2 and a half years ago, I started on a crazy, wonderful journey. I made a decision to lose this weight once and for all. I hired a trainer whom I loved. I was motivated and driven and followed her instructions to a “T”. (In the beginning) I lost every week, saw dramatic results and was absolutely thrilled to be on this path. (In the beginning) I was able to withstand all the knocks life was throwing (rotator cuff surgery, the beginning of my son’s school troubles, my Dad’s “stroke” …) (In the beginning) It was easy.
Life has a way of knocking you down when things are going good. Sometimes we are able to continue on in spite of the knockdowns. Sometimes those knockdowns get a little too hard to get up from … so we stay down a little longer each time. I have had my share of knockdowns over the past 2 years since I started that journey roaring. Let me revisit them …
In April of 2010, my parents came to visit on their return trip from Florida (where they over-winter). My Dad had suffered what was believed to be a minor stroke in the previous fall. It was obvious during their visit that he was markedly changed. A week after they left here, I was driving out to Ohio for my 1st scheduled 5k of the year (and my first in about 7 years), all gung-ho and excited, fit and fancy free … when I received the call. Something was wrong, they were taking Dad in. Later, before the run, I learned that they suspected a brain tumor. I ran, best running time of my life, enjoyable weekend with my friend, but in the back of my head was “what’s happening with my Dad?” On the return drive home I learned that Dad had Glioblastoma Multiforme … the most aggressive malignant primary brain tumor in humans … and completely inoperable in my Dad’s case. Not that the operable part means anything. It comes back 100% of the time, even when it is operable. Dad literally had months to live. That roller coaster of emotions was a ride I hope I never have to repeat. In August of 2010, he died. I was not there, I had to come home to take care of my family. I received that call that he died while I was on the elliptical machine at my gym. I could not get back on that machine, or even that type of machine for literally 2 years after. The guilt I felt for not being by his side, for being more focused on myself and my fitness when he slipped from this earth was staggering. I tried to bury my emotions and carry on, however, I was not the same person who started that journey and it was evident to my trainer.
Slowly I started regaining some of the weight. I started working out with kettlebells and boxing, I still ate clean, but my body plateaued hard and nothing I did seemed to make the scale return to its former losing ways. My depression became all consuming, however, I was not willing to share that with anyone. I was all bottled up inside and unwilling to admit that I felt tremendous guilt every time I entered the gym. Foolish guilt, unwarranted guilt, but guilt nonetheless. Eventually, in the spring of 2011, my trainer and I decided to part ways. I was still working with my boxing and KB coach, I was still eating clean(-ish … I had lost much of my dedication to this process) … I just needed the space to figure out my way. On June 14th of 2011, while playing softball, I made a wrong decision trying to get a runner out at home and our subsequent collision resulted in a tibial plateau fracture, torn ligaments and a severe meniscus tear. My visit to the orthopedic surgeon confirmed … recovery required the broken leg not bear any weight for the next 12 weeks, followed by surgery to repair the interior damage. I literally spent the rest of the summer in the lazy boy. Or at least that was how it felt. No cardio. I did try swimming, but I could not do laps without kicking … I tried but my instinctive, years ingrained swimming technique over-road I could hop on one leg around the pool, or float and relax, but good, heart busting lap work was not going to happen. No Cardio. My depression worsened … and my desire to eat clean completely fled the building.
In October when I finally received the all-clear to put weight back on the leg, I was gung-ho. I was excited to run, workout, get back at it. But now I was back over 200 lbs and my “all-fired-up-edness” actually worked against me. Extra weight does not bode well for high impact work on already suspect joints. I have been subjected to one injury after another, from bad ankle sprains, to further knee woes and severe tendinitis. Every time I think I have things back on track, something gets hurt. I have spent more time crying and in pain over the past 2 years than I can begin to explain. My grandmother died, my sister virtually disowned me over an incident outside of my control, I have lost friends, my son has been diagnosed with dysgraphia and, while brilliant with a far above average IQ, he has some extreme struggles with school. My husband has a wonderful job, for which I am eternally grateful, however, it requires him to be out of town a lot
It has felt as if the knocks were simply never going to quit. So, the last time I got knocked down, I think I just stayed down. It was easier to give up the fight, bloody, battered and broken on the mat, then to pull myself up one more time and attempt to get back in that ring.
I’ve been lying on that mat for sometime now and I finally feel like I might be ready to get back up. I have a LONG way to go. When I think about the work before me, I truly just want to lie back down and go to sleep. But instead, I have decided to stand. I am hoping that all those things that were striving to beat the bloody piss out of me have left the arena. I have also decided that I will not be one of “those things”. My tendency is to beat myself up if I don’t see success. If I falter and fail, I bash my head against a proverbial cement block until my ego is destroyed. This time, NO. I will not do that. I will accept and celebrate every victory. I will accept and embrace every aspect of the journey. The change needs to be forever. Not quick fix … nothing is going to happen over night. I will not destroy my body, I will listen to it. I will work out every day, even if that only means a walk with my favorite canine companion. I will eat whole, real, clean foods … but I will accept that sometimes it is OK to indulge. I will get real rest. I will make no other promises. If I see only one pound lost on that scale, I will be thrilled instead of disappointed. If I see a pound gained, I will be resolved instead of destroyed. I will no longer lie down on the mat, defeated. I will rise, and even in that rising alone, I will be victorious.
Let’s get this party started …