Tag Archives: rehab

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The Zen of Landing Badly

I recently had a reminder that asphalt ain’t good eatin’.

I can’t play the victim card here. I fucked up. All my fault, 100% dumb-ass coming your way. I knew I was cutting it close between an intersection curb and a truck waiting for the light, and foolishly tried to ride through anyhow. Handlebar whacks mirror, down goes me. Mashed my face, my knee, my thigh, my hands, everything. I was so bruise-spotted, I looked like a human-leopard hybrid.

Oddly, it’s the third time I’ve been injured since late May. First time, I literally fell off a bar stool at the pizza joint, flat onto tile floor. Incredible fluke – Not only did I not hurt my back or head, I didn’t really get hurt at all. A couple days’ stiffness, and I was basically fine.

At the time, I was thick in the mire of a three-month contract that upended my life balance far more than I’d intended, so I wasn’t getting out much. I was counting days, like a schoolkid, until July 1, when the contract would be gone. Summer! Whee! I planned to blow off writing until the fall.

I shit you not, June 30th, 11:50pm, hours to go before my “So, our contract is up” email is to be sent, I’d been watching TV from the floor, went to stand, and heard CLICK as my knee popped out of joint, my tibia grossly cranked to the left. Horrified, I hopped to the kitchen on one leg, got an ice bag, and for no reason, the tibia popped back into place. Boom. Back like bacon, baby.

That boo-boo, unfortunately, did inconvenience me. I couldn’t walk much until the end of July, and most of the month’s summery fun eluded me.

Life removed the distraction of summer because I just couldn’t get out. I channeled that inconvenience into finishing my cookbook. Finally done  (it’s really good! buy it and support me), I once again felt like a kid getting outta school for summer. I was excited to cycle, be leisurely. I’d rode my bike daily that week. Bliss, whizzing through August air, sun beating down.

Five days into “summer break,” I whacked the truck mirror. Now I’ve been home licking my mental wounds for much of the last nine days. Once again: “I could’ve been hurt so much worse.”

It seems fortune has a twisted sense of humour in the dog days of summer.

Look ma, asphalt for eatin'.

Look ma, asphalt for eatin’.

School of Hard Knocks

Shit happens. Ask me my top ten life mottos, that one makes the list. Shit happens, it is what it is, que sera sera. Cliches to live by, my friends.

I’ve ridden the rides in this injury-filled park one time too many and I don’t need to be uninvited from the party anymore. When it’s time to go, I’ll grab my coat and be gone.

This is one of those times. Injured three times in three months? Yeah, okay, universe, you got my attention. What’s the lesson?

That’s rhetorical, people. I already think I know.

Writing well is a gift. It’s a privilege. It’s also a craft. It requires great sacrifice and dedication to accomplish matters of note. It’s not some flip of the switch. Like sailing a long ocean voyage, when finding one’s sea legs can take some time, getting a good writing flow takes a while of testing the waters.

Where the craft part comes in is where the sacrifice plays out too — daily duty, workworkwork.

Opting Out

I know writing is a choice. You see a keyboard, you sit, you pound it out. It’s like the old Hollywood movie trailers — “One man, alone in a foreboding wilderness… where only he can decide–”

The struggle that constantly assaults me is guilt. I feel like a failure if I’m not doing the outdoorsy-n-awesome things the locals here pride themselves on doing. Oh, look, someone else climbed a mountain and parasailed before landing on the moon for a local, organic picnic with cheese they hand-pulled at dawn. Thanks for the shame, Instagram.

I wish I could write in other places, but I’m a creature of habit and I like to be at my desk. I like the noise my keyboard makes, the rattle the keyboard tray emits under my staccato-fire key-whacking, the distance of the screen from my eyes, how I squint when I’m lost in thought and the creamy walls blur before me, while I listen to the white-noise whoosh of cars under my window, always noting the sea breeze blowing in and stiffening my knuckles. It’s my thing. This is where I do it.

So as summer days pass and nights get longer, cooler, and darker, my Catholic upbringing leaves me pounding the keys in shame and guilt at my desk, as others pass my window in their shorts and sunglasses, oozing optimism for a fun day ahead or the fatigue of a great day behind them.

And there I sit staring as they pass me by, me in my passive glory, ever the observer.

