Tag Archives: injury

The Heal Thy Steff Plan: The Victoria Model v2.0

I try to learn life lessons where I can, but I’m not sure what to glean from spending $95 on a massage, then sleeping on my arm wrong.

Sometimes, maybe there isn’t a lesson. Sometimes, maybe life’s just stupid.

Ignoring the “Oops, I did it again” sleep and all, the massage was awesome. I’m still in a frustrated headspace, though. This weekend, some game-planning’s goin’ down.

See, like the ever-smart pragmatist I try to be, I realized the year-end was upon us and I’ve begun trying to make all my leftover medical benefits vanish by way of use, rather than time running out on me.

I took this shot near my home yesterday. Had a 4km pre-breakfast sunrise walk. Beats the shit out of walking to a bus stop on a busy thoroughfare, like I’d be doing back in the city in the morning.

Hello, beefy masseur. Howdy, Mr. Chiro. Bonjour, acupuncturist. Allo, physiotherapist. Holy fuck, look at that crowded calendar.

Thus begins the 10-week intensive Heal Thy Steff regimen. Oh, and I’m signing up for yoga at the end of the month, and I’ve just joined the gym. I’ll continue with my avid walking/cycling life as well, with my last bus ride having been in July.

It’s about to become a very anti-social, very focused, and very broke end-of-year for me, but with, I hope, fantastic results. I’m imagining myself starting 2013 in the best mind/body place I’ve been in for a few years. But I’m under no illusions that this will be an easy time of life management or physicality. Time to get my game on.

Last year, when I did something similar, I spent my funds completely differently — on experimental stuff on the other side of town, after which I’d get home tired, often soaked, and frustrated. This time, I’m doing more traditional treatments I know have worked for me before, and I don’t need to spend 70 hours a month on the bus to make it happen. Instead, everything’s within 2.5 kilometres of me.

I’m switching chiropractors, which is the one big risk. The guy I’m with has worked with many Olympians and is incredible, but he also causes a lot of pain. I’m in constant inflammation, and I’m just wondering if someone else who uses the same techniques can be a little more forgiving with my body. The worst thing is, his time management sucks. Out of about 15 appointments, only 3 times have I gotten in with less than 15 minutes’ waiting, and at least 5 times I have waited 45 minutes. I know I’m not some big fancy rich person or anything, but my time’s valuable to me, too.

And given I’m cycling 30 minutes/9km each way to his appointment, that’s adding up to about 2 hours of my time, not to mention the half-hour I have to stretch after all the cycling’s done, or that I usually justify this time/effort spent as a reason to order bad food on my way home. Add to that the money I’ve spent on the session, and suddenly it’s a black hole of time and expense, and usually ends up making me bitchy.

So, Olympians or no, I’m moving on to someone closer, whose bio sounds like he has a similar life/wellness perspective as what I’m hoping to attain.

Any way you slice it, this plan I have in mind will take tremendous discipline, a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of patience. It’s a huge commitment, and one I’ve not been ready to make before now. In 3 weeks, I’ll be meeting with a prominent physiotherapist who’s got an amazing background, and I will be getting a program started with him.

It also means I put writing on the back burner once again.

My recent birthday, and getting my new driver’s license, has opened this realization that I’ve been on this five-year journey through a lot of levels of pain, and I’m fucking tired, man. It needs to end. If it means I throw EVERYTHING at this, for one amazing 10-week period, and see where it gets me, then so be it.

Five years ago, I got my driver’s license photo back and this massively fat face was peering back at me. I’d just quit a job that had sent me spiralling towards depression because my employer was a toxic, negative hag who had high turnover with good reason, and went back to a job I’d always enjoyed (and am still at). I chose to do something about that depression by way of exercise and eating better, and adopted a lot of good habits, worked crazy hard, and lost 85 pounds in the next year (but gained 10 back immediately, and maintained a 75-lb loss for the next 2+ years) before blowing my back 4 years ago this month.

The last four years have been a repetitive story of rehab and fall-backs, including me regaining weight (it was 25 lbs when I left Vancouver, spiked to 35lbs after, and now is at 28lbs regained, so…).

All this culminated in this year’s decision that the city was killing me and I needed a slower pace of life that would be kinder to my body.

So, I sit here now, typing in my pajamas before a day of working from home, which is some 7 or so blocks from one of North America’s best urban ocean stretches, where I find my soul and refill it often.

I have come a long, long ways in the last seven months since my move.

