I was feeling pretty pleased with myself when I went for that walk on Monday. Yeah! I thought. I’m finally getting out there! So yesterday I had a lovely visit with my friend Mara. She brought me delicious fish tacos and I made the big step to actually enjoy a meal at the kitchen table. I didn’t rush through it. We just kinda hung out, and ate and talked, and it was so NORMAL!
Then I felt like I had to lie down. So I lay down on the couch and we visited some more, and then a guy came to show us some hardwood floor samples (a little renovation coming up) and I got up to inspect those. Then she was going to leave and I asked if she wanted to walk down the street with me. I was, again, feeling all superconfident and maybe a little bit show-offish (LOOK I CAN WALK DOWN THE STREET!) so we went to the end of the block. I stopped to admire my mom’s persimmon tree in the front yard. And then it kinda hit me. You know that feeling you have when you’ve gone just a bit too far?
I went right to bed after she left, and applied major ice package to my back. But I realized, as the hours went on, that I had really overdone it. DAMN. I mean come on. Shower, dress, eat lunch, one-block walk. Too much? Apparently so. It plagued me the rest of the evening and I was back to my regular painkiller dose. Bleah.
Today I’m taking it easier. Sigh. I’m so very tired of taking it easy. Luckily, I have plenty of work to keep me occupied.
Yesterday morning I was feeling so optimistic, like, maybe I could avoid the surgery altogether. I know. I’ve been through this before. Yes. No. I don’t know.
The surgeon returns from vacation on Monday and then we will do the big reevaluation. But I’m saying, where I’m at now (physically) is not where I want to be.
I’ve been thinking a lot about tracking. Tracking (ie writing everything down) is a very big deal in Weight Watchers land. It gives so much INFORMATION and history and a way to really understand our situation. I admit I have not been tracking my food input very much. Basically, I’ve been eating whatever I can deal with, which is often not very much.
But I’ve been keeping a medicine and pain tracker. And it has been encouraging to see that I am much, much better than I was a month ago. It’s hard to remember this when I get impatient and bored and chomping at the bit. I’m definitely much better off. Just not where I ultimately want to be.
Lying around like this gives a lot of opportunity for thought. I’ve been reading, thinking, meditating, contemplating. Sometimes whining and complaining. A few things I’ve been thinking about lately have been:
What’s worth it? In Weight Watchers, we often consider our choices in terms of deciding whether something is “worth it” or not. Is that donut or piece of chocolate worth it? Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t. There aren’t hard and fast rules for these things. And I’m finding that the same question comes up for me regarding being up and active during the day. Is it worth it to take a shower? To spend those precious upright minutes in that way? Knowing I’ll have to pay for it later? I didn’t shower Friday or Saturday. I was resting relatively comfortably and I just did not want to break it by getting up and “blowing it.” But by Saturday evening, I was soooooo depressed by feeling grungy and unshowered. So by Sunday morning, it was MORE than “worth it” to get up, take a shower, put on clothes and dry my hair. I ended up lying on my ice pack, medicated up again, but it was worth it to me. I needed that shower.
I think I’m getting better, because I am much more aware of being bored/restless. For much of the past several weeks, it was more of a matter of survival/getting through the next several hours. Now I’m a lot more aware of being bored and antsy. I want to get OUT of here. I want to DO stuff.
How good is good enough? I think I am definitely improving, but I am also definitely nowhere near better. I think this means that surgery is coming. Maybe next week. I hate not knowing. But I also know that this “plateau” is not where I want to be.
I MISS THAT LIFE OUT THERE. This weekend, seeing so many of my friends/heroes doing the New York City Marathon, other half marathons, etc., I was just longing to be out there with them in any capacity. I am really hoping I can at least complete a 5k (walking! anything!) before this year is up. That is my new goal.
