I would be lying if I said the last year has not been hard for me. It truly has, both personally and professionally. The afternoon of May 18, 2012 really did change my world forever. The fall I took in Vegas cost me financially in that I had to cancel and refund so many of the events we had on the schedule. It cost me personally in that some people just didn’t get it that I was seriously hurt and could not travel or fly or fulfill my duties as needed and they got upset with me. It cost me physically- now I have two broken bones in my back that slip and slide and cause severe pain 24/7. As I sit here typing, I really cannot remember what it feels like to be pain-free. Sitting for more than 5 minutes, riding in a car, standing in one place, and laying down are all torture. Walking feels good, up to a point. It has been crazy for sure.
I’ve been mad and I’ve been sad and I’ve been determined. When the doctor told me I may never run again, I was just devastated. So many of those close to me, aside from Ben and the kids, just did not get the impact of that statement. Running is not just a hobby or a newly found pleasure. For me, running is a symbol. It was as if the new Erin were running away from the old unhealthy obese Erin with every step and it was like I was closer to optimal health and farther away from illness and sickness with each mile. In some way running was my therapy.
There was a freedom to me in running. Finishing my first half-marathon ranks up there with having my kids and getting married among BIG life events. Crossing that line was a feeling I just cannot explain. So yes, being told I may never run again was a huge deal.
Not being able to run a single step was very hard for me and I can tell you I whined a good way through it from both pain and frustration, but I did it and finished. I was so afraid of getting swept for not keeping pace, but only by the grace of God did I manage to get through and although he could have run far ahead of me, Ben stayed by my side the entire time and we crossed the finish holding hands as always.
Now I am in a place where spinal fusion is in my very near future. May 20th is the big day. I am very hopeful that if all goes well, I will see an end to pain and possibly be able to run again one day. I have been sitting here preparing for surgery and being so upset at my circumstances. I get cranky and annoyed so much easier these days because of the pain.
Last weekend we went for a 2.2 mile walk and I was hurting worse afterwards than I did after the half in November. Then my surgeon tells me NO MORE CARDIO until after surgery. Well THAT was stinky news. Needless to say I did a good bit of pouting this weekend. HOW am I as a personal trainer and leader of this running group for Disney supposed to go at least 3-4 months with no cardio? HOW would this affect my clients and their progress? I was livid and crabby and complaining like a petulant child.
I am quite sure I drove Ben crazy last weekend with my griping.
Then comes Monday, April 15th. That has always been a wonderful day for me. Not because it is tax day, but because it is the day my first son was born in 1992. When my oldest daughter texted me to ask if I had the news on and did I know about what had just happened in Boston, I was stunned as I turned the news on. I knew several people running in that race and was so concerned that a terrible accident had just taken place.
Then the real picture began to unfold. I was one of those watching the raw footage that had not been edited yet that contained images of people in wheelchairs with legs blown off being taken to ambulances. Horror and shock do not even begin to describe what I felt. After finding out that my friends were okay, I started to feel violated. Runners and the running community is like a big extended family. Someone had violated my family. Then I felt violated as an American. I felt violated as a human being. Who could do such a thing? WHY? What causes a person to kill others for ANY reason?
My anger and hurt have since turned to something very different. I woke up Tuesday with a new appreciation for my life and circumstances.
Sure my back is broken, but I have 2 legs.
No, I cannot run, but I can walk.
Yes I am in pain daily, but I am alive and breathing.
I also have a new motivation and desire and resolve to fully heal from my fusion and participate with my group in the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.
My reality is that there is likely no way I will be able to run even a 5k by January, but I will at least walk either the 10k or half. I am determined to make this the best fundraiser ever for the Fit and Flourishing Foundation and to take EVERY step in honor of all who lost life and limb this week in Boston.
I am still angry, but not about my silly broken back. Yes, in the grand scheme of life, it does seem rather small at this point and silly. I am angry about the innocent people who lost their lives enjoying something so wonderful and good and healthy.
I cannot do much, or bring back people’s lives or limbs, but I CAN be thankful for what I have and walk my next race in their honor and this is what I will do with Team Bariatric Guru in Disney. This quote taken from the page of a fellow runner on Facebook says it all for me.
I hope many of you will join us!