Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How Am I Doing?

From time to time, friends on-line ask that question.  I'm never sure just what part of "I" ought to be answering.  Do they want to check in on my limp or my heart or my head?  It always feels like a real inquiry, more than the "Hi, how are ya?" passed between acquaintances on the line at the bagel store.  I don't know if the difference is at my end or theirs, but I feel it, nonetheless.

So, if you're wondering too, here's the answer: today I'm cranky, yesterday I was laughing, tomorrow will bring another interesting space to occupy.  It's a roller coaster, dependent on how the weather breaks, on who sends an email, on whether my body is cooperating or not.  It's never boring. It's never the same.

Myofascial release is a painful but wonderful form of massage.  It involves dry rubbing and deep pressure and bizarre positions on the table to enable the therapist to get right at the part she's targeting. I can feel unwindings and unravelings inside my leg as her hands palpate and drag and press.  I wonder if I'm going to be black and blue when I stand up. I wonder if I'll be able to stand up at all.  It's not the relaxing calmness of a swedish massage, not by a long shot.  It's work, for the masseuse and for me.

The results are a longer feeling leg and less tightness in the muscles and tendons and ligaments that are bunched up just below my hip bone.  They are very comfortable there, all atop one another, sticking and bulging and keeping me from the deep fold Pilates requires.  After the fascia are released, it's another story entirely.  There's an openess, an availability of movement, an absence of pressure that is remarkable.  It lasts for a few days, or perhaps I just get used to the feeling and decide that it's my new normal.  Whatever the reason, I am a new woman when I get off the table.

I'm seeing my Physical Therapist once every three or four weeks at this point.  I like those visits.  She has all these fancy degrees, and they comfort me as she nods, sagely, as I walk across the gym, carefully.  Her delight in my new-found ability to push off my damaged leg when it's behind me sends shivers of joy up my spine.  She smiles and I walk straighter and wider and taller.  My gait is still lumpy, but not as rocking and rolling as it was last summer.  

I don't need to hitch my hip to move forward. If I concentrate, I can glide it smoothly from directly beneath my sternum, using my abdominals for power and control.  I know, I know, you think that I ought to be walking with my legs and my glutes.  They are certainly a part of it, but the breathing keeps me on a metronomic pace, left-right-left-right, rather than left-ri..-left-ri...  Did you get my feeble attempt to describe in words the rapidity with which I remove my body weight from my damaged side?  

My ability to support myself with my right leg is improving, but not as rapidly as I would like.  I am allowed to complain about that, because it's within my control.  I am strong enough to go to the gym and use the leg machines and free weights and cables to strengthen and grow those butt muscles.  I just don't make myself go.  I'm not sure why; no one judges my light weights.  I hear encouragement and surprise at the progress my fellow gym rats notice. But for me, inside my own little self, there's that nagging voice telling me that I'm weak, I'm going to hurt myself, I can't do another rep...... and,for now, I don't have much success in silencing her.

I'm limping less.  That sentence can be read as encouraging or depressing.  I'm still limping and it's been nearly three years.  There's less of a limp than there was a year ago, when I thought I had plateaued forever.  I balance those two interpretations in my head every morning.  TBG asks "How's the leg?" and I know that he'll offer a hug and compassion if I need it.... but I don't want to need it.

I'm still hung up on what I want and what I have.  I can't have what I want the most, because Christina-Taylor isn't coming back. I can be in charge of those pieces of my recovery which require repetition and concentration and the simple act of doing it.  I don't give myself many breaks. I'm in the gym or the studio or on the playground path just about every day.  

When my blood testing showed elevated levels of this or that, the pre-printed instructions included "exercise more" and "lose weight."  It made me angry. I'm doing something every day. 15 minutes of yoga practice every morning, whether I want to or not, may not be sweaty exercise, but it's something. Usually, I'll spend an hour or two on my body, alone or with a therapist.  I weigh less than I did ten years ago, less than the weight on my driver's license from 2006, less than at any time I can remember since before Little Cuter was born.  Somehow, though, those words on a single sheet of paper ran through me like a knife.

Do this.  Do that. Stick with it. Smile. Work harder. Stay focused. Good advice, but I really don't need it. I know what I must do.  I know it will take time.  I know that I'm improving.  I just wish it weren't omnipresent. There are times when I look in the mirror at myself and say
Oh, just leave me alone!


  1. I'm with you today. I'm cranky because I've been trying to lose weight and all of a sudden I'm hitting a plateau. I have 20 more pounds to lose and I'm doing everything I'm supposed to be doing. :(

    You are doing everything you are supposed to be doing too, so don't be hard on yourself (I need to tell myself that too). I know how much you miss CT. I see her mom's posts and how much her family misses her. I know keeping busy may be helping, but you do need to give yourself breaks and if you want to scream, I think you should do it. Sometimes just screaming helps me get it all out. I cry and then I feel better. I sometimes do this when no one is home. I don't want to scare my kids, but it just helps to release it all.

    Sending lots of hugs!

    Megan xxx


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