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. 

OMG You’re Crooked! 

“Does it hurt!?”

“You look miserable!”

“Is that permanent??”

I hear these. Everyday. I appreciate the concerns. But after a while I just want to scream. I know I look strange. Trust me. I don’t even want to go in public because I look like a side show in the 50’s circus (I know I’m not a two headed person or a bearded lady, but you know what I mean).  

I am typically a confident person. I give zero fucks what people think of me. Don’t like it? Don’t look. However. When you are forced into an unnatural position and there is no way to force yourself to look normal, you start to get self conscious. 

I don’t want to take the dog out. Or stand in front of a group of peers to discuss financials for a project. I just don’t want to be seen. I want to hide. And that makes me sad. And angry. 

I have an appointment tomorrow morning to show my doctor what’s going on. Hopefully it’s nothing major, but I need to not look like an S anymore. Not only for my healing. But for my sanity. And for Juke’s sanity too. 

The Perils of Having Too Much Gusto

So, about a year ago, I got hit in derby. Normal right? Well, this hit included two girls, one hit the top half of my body, and the other hit the bottom. Basically like your regular everyday football tackle. Beautiful form (according to my dad). I got up and kept going, granted it was probably one of the most painful hits I have ever taken, which says a lot, based on the many times I’ve been abused by some of my closest friends that play with me. I woke up the next morning and felt a weird twinge in my back.  I remember thinking to myself, its probably just a muscle, I’m sure it’s fine, and will relax after a soak and a light jog, my usual after game routine.

Well, it did. Which was great. However, there was still a lingering twinge of pain when I would turn or lean forward to pick up a ball to throw to Juke, my best buddy, a little Shetland sheepdog with more personality than most people. So I decided to go to the chiropractor.  I had been a few times previous to help with random shoulder hurts and an occasional hit that would make my neck feel like it was made of concrete, but never really for my back. So I went, and we did the usual thing of “how did this happen, where does it hurt, blah blah”. I got cracked, and moved on with my day.

I did this for a year with no real change in my back.

During this year, I had a lot of derby centric events. I tried out for All Stars. I have played on the West Virginia All Stars for three years now, and have been a captain for 2. I have a lot of pride for this team, and I have always wanted to do my best, especially to represent the great state of West Virginia, because we often get looked at as underdogs. I gave my all in tryouts, but couldn’t help be a little cautious for my back.  I was trying to make sure I’d be ok not only for this team, but for my home team, the Morgantown Roller Vixens, which I was also captaining at the time.

Morgantown’s season started and I felt pretty good, playing in every game my team had, as well as maintaining a rigorous All Stars practice, working towards my MBA at WVU, and maintaining a full time job.  But there was always pain. I tried K-tape, Tiger Balm, essential oils, massages, the whole bit. Nothing was really helping. So I gritted my teeth and just played through the pain. That was my first mistake. Being an athlete my whole life I know the difference between being hurt, and being injured. I started to realize I was injured.

Then came a tournament my team competes in each year, River Valley Riot. I love this tourney, because the team that puts it on are all friends of mine, and it is so awesome to see them be so successful. I was injured. I knew it. So I focused more on blocking and jamming both, rather than my usual jamming only style of game play. I made it through the tournament, but started to notice things were getting worse.

And then it happened. I turned into an S. My body was starting to panic. It went into “protective scoliosis”, trying to pull the muscles and ligaments away from the injury. That injury was a severely herniated L4/L5 lumbar disc.

I played in one more scrimmage, the one our team hosts, called Jingle Brawl, then decided it was time to seek serious help.

I met with the WVU Spine Center, and met my fabulous spine surgeon, Dr. Shari Cui. She has been a Godsend. We discussed options. We made a plan. My All Star team was scheduled to play in a tournament in Philadelphia in February. We made the deal that I would rest until that tourney, then she would fix me.

Well, I rested. Things kept getting worse. I was heavily medicated, which I hated. I started a new job, and these medicines made it really hard for me to retain the information needed to be successful. I still struggle.

I went in to have an epidural done, in order to try to get me through the season. It was horrible.

The tournament came. I laced up my skates for the first warmup. West Virginia was going to play New York, a team that I respect greatly, because a lot of my very favorite players were rostered for our game (ie: Misty Maven, who hugged me #fangirlmoment). I went out to warm up. And I lost feeling in my right foot. It was gone. And it was terrifying. I told my coaches, and didn’t skate. The whole tournament. It was discouraging, and it hurt my heart, more than it really should have. Because I knew I was injured.

I went in to see Dr. Cui not long after this and we scheduled my surgery. I told my team what was happening, and with alligator tears, wrote my resignation as captain. I knew I couldn’t play this season. It was gut wrenching. A piece of me was now missing. The piece that keeps me sane, and calm, and level.  Gone.

I had surgery on St. Patrick’s Day this year. It was a scary adventure, but right after I felt immediate relief from the pain, and the numbness was starting to subside. Miracles.

Dr. Cui removed 10 cm. of herniation from my back. She added a little piece of carbon fiber to maintain some of the springiness of my disc. And sent me to recover.

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I laid in bed for a week. Not doing much except binge watching tv, sleeping and petting my dog. But I felt better. And I kept getting better. The S shape was gone. I was well on my way to becoming me again.

Then this weekend hit.  I think I was feeling great, had a great follow up with Doc Cui, who I now want to be my friend, and was ready to get started with rehab. I had too much gusto. As I sit here now, on a heating pad, with tears rolling down my face, I am an S again. I have a small amount of pain in my lower back, nothing too major, but enough to be concerned. I see Dr. Cui in 2 days.  I am crushed. The mental part of healing is something they don’t really warn you about. You may think you have a strong mind, and are tough as nails. I did. And I am seeing now that your mind can take you to dark places, and feelings of hopelessness and forced retirement from the one thing you love so much creep in. It’s inevitable. You are broken. The end. But I have an amazing group of friends that keep me from wallowing in those places. I am not broken, I’m just healing. I hope you’ll follow my journey.

 

xoxo-

Deebs.

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