MRIs, and remembering what derby feels like

Got my results back from my second MRI. Slight reherniation in the same spot. Apparently it happens to folks who are small built and don’t have a ton of fat. Which is different than LITERALLY everything else in the health world. Dumb as hell. But. I got the all clear. It’s not really bothering me, I am not having any major symptoms again. So I got the go ahead. And I FEEL SO GOOD. I needed derby. I didn’t realize how much until it was gone. I am sleeping a little better, probably because I’m actually tired. I am not quite as aggro in my normal life. And my head is clearer. 

Today I had my second really full contact practice back and it felt UH. MAZING. I got hit hard, no one really held back and I got knocked on my ass. It felt fabulous. I jammed a lot. I got through some. I’m finding weird weaknesses and my poor toes forgot what it was like to be derby toes. (Poor feetsies) but I felt so good I didn’t care. 

I am thankful for my team. These girls have been my backbone (see what I did there) to coming back. They make me feel safe to try stuff again and give me huge encouragement. And they push me. They don’t let me settle. I can’t wait to see what happens this season. 

I’m back. Tacky shirt really drives it home. 

This bitch is back and ready to let people FEEL THE BOOM. 

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Being mad 

So, I have been on the mend. I am getting back to skating again and am done with physio. So stoked. Until I was jogging up the steps at my apartment and tried to rip my big toe off. A jammers worst nightmare. I was so excited to be at practice and start working towards becoming a solid blocker and jammer again, and now I’m sidelined again, at least until I can stand to have my foot in my skate. Or a shoe even. 

One thing that they don’t really talk with you about after an injury (at least an ortho,  not a sports psychologist) is how mad you will be. At everything. 

I am irrationally mad over things I see, things I know, the way someone says something, anything. Even if it’s nothing it’s something. I consider my level headedness one of my strengths, usually, but lately I have been popping off at the mouth at work, letting things get to me, and holding onto things that normally I’d let go of. 

I can feel it bubbling under the surface. There is so much stress and shit that I normally deal with by working out, hitting people at practice, skating forever or lifting forever that is just stuck inside. I have no real escape for me. And it is horrible. It causes me to fuck up at work. Then hate myself for the fuck up and make it worse. It’s affecting my whole world. 

I feel like a psychopath and not like myself. The mental part is the worst. I have tried to channel it. Writing, reading, petting the dog. Nothing helps. I am dealing with changes to my body. Those I can work through. The mental shit. That’s the slayer of people who are confident, cool and calm.  And one of the worst parts is it’s silent. No one can see it. And I’m not a feeling kind of gal, so I internalize it, so it festers. And then it unleashes. And I can’t get it back under control until I either cry, scream or escape. 

No one tells you this when you get hurt.  And I don’t know what can help. A new tattoo didn’t even quench the feeling. 

I am ready to be me again. 

Pride

I am proud as hell of my team. They are currently 5-0 on the season. This season has been a grueling test on them mentally and physically. But they are KILLING IT. And it is KILLING ME to not be with them. Everyone is growing so much, and I fear what a comeback will be like with such an amazing talent pool like MRV has. I am honestly nervous to see what I have lost skill wise. 

I got the clearance from my doctor Thursday to start skating again. And I’m terrified of falling. Of not being good enough anymore. Of losing all the momentum I had built up. I have decided to forego all stars this season, which breaks my heart. But my body needs it. 

Here’s to working hard to get it back, both mentally and physically. And to remembering who I am. 

Some days you’re  Uther, some days you’re Agravaine

Lately I’ve been more stoic than usual. Things are progressing slowly with my recovery, and I’m still sore all the time, and still experiencing fatigue in my leg. I was hoping to be on skates by June. It’s not looking good. Coming to this harsh reality has been a pretty sucky thing to deal with, but I’ve been trying to the best I can. 

Some days I put on my happy face and wake up in a mood ready to throw myself at my work, try my best and really kick ass. Those are my Uther Pendragon days. I feel like I am doing well, excited and ready to defend my throne. I’m happy, and feel like I have Excalibur at my side. 
Other days. I am Agravaine. The nasty uncle to Arthur who must sacrifice loved ones to gain power. Whether those things I love are time with my family or loved ones, derby, work or school. 

Sometimes I feel like I’m having to sacrifice work to get better. Countless appointments at chiropractor, PT, or my actual doctor in order to try to get my back up to 100. 

