Monday, June 29, 2015

An Injury & What is to Come

I can be a very tenacious individual. When I want something, I go after it - full throttle. It's hard to derail me when I'm on a mission, and although I am very much a go-with-the-flow person, and try to let everyone live their own life (as long as it doesn't harm others), when I want something bad enough or believe in something passionately, it's quite difficult to deter me.

Sometimes this trait comes across as absolute stubbornness, other times it is viewed as craziness, and still others may have just accepted that I simply am who I am. I suppose the perspective is completely dependent upon who one is asking or their own life circumstances and beliefs.

This little tidbit is important because I think it's essential to know that I don't give up easily on the things that are important to me.

It hasn't been something I've hidden, but this year (or the last six months of what will be this year) has been a very trying and frustrating time on a bike for me, and I can't help but feel a bit like a fraud as I write posts about various happenings, parts, or bicycles. Not that anything I've written has been falsified in any way, but I'm not exactly feeling like the person I think I should be and it's causing conflict within.
*Image found here
It started with lack of time to ride due to renovations, which turned into extreme bodily pain because of the work being done, resulting in ongoing trauma to various parts of my body which never seem to go away.

All of these things have definitely shortened or eliminated many rides I would normally take this time of year. I've had to take a step back and realize that I have to modify and adjust, and as someone who always wants to do more or be "better," it's an entirely discouraging proposition to realize that this may not be the time for such aspirations.

Last week, as I was participating in a non-cycling activity, my back was injured. It was the sort of injury that left me barely able to walk or stand upright. I'm not entirely sure how I made it home on my bike, but I did. When I finally limped through the door, I let out a wail, "Why now?!" It was all I could think to cry to the skies. I have a history of back injury, but over the last several years I've been able to, at least for the most part, keep severe injury at bay with regular exercise and strength training. It just seemed unfair that one false move had now crippled me.

The morning following the injury, I went to the walk-in Urgent Care office to see if there was anything that would help ease the pain. I've went through this before many years ago and until the muscles decide to relax, it's challenging to get everything back in place. In addition, I'd been asked to shoot some photos of an outdoor wedding in the mountains the following day, and knowing that I am not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination, the added pressure of now being injured wasn't helping my stress levels.

The doctor was sympathetic, but informed me that all activity is out the window until I'm on the mend. No kickboxing, no running, no walking the dogs, no picking anything up, and no riding a bike. Pretty much, she wanted me to sit on a firm surface and wait for the injury to heal.

Not exactly what I wanted to hear. I had just started a running schedule again over the last few weeks and was working toward a goal before mid-August. Kickboxing is my go-to exercise and happens several times a week. Riding a bicycle? That one hurt most of all. How can I not ride a bike? It's not just a form of exercise for me, it's transportation.

Of course, I've never been one to exactly follow what anyone tells me, even doctors. I view it as more of a suggestion, a guideline, if you will. The next day, I decided to take a short trip by bike up the road and while it certainly wasn't the easiest thing I've done recently, as long as I didn't push too hard, I seemed to be okay.

Riding a bike - even short trips - has been my reflection time. It's the opportunity to clear out everything in my head and attempt to find new strategies for whatever is in front of me. With all of the previously existing injury frustration, this set back wasn't helping matters.
*Image found here
Dealing with the ongoing issues from early in the year and then adding in this injury, I was starting to question everything. It's easy to start feeling like a victim. The "why me" questions take over and it's all too easy to find myself spinning downward and out of control. Later, I went through the usual - though necessary - self-pity type of thoughts: It seems unfair, why am I being punished, where did I go wrong, will I ever be able to reach the goals I've set?

In reality, this is a temporary setback. All of the injuries will be relatively short-lived (at least I hope), and while I may not be healing from the earlier injuries and strains as swiftly as I'd hoped, we have found ways to modify my bikes and I've tried to come to grips with the idea that long rides are just not as likely until everything heals and/or works itself out.

I've attempted to look at this time as an opportunity to find solutions rather than focusing on what I cannot do. I'm missing out on some things, yes, but perhaps there is reason for it. Maybe I need this time to learn something about myself or to understand that not everything goes exactly as we plan it. Sometimes, I think I've learned a lesson, only to find myself in the midst of a similar situation, at which point I start to question whether I truly learned what I was supposed to or not.