So I finally got some answers to this vexing pain last week. I went to see a spine specialist (orthopedist) who looked at my MRI and pointed out quite clearly that I have a ruptured cervical disc. The disc material is pressing quite intensely on my 7th cervical nerve, causing this crazy pain AND some weakness in my arm. It was upsetting to see this but also unmistakeable, and also a relief to see in black and white how much absolute sense it makes (all that PT training came flooding back). He has recommended an epidural injection tomorrow to try and bring down the inflammation and swelling. He said it will most likely result in dramatic pain relief (OH BOY! I can’t wait!) and then it will remain to be seen if there is continued weakness from any nerve damage. Then I will have to have a surgical consult, and I don’t like the sound of that, but I am just taking one day at a time, which is about all I can do.
It was a pretty rough weekend. Mr. McBody was away at a conference all weekend, and I had a lot of time and space to wallow around in a hazy painful cloud. It got a little surreal at times. I learned by Sunday that it is a good thing to try and keep a schedule. To try and be as functional as possible. I had some company come visit on Sunday and it made a HUGE difference to shower, get dressed and see friends for just a little while. I have learned that I have about a two-minute window from lying down to sitting or standing up, and after that time passes, it just hurts like the devil. However, assuming the “ballerina” position does take some pressure off. When I was at the doctor, he said that this is a classic diagnostic tool and he sees it all the time.
I was really upset when I went to the doctor on Friday, and they told me I had missed my 9:30 appointment. What! It turns out, in my narcotic haze, I had heard “October 11th” and I just kept focusing on the “11” part of it, and showed up at 11:00. But the doctor saw me in the waiting room, looking desperate with my arm over my head, and he squeezed me in. I think he pretty much diagnosed me from across the room, even before seeing the MRI.
It’s amazing how life can just shift from one version of reality to another. In the span of a few weeks, I have gone from being one of the world’s busiest people, to someone who needs to gather every bit of endurance and energy just to take a shower or get through a five-minute meal at the table.
It’s been a real opportunity for reflection. To really consider my priorities, my identity and what is important. It means a lot to me to be able to continue to write and read. I’ve been snarfing down books. I spent all day Friday reading Alice Munro. So excited about her Nobel Prize. I’ve also been able to spend some real time working on my own writing and editing, when I’m not knocked out by painkillers. I have been able to enjoy some pretty alert hours every day.
I started reading Dave Eggers’ The Circle, yesterday, and I’m almost done. It’s pretty mesmerizing, especially under the circumstances. Right now I feel like I would go mad without social media to keep me connected to the world. But there’s a balance. There’s nothing like human contact, face to face. There’s also nothing like snail mail. I got this awesome get-well gift from one of my writer friends which made me laugh out loud.
It is amazing to me how quickly a body can degenerate. Today I stepped on the scale just for curiosity and I am down more than five pounds. I am sure this is 100% muscle wasting. It takes all my strength to pick up a wet towel. I get shaky standing up even for a few minutes. I feel like I am just dissolving. But I also know that once this pain is managed, it also does not take too long to regain what has been lost. I’m not totally distraught over it, it’s just kind of remarkable.
I’m eating well, under the circumstances, even though I’ve had about zero appetite (I’m burning about zero calories, too). Before this all began, I had hired a Task Rabbit as kind of a “sneaky caregiver” for my mom. She often is lonely and bored in the afternoons, while we’re all (normally) rushing around working. I thought it might be a good idea to have someone help out with cooking a couple of times a week, with her involvement, so she has some company, AND so that we have some decent food to eat rather than some takeout on the fly. As it turns out, this person has been an absolute godsend. Whereas she was first helping out because I was too busy, now she’s helping because I”m just incapable. THAT part has been like a dream come true. I scroll through Foodgawker and send her links to things that look good, and voila- a few hours later there it is on the kitchen table. AND, my mom really likes her. It’s a win-win.
The last few days have just felt like interminable WAITING. Waiting for an answer – and now waiting for a treatment. I really, really hope that this injection will do the trick so that I can get back to my life. But it will be “going back” in a different way. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my priorities. I don’t want to just be rushing around madly from one thing to another, just because I can. I want to slowly re-integrate the things that really matter.