I am sacrificing time with friends and loves because I am exhausted from catching up on work and school because of the appointments. 

I’m sacrificing derby because I’m trying to be smart and heal right. I always have the fear that I won’t be able to come back. Or when I do, I won’t be like I was. 

I find myself being dark and angry more and more, each time I feel like I am sacrificing, and never feeling like I am ahead or gaining anything. I feel sad because I can’t take Juke for walks and plays without needing a break. I can’t shop without taking a break. It makes me madder and madder, and then things get darker and darker. 

I need to let myself be angry, and embrace it. Make my comeback my Excalibur. Make hard work and the feeling of success at work and school my Lady of the Lake. And remember that no matter what, I know I have friends that are proud of me and a family that thinks I kick ass. 

But having a little dark is ok, it fuels my fire. And I need to remember that too. 

Follow ups, Demons and The Evil Queen. And pizza. 

I had follow up #2 today with my neurologist. It went, decently? My incision and structure of my spine look great. Everything is remaining intact and nothing seems to be rejecting anything. So that’s a win. She was impressed with the strength I’ve been gaining back, and the atrophy is starting to become less visible. Yay! I am only experiencing numbness on the outside of my calf. I can live with that. 

She let me take a photo of what they took out of my back. It’s at the bottom of this post. It looks like a demon. I’m not joking. I’m glad I have a cross tattoo because I’m pretty sure that’s what saved me from crawling out of a tv. So if you don’t want to see that I suggest slowing your scroll before you get to the last paragraph.  (That paragraph reminds me of the book The Monster at the End of This Book, a Boom childhood favorite.)   

Anyway, Dr Cui took X-rays today to make sure nothing was jacked and determined that this whole S/Witch/annoying pain is caused by a muscle spasm. A “badass” one. Direct quote. She recommended chiropractic care, which coming from a neuro was a shocker.  But it will help to release the kraken’s  lock on my back. She also recommended massage. Oh darn. I plan on making those plans tomorrow. 

I am fighting a bit of the mental battle today, struggling with looking like a weirdo, feeling like shit, and generally being angry at the world. I’ve let myself nap, gave myself delicious pizza, even if it’s not really in my diet (not that I’m following one, other than STOP FUCKING EATING YOUR FEELINGS #fatjammer) but it helped. Stretching and heat are my friends. So is bourbon too, but only a bit, as bourbon and muscle relaxers aren’t really supposed to be used together…but hey, what doesn’t kill you, amiright? 

This journey is teaching me one thing. Don’t get mad at yourself for being a human. It’s ok. Giving into a temptation of pizza is ok too sometimes. Just not everyday. It’s why it’s called treat yo self, not normal life. And be thankful.

A lady in the waiting room today was staring down the barrel of paralysis. She had been in the hospital for Christmas, New Years and thanksgiving. I got to spend those days with people I love. She didn’t. I am able to say, this will eventually go away. She can’t.  But she looked me square in the eyes when I told her “I am so sorry for all you’ve been through” and told me “I am still alive. I am able to see my kids and my grandkids, sweetie it could always be worse. God is good, I have been blessed and I have a good life. It can always be worse.”  That lady knows her shit. And she will be in my prayers everyday, even if I never got her name. And she’s right, it could be worse. I am counting my blessings tonight. 

Gah, teary eyes make it hard to type. I think that Dr. Cui took out my feeling suppressor. Anyway, below is a photo of the demon for your enjoyment. 

Spinal Headaches 

These things are the worst. It’s a migraine, but nothing relieves it. As I write this in the dark with hot and cold both on and one eye closed I am hoping for relief. PT has been going well and I’m standing up straighter. My friends are the most supportive people ever. I am thankful for each of them. My teammates are so positive and reassuring and I can’t tell you how much that helps. I am not feeling too creative and wordy tonight so I’ll leave this post with something  my therapist said to me yesterday. “You know, you may not be as strong as you once were, but damned if you aren’t more determined than ever.” 

I lifted a thing!

Yesterday was day 2 of physical therapy. I expected the usual suspects of stretching, icing, tens unit, etc. I did not however, expect to get to be on the leg press and hamstring extension. Happy surprise!  I noticed a severe difference in strength in my legs, but, overall, not as devastating as expected.

Today I am sore as all hell. That’s to be expected, but hey, I managed to put on real pants. Which is a feat on a normal day. I’ve been trying to move more, and have been doing a bad job about standing at my desk. But I am tired. And today has been stressful. Work has been stressful. Life is stressful. I notice the stress in my shoulders even more since I’ve been stretching. It’s not very pleasant. Time to stretch more. *Yawn.* One more hour of work. I can do this.