Of People and Places

But that’s writing. It’s not a party favour. It’s not a group activity. It’s a dark and dingy thing done alone.

There are different kinds of writers. Ones who write on events and places, happenings and zeitgeists. They need to be in the thick of it to serve it back to the masses. Then there are the those who slip away into otherworldly mental caverns. No safe place for others.

I’m the latter. My introversion can be extreme. A party of one works all too well for me. Three months on an Irish coast with a broken phone, only sheep dotting the horizon, and wine to keep me warm while winter winds howl and the skies cry, that would be a vacation for me. I might commit a serious crime if it meant time in isolation like that.

Paradox of paradoxes, for convenience and more time alone, I find myself living on the edge of the busiest part of my town. The most crowded, superficial, hyped, over-marketed part of my city. Rare does even a moment pass when people aren’t walking past my writing window. Isolation? Beyond my four walls, I think not.

Unlistening to the Machine

Part of me is very much of the “So? This is who you are. Just own it. Who cares?” mentality about self-imposed isolation. But I also think the world is beautiful, nature is powerful, and if I could have more of it with less of the humans in it, that wouldn’t be so bad. Humans aren’t so bad in small doses, either.

But society tells me Summer is fun! Go do summer! There’s only so much summer, so go out and play, kids! Whatchoo sitting inside for?! Don’t you know only losers don’t play outside? Come on, kids! GET HAPPY — it’s right there, outside your house!

It’s something I only want in 90-minute spurts. It’s not a lifestyle I seek. I don’t need to be on the Tilt-a-Whirl of the big-city life. Getting happy isn’t gonna accomplish my dreams. It ain’t gonna write my books. It’s not gonna pay my bills.

People who don’t understand introversion think people like me opting out is “sad” or “lonely,” but we think it’s sad and lonely that they can’t enjoy being alone in the same way we can. As Oscar Wilde wrote, loving oneself is a life-long romance. Even if there’s no one around to see it.

Among my favourite places to go alone: The sea.

Among my favourite places to go alone: The sea.

Do or Do Not, There is No Try

The trouble with writing a book, for any author, is it means sacrificing time you can spend earning other income today on the dream that it will earn income for you well into the future. This is where the stereotype of the broke-ass writer comes in. I have to cut back on my earnings AND my spending to be the writer I want to be. That’s sacrificing on every level.

That’s the risk we take when seeking the elusive dream of passive income and royalties. Passive income, that’s money you don’t have to run ragged on the hamster wheel to bring in. That wheel spins on its own, in theory.

The best way to grow that passive income isn’t to keep talking about the one book, it’s to continue writing others so you’re attracting new audiences.

For me, that time is now. I have to write more, produce more, and promote myself at the same time. All of it must be done at the expense of everything else in my life. Less time for leisure, less time to earn “real” money on the side of my primary job, less time to exercise, to cook — everything.

The longer I wait, the more interruption it causes in flow on all sides, the less then that momentum can carry me.

It’s a matter of discipline now. And my summer, as little or as much may remain, is a distraction from that discipline.

Dinner is Served

Which brings us back to the asphalt.

That day, I’d been meaning to cycle to the Gorge and sit under a big leafy tree as I considered my choices. Do I take more time to enjoy summer, or do I finally concede this summer’s a bust and writing must be my focus while the motivation burns?

For good or ill, I needed no leafy tree for the pondering. Life threw me to the curb and said “Eat this.”

I’ve never felt more strongly that I was getting told what was what. Writing, life said, was what my days had to be about for now. It was safer, for one. No moving parts, except on the chair.

If I barrel through this year as a writing tour de force and accomplish all the goals I’ve got bopping inside my head, I’ll have no regrets for the choices I made this week.

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Road Warrior

Sometimes when life knocks sense into you, it can be very literal about it all. It gets literal with this girl.

It took three injuries in a little over three months, but the Zen of landing badly has taught me a thing or two about a thing or two.

Sacrifice, choice-making, focus — all these themes played on a crackling, staticky loop in my head for days. Here’s hoping they echo loudly in the wintery, writerly months to come, ‘cos I know what road’s ahead of me — asphalt, curbs, potholes, and all.