I’m also zoning out a fair amount. I watched the entire first episode of Scandal, which I’m finding addictive, ludicrous and entertaining. Probably just the medicine. And I’m getting to be all long distance doting-grandma to Juniorette’s new baby. Everyone, meet Junie. Isn’t she adorable?
So, tomorrow morning I’ll be going to the Surgery Center and facing the needle. I’m ready. SO ready to turn some kind of corner.
When I realized that this week was the 4th year anniversary of the Exposed Movement, originally started by Mish at Eating Journey, my initial reaction was to scoff and whimper, “No way.” I remember feeling pretty great about exposing myself when I joined the movement in 2010. I had been working on my health and fitness for about a year, and I was feeling confident.
This year, I could not be in a more different place. This week I have been debilitated by crazy, relentless pain, and the simple acts of showering or trying to eat a 10-minute meal sitting up have been excruciating.
But as I began to read – and be inspired and moved by- other “anniversary” exposed posts – Carla and Karen and Emily, Jules, Kate and Roni – I felt like, the biggest part of Exposing oneself is in the showing up. As is. And of celebrating what there is to celebrate.
This week, I’m celebrating the fact that I can still find a comfortable position in which to write (on my back, laptop propped on knees). When my writing is taken away, it’s all over. But I’m also contemplating where I’ve been SINCE that first Exposed post back in 2010.
Since then, I’ve:
completed two triathlons
managed to stay within 5 lbs of my goal weight, and remained on staff at Weight Watchers
kept on my committed path of trying to be as healthy and fit as I am able
been able to discontinue my diabetes medication completely (although temporarily back on due to all the anti-inflammatories I’m on)
These are all big victories to me. The greatest victory I see is that I have not given up, not taken a U-turn or stopped caring or acting in behalf of my health. I might not be the unstoppable, badass triathlete I was in 2011, but that’s okay. Here’s a picture I took this afternoon.
I’m still here.
What would it mean – what would it look like and feel like – to expose yourself?
So it’s been a rough couple of months out here. I’ve basically been having nonstop right hip pain ever since the Oaklandhalf marathon, and it’s been bumming me out big time. The hardest part has been not knowing for sure what was wrong – was it a muscle pull? Bursitis? For a month or so I thought it might be due to some pretty big fibroids I have. But although they are clinically classified as “huge,” they have not grown or changed in size since 2009. So my gynecologist was not ready to do anything drastic until I got a complete workup from an orthopedist.
I finally went and had that evaluation on Wednesday. First he did a physical exam. He said he was pretty sure that I did have hip arthritis, and also based on my symptoms, pretty sure I am going to need a total hip replacement.
(that was my heart falling out of my body onto the floor)
I had been sort of bracing myself for this possibility. I tried to recover myself quickly and then I asked, “But what about running?” I think I had this picture in my head, like, as soon as I can just get FIXED, then I can carry on with all my usual stuff, that has, been by the way, on hold for a long time. He said, you know, people are going to do what they’re going to do, but we really do not recommend it. Especially for a young person, we want that new joint to last a long time, and the more you use it, the faster it will wear out.
And then I started crying. And pretty much didn’t stop for about eight hours, until I passed out from sobbing. I had to go to my Weight Watchers meeting. I drove past the site of See Jane Run and totally LOST MY SHIT.
I thought, that was my last race. Of my entire life. I thought, I was going to do that half marathon. And now I never will. I was choke-sobbing all the way to the parking lot of my WW center. I tried to pull myself together. A few of my observant members noticed that I looked like hell. They asked me if I was having a bad day. I really could not even talk about it for fear I would start hysterically wailing right there. I went and hid in a storage closet until the meeting was supposed to start, and miraculously I got through it more or less. It was frankly a relief to talk about SALADS for half an hour.
I got back in my car. The waterworks resumed. I had this image of coming into the house and seeing my beloved medal rack with all my race bling hanging there. I was wailing as if the world was over. Part of my world WAS over. I went home and crawled into bed. I felt like I was seventeen years old and the love of my life was breaking up with me. The love that I had never thought I’d have. Who ignored me my whole life and then finally turned their attention to me and said I was worthy.