Mental Fortitude. 

There is a lot to be said for mental toughness. Sometimes this is tested. In work, relationships, sports, anything really. Even telling yourself you really don’t need those adorable boots. Even if they are on sale. It’s ok to give in sometimes. Let that little voice creep in and tell you to “treat yo self”. I get it. And I do. And it’s ok. 

But

I’ve had to tell myself no A LOT lately. No, you don’t need to eat your sads. No you don’t need to cry bc work just got more overwhelming and you feel like you’re on an island by yourself. No, you don’t need to dye your hair and get a full sleeve of tattoos. No you don’t need to give up. You don’t need to run away.  Stop feeling sorry for yourself. No, they won’t forget how hard you’ve worked. 

But also no, you just can’t do it yet. And that one is the hardest.

 Bee and I took Juke for a walk and sushi and French fries yesterday at one of my favorite places around here. It felt good. Good to be out. Good to be moving and laughing at Juke.  Just good. But I had to stop walking up the hill back to the truck. I’ve never had to stop there. My back was screaming at me. And has been ever since. Stretching. Icing. Standing. All of it has helped, but the stresses of today’s work made it worse. Today was a shit storm. 

I found myself dying for 4:30 and when I got to my truck I just sat. Thankful it was over and I could go home and wallow. And wallow I did. I got junk food, an ice pack and didn’t move for 4 hours. I watched movies I have been wanting to watch and cried over ballet bc it was beautiful. And that’s ok. I gave myself that. Because there is beauty in everything. And I like ballet. So there. 

Manda got me a bracelet yesterday. It simply says Warrior on it. And that’s all I need. Just a reminder that I am strong. I can deal with whatever, and I wasn’t raised to be a feelingy person. I am tough as nails. And built from the salt of the earth. I’m smart. I’m strong. And I don’t take shit from anyone. 

Tomorrow’s a new day. It’s supposed to be beautiful. I plan on picking a badass dress for work, probably donning my combat boots , putting my warrior bracelet on and FUCKING SLAYING IT. Because that’s who I am. Warriors can cry and get angry. But in the end. You prevail. 

1 Month Anniversary

Today is 1 month post surgery! I got to start my rehab today, and it was a positive experience. I got another wow, you’re super crooked (cool, thanks I didn’t know that…) but all in all my new PT is cool, and the place I am going is huge, and has lots of equipment to start to get stronger on. I have a 10 degree lumbar shift, due to my muscle spasm where they had to be cut, but that digressed to 7 once we tried some of the mobility exercises.

One positive that came from today was that I only lost major strength in my hip flexors. My quads, hammies (although tight AF) and calves maintained their strength. Also I almost kicked him in the face because he wasn’t prepared for what these quads could bring.  I wasn’t sorry. #thickthighssavelives

My back will obviously need some work, but all in all the new therapist said I was in good shape for recovery.

He gave me some exercises to start working on, which I may be doing at my desk as I type, thanks NETL for being awesome and providing me with an optional standing desk. I stand around 5-6 hours a day. It has helped to not lock up my back, which has proven to be a saving grace.

Hopefully soon I won’t be an s.

It’s finally time to start recovering. And I’m so ready.

 

“Holy Shit”

First off, my doctor is a badass. She drives a fast car, she tells it like it is, and she doesn’t sugar coat it. These things all make her my favorite doctor I have ever had to work with. I saw her, bright and early this morning. Seated, I look normal. She walked in and asked ok why are you here? Then I stood. And the words HOLY. SHIT. fell out of her mouth. She’s not one to censor herself, which is cool with me, but she was even caught off guard. We did lots of tests to make sure I hadn’t lost any muscle and nothing crazy had happened at my incision point. Luckily I was stronger than I have been and my range of motion is still pretty good. 

She felt my back, and realized how heavy of a spasm it is in. She said it was the worst she’s seen in a while. Lovely. Go big or go home. 

We are starting therapy Monday morning early AF to try to get this to relax, as well as more drugs. Sigh. I will be thrilled when I don’t have to take them anymore. Last night I slept forever. I’m ready to be myself again. I got a message for the Summer Affair derby event in August. I need to be better for that. Baller Shot Caller is going to be there, among other badass women. And some badass dudes. I need to be better.