which is awesome. I'm going daily, even if it's just for a short time, to build the habit.
And learning to adapt to more limited abilities. Degenerative disc disease doesn't heal completely. But at least it doesn't tend to get terribly worse. It does mean, however, that exercises like planks are completely and permanently forbidden. I have no disc at the L5/S1 junction. If I do activities that compress that area, I can begin to damage the spinal column itself. Even bending over forward can put pressure in those places. So lots of yoga moves are out.
Also, I can never run again. Period. Nothing jarring. I wasn't allowed to bike for a year, and then missed a second year because I was just plain scared.
I'm trying to figure out what I can safely do. Lots of ab work to support my back. Swimming. Lifting, but carefully.
I used to triathlon. I was hoping to compete in a full tri by this summer. That will never happen. It's hard, and I was depressed and self-sabotaging for a good long while.
But I'm working to pull myself out of that. Maybe in a few months I will have inspirational insights. For now, it's just kind of a struggle.