Mr. McBody came in and held me as I carried on. I told him that he was not allowed to utter the words “swim” or “bike” until I deemed it acceptable. It was like when we lost our first child. People kept saying I would go on to have other wonderful children. Which turned out to be TRUE, but at that moment it was the last thing on earth I was able to hear. So, I might go on to have a wonderful biking or swimming life, but at that moment I needed to mourn the running.
Sometime during all this melee, I received a text from my dear friend Carla. She texted, Have you seen hiprunner.com? They have an e-Book….
I took a look at the site on Thursday, when my head was throbbing and my eyelids looked like giant waterbeds. I made some sort of wild noise of disbelief and joy as I read about other runners who had undergone hip replacements and who were… RUNNING! WHAT!?!?!?!?!? I immediately posted a comment of OMG OMG OMG are you kidding me?! I received a very warm welcome and an invitation to join the Hip Runners Club. Did I want to participate? HELL YES.
So. I have dried my tears. I am dusting myself off and looking toward the next whatever-it-is. I don’t know when this will actually happen because I need to find myself a new orthopedist (the one I saw this week is retiring) and I am going to find one who believes that some form of running post-op will be okay.
A few months ago, I was thrilled and honored to be nominated as a SuperJane, aka an ambassador for See Jane Run. This was such a fantastic thing for me, because I have loved and adored SJR ever since I ran in my second 5k back in 2009. There’s nothing more joyous and celebratory than getting a champagne flute and chocolate at the finish line of a race! (I also love SJR for awarding medals for a 5k race – THAT is so awesome and validating)
I was so excited to do my first SJR Half Marathon coming up this Saturday. But ever since March, my hip has been getting more and more zingy/painful. I think that I may be finally getting down to the bottom of what is causing this pain (should have final news by next week), but it has meant a serious curtailment of my training. This has been really disappointing.
I have finally had to come to grips with the fact that I’m either going to be doing the See Jane Run 5k verrry slowly this weekend (walk/jog), or I’m going to be a cheerleader. Which is prety cool in and of itself. There’s nothing like cheering on other runners, especially beginning runners. My second See Jane Run, last year, was also really special because I was able to run with my friend Mary, who was doing her very first race. This race is one of the friendliest, well organized and encouraging races for women of all abilities, speeds and sizes. Which is why I love them.
For the past few weeks I’ve been feeling kind of glum about not being able to do the half marathon like I had planned. I then spent a fair amount of time feeling like SJR had made a complete mistake in asking me to be, of all things, a “Super Jane.” But then I took a look at their manifesto and it brought a lump to my throat and smile to my face.
A bunch of members from my Weight Watchers meeting have gotten all excited about participating in the race this weekend. They’ve designed a group T-shirt and are all full of enthusiasm. For most of them, it is their first race. I am so happy for them and will be so thrilled to be at this event with them. It’s okay that I’m not running at my best pace. It’s okay that I’m not going to do the half marathon (this time). Some of them will be walking. I will hang with them and have a rockin’ good time. This is what being a Jane is all about.
It will be a beautiful day. Bring on the bubbly and chocolate!
Questions I have for for other patients OR
Write about: Life and Death
It might seem melodramatic to say that losing weight and getting more active is a matter of life and death for me, but I think it is. I was on a downward spiral when I first started this blog. I had gone to Weight Watchers many many times in the past, but I didn’t think it was life and death. I thought it was skinny jeans or a high school reunion dress. So it didn’t matter much to me. Looks weren’t important. I thought, it’s what’s inside that matters. What I didn’t realize was that inside, my high blood pressure was out the roof, my lipids and blood glucose were out of control. THAT what was going on inside while I was scoffing at people who wanted to wear bikinis. It isn’t just about that.
It took realizing that it IS all about life and death. I can have a good life, or I can have a shorter, more difficult life. I know I don’t have 100% say. There are genetics and other factors to consider. But I also can lean towards the life part of it.
It wasn’t until I realized that my weight, my activity level WERE as important as life and death that I decided to do something about it. I’m glad it wasn’t too late.