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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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Riding the Wave: Back at It

It’s been a day filled with plumbing excitement. I returned home last evening to find some other tenant’s mystery filth backed up in my bathroom sink.

18 hours later, it’s as good as new, and was even cleaned by the handyman. A year ago, I’d be waiting for a couple days or more, since, hey, bathroom sinks aren’t as important as kitchen sinks, and they didn’t rate the same service by my slack-ass jerk of a former landlord.

In little things like how my building is maintained, my life has changed from night to day in a year.

Sure, I need little things yet… like, you know, friends. But I know me and I’ll get ‘em. And I’ll get ‘em when I’m feeling better about myself than I have been before now, and I’ll net better quality people, because that’s what happens when you’re in a better place in both your life and your mind. It’s always about quality for me.

Who I am *right now* is much, much closer to the person I’ve been trying to get back to for quite some time.

My health’s improving on every level. I think know I bottomed out with the move here, but that was after what had been the most difficult year of my life. So, naturally, one has a little nuclear fall-out dealio with that.

But if this is how much everything has improved since July 1, then I can’t wait to see what’s ahead.

September 1st is my six-month anniversary of becoming a Victorian in this fine town, and the first four months were rife with a great deal of pain and injuries. I had a whole lot of painkillers for three-plus months there, people. Now I take maybe a pill a week. That’s, you know, improvement — or great restraint! But, no, it’s improvement. I just don’t need it because I’m just “regular sore” now and I’m woman enough to handle it.

I’ve gone from, in the third week of April, barely getting through a 5km bike ride without back twinges to being able to cycle 35km/130 minutes in an evening and just being ass-draggin’ wasted-tired, not crippled.

I’m trying to be active daily, usually walking 5 kilometres or cycling 10 kilometres, or more, a combination of both, every day. I’m using my balance ball chair for watching TV most days (but took the back off, because that’s just counterintuitive!) for an hour or more, I’ve phased in some weightlifting.

Now I’ve discovered I’ve healed my badly injured-and-then-reinjured-in-a-biking-accident shoulder on my own mostly, and I’ve gone from being unable to do a side plank AT ALL in the last three years to being able to do one for more than 30 seconds yesterday.

I’m only now returning to the level I was at in late 2009 in what I am able to do, but I’ve gained weight.

Now I’m past the “painful incapable stage” where I couldn’t DO anything, but I’m in the Oh-Fuck-I-Hurt stiff-ass sore-everywhere phase one gets into after they’ve started firing on all exercise gears. At least I’ve worked up to this stage slowly, so it’s only the first day or two of trying something new where it hurts. Today is residual pain from rediscovering planks and push-ups, but it’s not “something’s wrong” pain or over-inflamed, so I know it’s all good.

Shortly, I expect to actually enjoy working out without being apprehensive about what The Day After will bring, and I see myself being pumped about lifting weights and doing plyometrics.

Diet? I’m conjuring a plan to increase my meat and vegetables, and cut out carbs but I’m not too optimistic there yet, and I think this is the week I get serious. No more chocolate and other treats, no more fucking around with monster portions.

There gets to be a point where you’re working too hard to keep blowing out your diet. Like that time I cycled 35 kilometres from out of town to home, for more than two hours of cardio, then ate a whole commercial small pizza with a bottle of wine? Yeah. Talk about oxymoronic. But it was delicious and well-earned. Just… you know. Didn’t change anything, and I coulda.

I know people panic about getting everything right all at once, and I know it’s awesome result-wise when you do, but I’m just not that person. I can’t make radical changes all at once.

The moving-to-a-new-city thing was radical enough for one season. Yet, I’ll be phasing in new changes weekly. Little things here and there. Like, I’m considering going cold turkey on butter/margarine for a month. If I do it now, I can have it back for my birthday… Ooh.

So this is where I’m at, people. I’m working a lot. Exercising a lot. Changing my mind and body, if not yet the diet. Sort of figuring out where the hell I’m headed, but liking the view as I go.

It’s pretty much a deeply personal time as I kind of clue into a lot of things. But it’s a good time. Now and then, I’ll share some with you.

Hope you’re doing well too.

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Holy World of Hurt, Batman! Round Deux Begins.

I am NOT keen about this.

Let’s say THAT right now.