At the moment, I am on a search for balance in all things, trying to accept that I have (what I hope are) temporary restrictions, and within these limitations still set goals and strive to be a better me. It's not an easy task for someone who dreams big, and who doesn't take no as an answer to something truly desired. Fortunately, I don't give up easily.

In all of this, I ask as a reader for your patience as I fight through demons and attempt to jump over hurdles [screw what the doc says - I can still fight and jump :O)]. I have no intention of focusing on my personal injury issues (unless they somehow relate to the topic being discussed), but know that I am trying to find ways to work around current bumps in the road which may result in periods of silence or an occasional slightly off-normal-topics post.

I have no plans to stay off my bike, but I also understand that there are constraints to what is currently possible. I am anxious for healing to take place (and it is already happening) and looking forward to resuming what would be regular rides sooner than later. In the meantime, I may take this opportunity to do more reviews of parts that I've neglected to talk about thus far, or to write about past events that managed to go by without acknowledgement.
*Image found here
We are presented with challenges every day. Some are easier to contend with than others, but I hope that whatever you face in your today, you meet it with determination and a belief that you are capable of solving any dilemma and overcoming any obstacle.

Happy riding, my friends. I look forward to being back in the saddle for extended periods of time in the near future.

7 comments:

  1. Get yourself off harmful drugs and see a competent chiropractor. He can get you pain free within a few days to a week and immediately ease some of it. You are probably out of alignment and inflammed. Happened to me twice. Chances are you need to rest and take it easy until you heal. A chiropractor [a good one] can get you back into exercising - the right exercises, the right amount, as you heal. Doctors will drug you silly and not correct the problem. If you don't move your joints back into alignment, it can lead to worse things and cause more pain over time. I've tried it both ways.

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  2. Forgot, to say that my chiropractor put me on an anti-inflammatory supplement, D-Flame, which is herbal and works. I take 2 with food, 3 times a day for inflammation. No side effects. I also apply BioFreeze ointment to area as needed. First week or two ice down area, after that use heat 15 minutes, several times a day or as needed. See the chiropractor 2 times a week or as needed until you get to where you can go once a week for awhile. These injuries can take a year or so to heal properly. Ongoing chiropractic maintenance is required during this time.

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  3. +1 for a good chiropractor or osteopath -- someone who understands soft tissue release, not just re-alignment/correction of subluxations.

    Meanwhile, so sorry to hear you're in pain and unable to do all the things you enjoy. Get well soon!

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    1. True. After tests to see how extensive my damage was, I am also getting deep tissue massage therapy, as I can't exercise as much.

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  4. Oh, no. I'm so sorry to hear you've injured your back. That sounds both painful and frustrating. In terms of how you use this blog, you have no need to apologize or even explain what you do. If you need to take a break or want to write about other topics, your readers will understand. Having said that, I thought I'd drop a little hint and say that I'd love to hear what you think about different kinds of equipment and how you make choices about what you like and why. I'd also enjoy seeing posts where you think back to moments and events from previous years and reflect on them from a distance. Best wishes for your recovery.

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  5. Learning to be patient with ourselves is a lesson many of us work on through our whole lives.

    Be patient, and do what you can. Sending good thoughts!

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  6. Thank you to all for your kind words and suggestions.

    I am already beginning to get better from last weeks' unfortunate incident and I think the previous injuries are something that will take time. I've dealt with back issues from the age of 8 (or so), so this is not entirely unexpected, but still frustrating. Sort of the cherry on top of a sundae no one wants. Having dealt with chiropractors, doctors and PTs at various points, there are definitely moments when they are the answer - and I agree the a chiro is much preferred to a doc in this situation, but I could see a doctor quicker and I just needed relief.

    Anon, Rest is definitely in order and it's not something I am great at doing. It's challenging to just rest and wait things out. While I cannot promise I won't do anything, I do understand that I have to be cautious and won't push anything more than I should.

    Rebecca, I will find a way to work in the things I enjoy - somehow. :O) Even if it means severely modified. I don't want to re-injure, or not heal, but I definitely don't do well when I have to give up everything.

    Kendra, Thanks for some ideas/suggestions on topics. Goodness knows there are enough items around here I could talk about, and it's funny that you brought up the idea of reflecting on previous years as I've kind of been in that state of mind anyway... so, both great ideas.

    Janice, Agreed. Patience with ourselves is a difficult lesson to learn. It's much easier to have it with others I find.

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