When I was at Fitbloggin’ I got to meet the cool people at PVbody. They were giving away some pretty nifty fitness duds, including this top which looked kinda silly on me…especially over my pajama top.
but pretty awesome on Junior.
Anyway, they have a great deal going, which reminds me of getting a weekly delivery of CSA veggies-in-a-box. You never know what you’re going to get, but it’s pretty awesome to be surprised. Instead, they send a beautifully wrapped package of workout clothes each month, for not much $$. You know how expensive workout duds can get, right?
I got my first box yesterday. I was jumping up and down. All pretty, wrapped in tissue paper, like a present.
I open it up and it’s a beautiful top! And some pants that looked, possibly, frighteningly too small. Oh well, it’s free returns/exchanges. These are seriously high-quality workout duds.
The bottoms are made by Nux. They are all scrunchy at the bottom (ruching?) and I feel a little dubious.
But I put them on, and …. woweee! They fit!
Mr. McBody came through after I tried them on and said, “O boy! What are you wearing?!?” Needless to say, he approved. 🙂
They are comfy. They are nifty. I’m all excited! And I get another box next month??
So, this is the deal. You, too, can get a box of awesome workout clothes every month. I can vouch for the super high quality. They are worth about $150 per box, but you pay less than $40.ANNNNNND… as a friend/blog reader of yours truly, you can get an extra 20% off. How cool is that. You fill out a little quiz where you indicate your size, the kind of sport(s) you like to do (running/yoga/cycle etc), your favorite colors and styles. Then voila, they put together a box for you, and when it arrives at your house it’s like your birthday. But every month. If something doesn’t fit, it gets returned super easy and free. I was sure those pants were not going to fit me, but I was wrong.
Actually it was GrowSoulBeautiful‘s idea. I met them at Fitbloggin’ where they had a cool yoga photo booth. But I almost totally ignored it/them, because you know, yoga just isn’t my thing. They were really cool and nice people with a nifty project, but… you know.
Then I got back from Fitbloggin’ and October started and before I knew it, everyone and their sister was doing this #YogaADay challenge on Instagram. I happen to love Instagram (look for me there under “foodiemcbody” of course). So I was seeing people popping up all over doing these challenges.
I thought about it for a minute. It seemed like, come ON, one pose a day? I can do that, right? It’s something like #couchto5k but for Yoga newbies or Yoga-phobes. Which I just might be. But it seemed like the most gradual, small way of entering. I jumped in.
The idea is that you do one pose a day, according to the chart above, and post a photo on Instagram with the tag #yogaaday. So then if you do a search for that hashtag, you see all the people doing that same pose on the same day. There are hundreds of people! Which is both good and bad. It’s inspiring and cool. People do their poses in amazing settings. And some peoples’ forms are absolutely perfect. Awe-inspiring, really.
And other people – like me – are, um, not so perfect. A lot of these poses are really, really hard for me, and I know they are just the beginning ones. (I can’t wait for the Dead Person Pose on Day 14! That one I got down!) I can usually only hold them for a microsecond before I start screaming or fall over. Then when I see the picture, especially when I post around the same time as the perfect-yoga-form people, I want to die of mortification. But it’s like, showing up, being real, not worrying about being perfect, all the stuff I learn from my good friends.
I’m not sure what will happen at the end of this 30 days. If it will inspire me to take a class or get a teacher and get BETTER at this, or if it will make me permanently head for the non-yoga hills. It is a very humbling experience. I can’t say it’s fun. Every day I face the pose with more than a little trepidation. But I try it. I suppose if I kept trying it I would get better. But do I want to? Is it a goal of mine?
I still haven’t decided. But I do know that this challenge is challenging more than a lot of other things I’ve done. It’s right up there with mud races and triathlons. It’s OUT of my comfort zone, that’s for sure – both physically and emotionally. I’m not quite sure why.
It’s not halfway done yet. Anyone out there want to jump in and join me? I’ve loved having company of some other folks during the first 11 days.