Shortly: Round two of IMS. That’s intramuscular stimulation. Which is, you know, a fancy way of saying STICKING NEEDLES INTO THE SUCKIEST PART OF YOUR SUCKIEST MUSCLES and wriggling it around until a contraction is forced. BOOM, muscle tension be gone.

Know that saying “No pain, no gain”? They were talking about shit like this.

So, surprisingly, there’s no alcohol or mojo-picker-upper in this coffee of mine. I have no portable brass balls I can adopt for this. I am quivering nervously before I go in. Truth be told, it’s my “girl time” and we get a whole lot more sensitive to pain when we’re in this phase, so I’m afraid I’m gonna kick the woman when she’s pricking me.

Last week I shouted “HOLY FUCKING SUCKY, BATMAN.” No, really. I did. Apparently that was the first time a patient ever had that reaction.

But, fuck, man, the thought that I’m walking in there and paying to be stuck like a pig, well, that just baffles the mind.

AND YET.

AND YET I’m going in.

Why? Because there’s been so much improvement since my first visit. Because I know things don’t come easily when chronic pain has been the status quo for months, months, and even years on end. Because I know the only way to the end of pain is to go THROUGH the pain.

And because I know I’m gonna have wine, pizza, and sleep a lot after it.

I decided to quickly write this post because I know a lot of people who’ve had injuries and then they choose to piss and moan about those injuries without ever doing anything about them.

It’s why I got so depressed for a while there — because I WAS doing what had to be done, and yet it was fucking up every time. This time, I’m not on the bike that is reportedly so much a part of my sustained injury, and the progress is great because I’m doing what needs to be done — the hard exercises, as well as the therapeutic practices, and I’ve figured out what to STOP doing, too.

If you’re living with constant pain/injuries and you’ve never seen proper physiotherapists to get proper treatment, and you don’t put in the 4–7 hours of exercise a week it tends to need for recovery (minimum), then you gotta ask yourself if you’re doing what needs to be done.

IMS is gonna end the stupid muscle memory that’s been putting so much strain on my spine and fucking up my nerves. It’s gonna break all that Stupid up, and things will improve. It’s literally breaking me down so I can build myself into something new, better, stronger, faster.

Since last Saturday, all nervous-strain tingling in my feet and hands has stopped. This is a good development.

Still, it’s okay to REALLY FUCKING HATE GOING IN, so long as I’m also reminding myself that, by about 6 tonight I’ll feel great, and I’ll probably sleep 10–12 hours tonight too. And I’ll have a yet another week with much less pain than I’ve been living with for 8 months.

That’s rehab for you. Suffer, then improve.

It’s been a pretty rocky road, but this is the first week where I’ve had more good days than bad since about Christmas 2010, and I’ve exercised the whole way through, and the first time in a couple years where I’ve began an intensive new workout schedule where I didn’t have a world of pain that followed.

Rehab from serious injury is never a straight line. It’s not an easy road. It will emotionally kick the shit out of you, it will isolate you from the world, and it will cause you to learn a lot about yourself. It will force you to try new things and learn all about different aspects of health — if you really care about healing.

It will also teach you that career professionals and doctors are as often wrong as they are right, and that no one’s an expert on your body like you are, if you really listen to it.

I’m hoping this is the turning of a corner.

But I’m still going to hate attending this appointment.

AND YET… I’m off. Stick a fork in me, Henry. I’m done.

EDIT NOTE: It’s the afternoon and the session was less painful than last week’s, so I guess the first time’s the worst time, and I’m glad I gave into the fear and expected the worst, since it made me feel like a goof and I’ll be calmer next week. Much less sissified. :P

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Darth Vader’s Right: Anger’s Good For You

I had that “lightbulb” moment a couple of weeks ago that has served as a real catalyst for a change in thinking and being.

A moment of my own stupidity just reminded me how many things happen to us due to a lack of care or attention in life. Big, small, whatever. Often, that lack of attention tends to not be neglect or ignorance, but just that we’re so damned thinly stretched.

I don’t really want to share my “moment” with you, except that it was my getting mad. Really mad. At myself, at the cosmos, at the passing of time.

Whom/what I was pissed off is irrelevant, beyond the simple “thinly stretched” mode of living. Some of it financial, most of it physical related to my complicated 8-month Yo-Yo of back injury struggles, and a lot of it due to the vacuum of time that is modern life.

