Group Therapy Thursday: Acceptance
Since my surgery last June I’ve had a vision of life post hysterectomy. I saw myself as a new woman, capable of doing anything I wanted with no fear of pain holding me back.
Roughly eight weeks ago I started running C25K. It was the best feeling and life was good. I felt strong and hopeful. Hopeful as in, ‘Hey; maybe there IS a runner inside of me somewhere. Maybe my back will work with me this time and as long as I take care of it (stretching before and after runs, and icing/heating when needed) then it will take care of me. Dare I say that maybe, running could be a new and exciting chapter of my life.’ This seed has grown because of bloggers like Laura (LauraLivesLife) and Katie (Runs For Cookies) both of whom run and have, like me, lost and maintain a 100+ pound weight loss.
I started reading Runs for Cookies well over a year ago. I’ve watched Katie go from a woman who never thought she would enjoy running into a strong, courageous lover of the sport. A few weeks ago Katie posted on her blog that she was holding a virtual 5K for her 31st birthday which is tomorrow. Anyone could sign up and participate from wherever they were in the world (she even had a bib printed up for participants to wear – isn’t that clever?) You didn’t have to run it, either. She wanted to include everyone, including walkers. The completion of my C25K program coincided with the race so I decided that I would sign up and run my first race ever, then post my milestone here on my blog.
A couple of weeks ago my lower back started showing major signs of unhappiness. I decided that I would simply work through it by using pain meds and doing more stretching, followed by more ice/heat compresses. No big deal, I thought. This time things will be different. I can make this happen.
Most of you who read my blog regularly know that I have degenerative disc disease, which is not really a disease but rather a fancy name for bad disc(s) in the back. With diligence and care, I can go months with very little back pain, but when I had surgery last year, caring for my back took a backseat while I recovered. With my recovery long and severed stomach muscles slowly healing, I’ve had to burden my back. As a result I’ve pushed through – and let’s face it: ignored – the increasing pain over the past 7 months.
No matter. I can still do this.
Last week shortly after my run I felt a stabbing pain shoot down my leg. By that evening my toes were completely numb and I was unable to sit or stand still; relief came only if I walked or lay on my side; not very helpful when one paints at an easel and writes at her computer for a living.
My husband felt it was time to intervene. He read me the following from a website:
Over time, the water between the bad disc dries up and cannot absorbs the shock that comes from the repetitive pounding/jarring that occurs when running.
‘By running, you’re doing more harm than good,’ he said. I pretty much knew at that point that my running days were over ~ this time, most likely for good.
You might be thinking right about now, “What’s so important about running, anyway?”
A great question. This may sound silly but I guess that for me, I thought it might be a place where I could fit in. I’m not good at sports; running doesn’t require me to be. I’m introverted and quite shy (truly, I am!); running doesn’t put any pressure on me to interact with other people. Plus, I’ve always seen runners as strong individuals and admired their tenacity. Hey, I’ve lived in a college town all my life where EVERYBODY runs. Maybe I associate it with youth….hmm; I’m going to need to let that one marinate in my head for a bit.
Today’s group therapy is about acceptance. I’ve been fighting the need to accept that running – even jogging, is bad for my current health. For the past several weeks I’ve been doing everything in my power to ignore the obvious, and now I’m paying the price.
If I can let go of the idea that running is imperative to my health and actually focus on the reality of my well being (like the simple pleasure of sitting through a meal with little to no pain) only then will I be free to make other choices that’ll actually serve instead of hinder me.
By the time you read this post, I will either be in the middle of or just finishing up my first appointment with an acupuncturist. This is my first step in acceptance. I will still be doing Katie’s 5K tomorrow, but not as a runner like I’d hoped. Part of my acceptance will be following through with my plan to participate, but as a walker. To repeat last week’s quote as it now pertains to me:
“When I release my death grip on control, I will gain a greater sense of accepting what is; only then can I make the decision to change.”
What did you learn to accept this week?
**This is our last official exercise of this month’s HL Challenge. For our last week together we’ll continue our focus on 31 Days of Gratitude and meet back here one last time next Thursday to discuss the past month. It will be your time to share the good and the bad of the challenge and what, if anything, you’ll be taking with you as part of the experience. We’ll wrap up our meeting with photos of your gratitude jar (if you’d like to send them to me, I’d be most happy to post them here) and pick our favorite Gratitude Moment of the Month.
So, it’s a date? See you back here next Thursday