Time for another guest post! This time, Amy from Second City Randomness (LOVE this girl!) has offered to share what she learned from coping with an injury herself. Thank you Amy! She is a very wise woman so listen closely… (er, read closely, oh you know what I mean…) I would love for you to share your thoughts and any of your own experiences in the comments section. I’ll post my reaction to her post as well as my eats from today (I KNOW you were worried about that 😉 ) tomorrow. Until then, enjoy!!!
Hello bloggers! I’m Amy from Second City Randomness and I have been a reader of The Process of Healing for some time now. What I love about this blog is that I went through something similar when it comes to giving up my regularly active lifestyle and having to spend time off the leg in order to heal.
I was close to running a 5k when I started to feel the pain. I am no expert- and couldn’t place the pain. Every day I thought it could be something new. Finally, after a day at work of wincing every time I got up from my chair, I took advice from my coworkers and boss and tracked down an orthopedic. In all honesty, I thought it was just a muscle thing. So when the doctor immediately ordered x-rays and an MRI, I started to get nervous. I was under that MRI machine, completely freaked out, alone, and had no idea what was going on. It’s scary! (Plus, I am not a girl who enjoys sitting still for 45 minutes- so this was quite a challenging request that was made of me.)
I went back to work that day and was fine again until I got a phone call from the doctor’s office. The MRI test results were back. Thankfully, it wasn’t a fracture, but a stress reaction. You know what that is? I didn’t either. Basically, it’s an inflammation of the bone- what usually happens right before a fracture. They commonly happen in the foot, but apparently mine was really bad in the upper part of my femur- way up there by the hip. My doctor said there could have been quite a few contributing factors, but the big one was very likely to be the repetitive motion from the treadmill day after day (yeah, my outside running was lacking). His recommendation? Get off the leg. And crutches. Crutches? What? I’ve never used them- and seriously thought I may be more of a harm to myself on crutches than without. Devastation started to set in…
But I did it. I was on crutches for a few weeks and off of running for eight weeks before he allowed me to slowly start getting into running again (and when I say slowly, my first day back consisted of a whole quarter mile). I got through it- as long as it seemed. And here are a few things I want to share with you from how I dealt with it and what I learned:
1. If you feel pain- stop what you’re doing. It’s really simple- but us runners are crazy dedicated to our sport, so we don’t always do it. I spent two weeks thinking I could just run through the pain. And an hour or two afterwards (every time), it hurt to walk. You’re not invincible- you’re human. Get off that leg and rest. If I had seeked help sooner, I may have not aggravated it to the point I did and been able to get back to normal sooner. My bad…
2. Allow yourself a pity party. But a short one. I believe it’s good for sanity reasons. It’s upsetting to hear that your lifestyle as you know it has to completely change. And I’m not a girl who cries often. Or at all, really. But this got me. I cried for a half hour in the break room at work. I cried on the phone with my mom. I cried on the phone with my friends. I got it all out. After all that (and a bottle of my fav vino- but that’s another story) I was finally ready to deal with it. Everyone’s different, but I think if that didn’t happen, I would have been crabby and upset much longer than necessary (possibly the entire eight weeks). So get it out- you’re upset and it’s not healthy to bottle it in.
3. You will learn your own strength. I live in an apartment by myself on the third floor- with no stairs. The stairs were my enemy. And a challenge. And after a few days, I was kicking their ass. Instead of whining every time I had to go up or down them, I looked at it as my workout for the day (which anyone on crutches will tell you- it really is!). I learned how to get things done around the house- crutching my way around with a smile. It does get easier- I promise!
4. Don’t be afraid to lean on your friends. Luckily, I have found a great support system since I’ve moved to my new home. I’m a girl with a lot of pride, but learned that sometimes I just have to ask for help from others. And friends are happy to help. I only took advantage of it once- but that was because it was a guy I liked and I found a few different reasons for him to come over to lend a hand (can you blame me?). But inevitably, you’d know that if the situation was reversed, you’d be right there to help a friend who needed you, too. That’s what friends are for- so don’t be afraid to ask.
5. The weight may change. I struggle with body image like many do. And my dear friend braced me for this. She was concerned and blunty said, "Amy, you may gain weight- but remember, as soon as you’re up and moving again, it’ll go away just as quickly as it came." Be prepared. Be ok with it. Just like the injury, it’s only temporary.
6. Along with the weight issue, know the diet changes. I was not prepared for that. As soon as my body realized the activity level was down, it adjusted. All the sudden, I wasn’t hungry at all. I lost a few pounds. But I still wanted to eat. So I gained a few pounds. My weight swung 5 pounds on a weekly basis (along with my energy level). Clearly, intuitive eating is not my strong point. It’s a slow learning process, but it can help you through it as long as you try to listen to what your body is saying. Don’t eat like you’re still training for that next race. Don’t starve yourself. Just listen!
Like I said, when I started running again, it was a slow climb to get back to where I was. I’m still working on bringing back my old pace time. But I know it’ll get there.
Ironically, I write this as I’m down and out once again. After a recent 8k, I felt that feeling of "something’s not right and it kinda hurts" in my leg again. So, being smarter this time around, I’m off of it again as much as possible until it’s safe for me to run pain-free. Hopefully, because I know a little better this time, it won’t be long until I’m pounding out the miles on the pavement once again!
For all of you with injuries, I wish you the best of luck in recovery and want to tell you good luck and keep optimistic! 🙂