Much of the sustaining of my back injury came from the reality of my love for cycling keeping me injured, but not in an immediate cycle-and-hurt way, rather in a cumulative way that wouldn’t become obvious for a few weeks. So, every time I was improving, I would suddenly have a dramatic backslide with extensive flare-ups.

We figured that out in August, then I ignored that until the end of September. Then I paid the price.

Now, though, I know. I know why, how, and when it all happened. I get it.

More importantly, at the end of that whole stupid, definitive journey, I got pissed. I had my Peter Finch Moment, from the movie Network, of wanting to open the windows and bellow I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE at the skies, at the world below, raging into the wind.

MAD AS HELL! NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE! RAWR! RAWRRAWR!

That was two weeks ago, when I was still having my ass kicked by a flu. On the 1st of November, I slipped into a new gear. I’ve worked out 7 of the last 9 days, began a new physiotherapy routine, have started to rethink food (though haven’t excelled there yet), and put a new focus on resting and sleeping, so my body can bounce back from the workouts and physical grind I’m throwing at it.

At least now I’m not literally an active part of the problem via bicycling and exacerbating that which I’m trying to heal. At least now I seem to be getting things right and having more good days than bad.

I suspect a few weeks will make a world of difference. I think I’ve found the magic bullet physio that will undo the punishment I dish to my body, IMS, and I know the roles sleep, nutrition, and exercise play.

But it means I won’t see people, I won’t have money to spend, and I won’t have a whole lot of fun… for a little while. The thing is, I’ve been here before. I’ve been this MAD AS HELL. I’ve been this focused. I’ve demanded this of myself in the past — 6 to 10 hours working out a week — and I succeeded like few people do, and for the better part of a year.

Somewhere along the line, I stopped doing things that had made me successful in 2008–2009. The year 2010 was my undoing and I’ve spent much of 2011 paying for it.

I’m not mad at myself for that. It is what it is. Somewhere in this stupid era of back troubles are life lessons I couldn’t buy. My anger is slowly turning from something I’ve been exacting on others into something that I’m using as a catalyst for changing myself, fuel for the fire, as it were.

Anger isn’t a bad thing. It’s what you let it do to/for you that matters. I have a hard time of harnessing it. I’m a pretty passionate person and there have been a lot of times of late my anger has gotten the better of me and turned into a self-pity-sorrow show, when frustration rules me, and much of the last year has had pockets of my Being That.

I had a hard time processing, for a really long time, that I could be the person who was pushing 300 pounds, lost 25% of her body weight, and became UNHEALTHIER, despite doing it all through better eating and exercise. Something about realizing that sort of crushed me. Still does, sometimes.

We get so caught up in the moment sometimes and forget life’s a long, long road, and this time of struggle might wind up representing less than 5% of our entire life, but TODAY it feels like it’s forever. When they talk about “big picture,” that’s what they mean.

If I live to 70, finally get past the worst of this back injury in the next couple months and never revisit Herniated Disc Land again, then these past three years of up-and-down injuries will represent a grand total of 4.2% of my life.

That’s a different perspective, isn’t it? That’s not even a nickel compared to a dollar, you know what I’m saying?

I think the hardest part of injuries, weight loss, all of that, is the mental game. I willingly admit that I was losing that game for the better part of a year. My unemployment last year showed me pretty much every wrong direction I was headed in. It honestly wasn’t until I was working again that I realized what I should’ve been doing when unemployed.

And that’s life for you. We figure out what we should’ve said, should’ve done, long after the ideal moment passes. Rearviewmirror Syndrome. We’ve all been there.

Have I figured everything out? Fuck, no. Am I close to the finish line? Fuck, no. Am I sure I’ve got the solution this time? Fuck, no.

But this time I have my anger to keep me warm and running. In a good way.

Feel the Dark Side, Luke. Then kick its fucking ass.

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A Journally Thing: Of Clean Houses and Sore Backs

So, things are in new places and places are in new things. Whoa. Feeling a little Seuss-y there for a moment.

Mornin’, kids.

I had me a long weekend, and it was good. I’ve had so many weekends of trying to get somewhere new around my home, and it’s never really worked, despite getting the place reasonably organized. Every week, boom, another cleaning disaster unfolds.

