This is a reflective week for me, as I recall my life 6 years ago, before I was perforated. The memories come fast and furious, and Vin Diesel is no where in sight.
Six years ago today I finally mastered the Pilates roll up, after a decade of failed attempts. I succeeded on Thursday, and was shot on Saturday. It didn't seem fair then, and it doesn't seem fair, now. I'm still struggling to finish one without grabbing my thighs or a helping hand in front of me. Of all the things I lost when bullets and I intersected, this is the one that remains the most infuriatingly out of reach.
It will come. I know it will.
I have sensation all through my thigh muscles, almost all the way down to the deepest parts of my quadriceps. My adductors, the brevis and the longus and the magnus and minimus, are attempting to work in harmony with one another. I feel them scrunching and stretching and trying their hardest.
It's a mind over matter situation, too.
I anticipate the sharp shooting fireworks that result from their active engagement, even though it's far less bothersome than it has been in the past. I remember Kelley, the RIC PT, encouraging me to assess the threat value of the feeling and I try, I really do try, to acknowledge that it is fleeting and not destructive. I try to breathe through it, even though I want to scream. It hurts but I'm not causing any further damage. That's the mantra I repeat to myself while remembering to keep my pelvis stable and my lower abs engaged and the entire leg pressed firmly into the mat.
There's a lot going on all at once. That's what makes the work so interesting, even after all these years. It's also what makes it so frustrating.
Then, again, I am here to kvetch about it, so there's really no problem at all.
I have more endurance; I can park far from the doorway of the grocery store without worrying that I won't make it back to my car. I still like to lean on the cart as we cruise the aisles, but I use that time to consciously work on my gait. Lifting my knee is no longer precluded by scar tissue. I simply forget to do it unless TBG is there to remind me. But, holding onto the shopping cart's sturdy handle, I can prance and place my foot down with the same energy and strength on both sides.
That is progress.
I carried FlapJilly down the stairs on my back last week. That was impossible to contemplate, let alone accomplish, when we visited at Halloween. I shoveled and raked and lifted with SIR as we cleaned the roofing shingles and nails from his lawn and garden and deck. We worked for almost an hour. I was sweaty and energized and I didn't hurt at all.... until I sat down and took stock of my aches and pains. But, they were healthy, I-worked-hard kinds of pains, and they felt good in my soul.
The piece that makes me happiest, though, happened just this morning in the gym. My usual routine is five leg and butt exercises after stretches and push-ups and plank. This morning, I decided to treat myself. I did chest and triceps and have left my lower body workout for Pilates this afternoon. I did bench press and french press and used the Gravitron to do dips. I smiled at myself as I realized that I was using exercise as a reward, just as I did before.
Before. I'm getting back to where I was as a physical human being. The rest of it.... that's another story for another post.
For now, Before doesn't seem that long ago. That's a good thing.