Her secret is patience
It’s been one week since my first half marathon and I am in a very different place today than I was a week ago. Last Sunday I was on an emotional and physical high after completing the Women’s Half Marathon in Bloomington. I was feeling strong and fit, and planning future races. My body didn’t ache like I expected. While there was some minor muscle fatigue, I felt great and was back race walking and strength training three days post marathon…and grinning from ear to ear.
Today, I am on the couch with those same strong legs that carried me in the marathon now elevated above my heart post varicose vein surgery. My first surgery (right leg) was five weeks before the half marathon and it went well. The healing process was quite easy and fast. You can read my blog about it here.
However, this time there were unexpected complications, and three and four days later I am still nursing some “bleeders” that are preventing me from much movement. The pain I can handle and have medication to help. But not being able to move or stop the bleeding is disconcerting. To top it off, it’s Labor Day weekend – the last fling of summer – and all of my friends are out playing. My mom who was here for the surgery on Friday went home Saturday as we thought everything was okay. But I’ve had a couple of rough days and nights since.
Admittedly, I am feeling crabby, impatient and a bit sorry for myself. Feelings that are foreign to me since my personal transformation. I have been in such a happy place for the past 1.5 years that I am not sure what to do with these “old, all-to-familiar” emotions. The newly transformed me refuses to be a “Debbie Downer.” My glass runneth over and I intend to keep it that way.
So I write to process the feelings, validate them and sort out what’s really going on. If you are reading this blog, I thank you for your patience with my external processing. Perhaps you will find a nugget of familiarity in my story that you can relate in your own life. That’s my hope.
As I type with one hand while applying pressure to my leg where one of the incisions is bleeding, it occurs to me I am not comfortable or patient with being sick. I don’t like being down and out for any length of time – who does, right? The truth is, part of me is fearful about what it means that this bleeding won’t stop. Part of me is worried about the risk of infection with open wounds (if you knew me in 2008 when I had a bought with cellulitis you will understand that fear). Part of me just prefers to be active…to do and go…because I can. And, part of me has trouble asking for and accepting help from others. Then there is the single thing. I will admit that it is times like this that I wish I had a significant other to take care of me. (However, when I mention this to my married girlfriends they assure me there is no guarantee that would be the case. lol)
Add to that, I am impatient with the healing process. There is so much I want to see and do and I am so energized by my new fit and strong body that I don’t want to waste time lying around. There are lakes to walk, trails to hike, mountains to climb, and more 10K and half marathons in my future. I have fallen in LOVE with the “high” that comes from pushing my body (and my mind) past that which I think I cannot do or would be difficult to do…and conquering it. My friend Sean would say this is the dopamine release in my brain and he might argue that I am now addicted to exercise. (He may be right.) Regardless, it is the new me and I am loving it. I am loving life.
I have always been a doer. I have a passion and zest for life that is part of who I am, but sans 200 pounds it has manifested itself in a an incredibly strong desire to get out and be active. Perhaps I am making up for all of the things I didn’t do at 350+ pounds. Ride the roller coaster, participate in fitness races, travel overseas, ride horseback…the list goes on. I also love honoring who I am and how I got here and helping others in the process. There are so many people who battle obesity who have lost hope and think they can’t be fit, healthy and happy. My mission is to show them it is possible and it’s worth it. They are worth it. If I can be a beacon of hope for others, I am all about that. And there is no time to waste. Life is big and full and fun. No time to be sick or laid up. Definitely no time to feel sorry for myself.
Living wholeheartedly and having fun…
This past summer, I have lived big. In just four months I: Celebrated my transformation at an awesome party with close family and friends at my favorite resort Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior; self-published a book about my transformation journey; took a week-long personal retreat in Maine and conquered some big mountains in Acadia National Park; hosted my nephew Jacob for a week-long rock climbing camp and play in Saint Paul including Como Lake, Como Zoo, Comotown Park, Como Pool, Grand Avenue, and the State Fair. I have also trained for and completed a 10K wilderness run/walk and a half marathon. My pay it forward work has started in earnest with a few speaking gigs and I’ve started a support group for those in mid-transformation. Oh, yes, and I got a makeover from Minnesota Monthly Magazine, was named the client of the month at Balance for Life Fitness Center and am the September cover girl in Duluth Superior Magazine.
Fall – my favorite time of year – will bring trips to Boston, MA and Cape Cod; the Unplugged Concert in Grand Marais; a trip to Phoenix, Arizona for Thanksgiving; and a week in Seattle for Christmas. I also plan to squeeze in another 10K on the very legs that are causing me some pain and angst right now post surgery. Finally, planning is in the works for some awesome travel next year: My first trip to Hawaii next spring; San Diego with my nephew to see the dolphins; and if all goes as planned my first trip overseas to Italy or Ireland.
…while caring for my body
All that fun not withstanding, it looks like a third surgery on my legs will be required. And I expect to begin exploration of skin removal surgery early next year to see what I am up against. I do ALL of this — the fun stuff and the healthy stuff — with Lori squarely in the center of the equation and with a new energy, passion, and love for life that is indescribable…until you have experienced it first hand. “Life is good,” as the t-shirt says. Really good. For me, I think the saying goes: “Transformation is good. Life is great!”
So, the bottom line is this. If for today and a few more days, I must honor my body’s desire to have a time out to fully heal then I will absolutely do that. I will dig deep to find the patience to trust the healing process and resist the urge to get up and “do” too soon. I will listen to what my body needs, paying particular attention to the physical and emotional healing. And if I need to call the nurse, ask for help from friends, or even go back into the clinic for an early re-check, I will do it.
Why? Because, my body is the vessel that allows me to do and be all those things I listed above. And, I now have a new-found respect for this very body that has caused me so much angst over most of my adult life at 350+ pounds. It now carries me across the finish line, hurls me up boulders to the top of mountains, is active and flexible when I play with my nephew, ride the roller coaster, and it allows me to be a beacon of hope for others.
So to honor this God-given gift of a strong and fit body sans 200 pounds, I will practice patience and respect the healing process. I will embrace that sometimes slow is better. Sometimes a time out is needed.
Yes, I am strong and healthy and fit. But today, I am healing. There is plenty of time for 10K’s, half marathons, and mountain climbing. Today is about rest and recovery…and there is strength in honoring that.
Thank you for allowing me to process this out loud. I wish you the time, space and nurturing you need in your life…whether it be physical, emotional or both.