Recently, I’d written about cleaning a cupboard with an approach of “from where does the mess begin?” Then I wondered, why can’t I do that with my home?

So, on a complete whim, Saturday, I got up, moved a couple things, and then I had reoriented my whole living room, with greater space for workout and a cleaner path through my place, with less clutter.

I sat down with my wine Saturday night and kept looking around the apartment, all “Oooh.” I still wasn’t done and I made some changes Sunday, but my space feels lighter to me now.

My continuing progression of self is going well this fall.

Massive edit here. I wrote about 5 paragraphs explaining how I was an emotional Ugly Cry Mess for a week last week, partly due to PMS, but mostly, I think, due to a rib being out of place in my back. The same spot is considered by Chinese medicine to be a meridian for our Chi, which is life energy, and the flipside, over the heart area, is considered an acupressure/acupuncture point for happiness. I had the rib fixed by my chiro Friday, right after getting my “more happier button” reset, as my acupuncture doctor says, and I haven’t come close to being emotional or sad since.

It’s funny how the body works.

So, when we’re “out of alignment,” we really are.

It’s been months that I’ve been recuperating from this stupid injury, so I wonder what that does to the headspace.

Well, my mood’s been fucking great since Friday.

I’ve been keeping to myself, doing the things I’ve longed to do, and finally have gotten my space up to speed. I like what I’ve done this weekend. On top of that, I’ve had 8–10 hours a night of sleep for three nights — which is on par with being a religious experience after the restless September I had and the months of sporadic sleep preceding that.

Friday was sort of my hitting-bottom of my back injury. No, the back’s not BAD these days, but it’s not what I’d hoped it’d be. Hell, I thought I’d be over this shit by June, but it’s turning into 2/3rds of a year in a couple weeks. That’s a long time for things to be awry.

The trouble with an injury like the back is not just that it puts you in severe pain for weeks on end — about seven excruciating weeks for me, and three months of low-grade pain after that — but how much it incapacitates you in the long run.

I’ve been running at 50–75% capacity for months now. I have to STOP when I hear things in my body saying “this is too much.” Whether I’m cleaning, out with friends, whatever. When your back says stop, you better fucking listen.

These days, though, it says stop less frequently. By making the choice to spend most weekends at home slowly getting my life back on track, and recuperating as needed, I’ve done exactly what I’d hoped to do.

I’m also starting with a new physiotherapist this week.

People don’t get how much of a financial burden it is to get injured. If you can’t work 100%, and you’re constantly putting out money on care, and you’re occasionally taking the easy route with takeout or delivery because SOMETHING has to give, well, it’s a pretty draining existence financially. I’ve been in that boat immediately after about seven months of unemployment. It’s like that Simply Red song, Money’s Too Tight To Mention. Every back appointment is another $50–100. And you wonder why I have no life.

So, my money goes out on my back, constantly. Literally a few thousand this year. So, finally there’s room for a new physiotherapy routine, which will be wonderful. That starts this Friday. I’m very excited. If it doesn’t work, there’s another I want to try.

It’s that I’m finally able to work a little more that I can do a little more for myself. So, it’s a good thing.

I wish I’d journalled on the pain throughout my injury, though. There were some dark, dark days from March to May this year.

It’s amazing how resilient we can be. Sometimes no one else really knows. But we do. I’m trying to remember now those black fucking days, so I can contrast this casual feeling of liking my living room as my coffee cup hits bottom and buttery sunlight streams through the curtain cracks.

THIS moment, this, right here — this is something I’ve not enjoyed often in the last year… simple contentment within a moment. Not stressed, scared, or panicked. Just… casual.

They call back injuries “invisible” because no one really sees it. They think you’re moody or depressed because there’s a weary look in the eye, bags under them, and a constantly strained face. What they don’t know is that it’s because you can’t sleep more than two or three hours at a time, if that, and you’re never comfortable enough for that edginess to soften.

Back injuries aren’t an inconvenience — they become a way of life.

So, my way of life is still compromised, but it’s improving to the point where I have actual moments of feeling human again. That’s nice.

Everything solved? No. Over the money struggles? Nah. Smooth sailing ahead? Likely not.

And that’s okay. Because at least there’s the possibility of awesome.

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