It’s why I’m ready to make the commitment now, despite the fact that the fat, long-injured girl deep inside me is scared as hell about what it’s gonna feel like to go hard and face all the things that emotionally come with rehabbing your body after injury.

I suspect I’ll get bored of being in all the same neighbourhoods by the end of this year, since I’ll be in a 3-5km radius for much of the winter months, until Victoria is bike-friendly and pretty and warm for cycling again, but at least I’m close enough to never have an excuse to not cycle to appointments, since it would amusingly take about 3 times as long to bus as it would to cycle.

I’m scared and excited, but either way, time to go to the next level of Steff v2.0: The Victoria Model.

Let’s do this.

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Getting it Wrong Means Knowing How to Get it Right

The older I get, the more I see the adage of “darkest before dawn” being a truism.

A certain Zen-master sensibility takes over as I age whenever the fit really hits the shan.

Oh, wow. A gnarly wave of suckage cresting on the right. Head down, hang on, and pray, woman.”

When I had that almost-a-major-setback with my back the other day, I went to some pretty fucking dark places. It’s been one hell of a rollercoaster week for me, and I’m done, man.

Done on a few levels, that is. I think I’ve hit a major turning point with my back. The almost-major-setback, it turns out, was that I had been doing a very important stretch wrong. Ever so slightly wrong, too.

There was a miscommunication in having the stretch explained/digested, and as a result I was extending backwards instead of forwards, causing a minor  compressing of the spine — but after a week or so of the compression, kaboom. Yowch. Something slipped as I started to pedal my bike and I went to That Dark Place.

And this stretch, the difference in placement of my tailbone is all of, say, 1 horizontal inch. It’s really not a lot, but that angle changes shoulder-level by about 30-degrees, just enough to fuck a girl up.

For me, this incident is a reminder on a number of levels.

  • Close often isn’t good enough. Which is, you know, not good enough.
  • When you’re doing yourself harm, it’s not always apparent until it’s too late.
  • Know the result you want, and how to recognise it.
  • Attention to detail is time well spent.
  • Attempt to undo damage all you like, but if you ain’t gettin’ it right, then you’re makin’ it wronger.*
  • Solutions tend to reverse tides in a hurry. Step 1. Act. Step 2. Worry only if it motivates you to do Step 1.
  • I am a tough bitch.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t working for wellness. I was. Daily rehab and stretching.

I was just doing it wrong. One small part of it. No good deed goes unpunished, as the cynical old bastards always say.

And this too shall pass, say others. With stretching apparently down, it seems like the mix is right and it will settle.

Life comes with interruptions and setbacks. If we can’t take them for what they are, an opportunity to adjust our thinking and try another tack, then we’re destined for a pretty bumpy journey.

What solves other lives ain’t gonna solve mine. It’s not a one-size-fits-all dealio, so there’s a lot of bump-in-the-night that we each need to do to get there.

I’m coming up on three years with this back injury, and it’s the first time I’ve ever nailed this particular stretch that releases this particular combination of muscles. That other old truism, never too late to change, appears to be indicative of my rehabilitation, too.

Believe? Why not. Sure, I believe.**

It’s fitting there’s sunshine today. I could use a little basking in the light.

*If you’re a grammar dork who wants to point out that “wronger” isn’t a word, well, duh. Go back to satire school.
**By the way, not for nothin’, hockey fans, but I hope Vancouver’s Canucks can learn a little of what I’ve learned this week, that a lack of success doesn’t mean failure, it means it’s time to adjust strategy. Getting outcoached is a shitty way to lose a series.
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Occam’s Razor

Denis Leary was on Letterman the other night and was joking that he’d gone through five marriage counsellors that “sucked” before he found the sixth, who was awesome, but then he said that once he accepted he was wrong, everything went gr-r-r-reat with counselling.

I had to laugh.

I’ve been having the same epiphany of late.

For five straight days now, my back has improved every day. This doesn’t sound like much to you, but to me, this is life-altering. I have not had *two* days in EIGHT MONTHS where my back has improved each day, let alone five straight days. I’ve had a couple days where my back’s “felt good” here and there, but feeling good and improving are distinctly different experiences.

What changed? Continue reading

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The Desire to be Spent

It’s before 7 on a Saturday morning. The naive plan was, I’d get up and go swimming. I’m up. My body tells me I’m a fucking fool. Sleep, it says.

So, I’m going to. I’ll go back to bed in a few. And I’m all right with that.

The reality is, though, that I’m starting to realize between last night and today, just how much this not-working-out thing is killing and deadening my soul.

It’s worse than not getting laid. Far, far worse. Continue reading

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