Sunday, October 24, 2010

GET BACK UP AGAIN




 I wasted my Saturday away in a coffin bed. If you would have told me 5 years ago that I’d be spending my weekends this way, I would have laughed hysterically. But that was before endometriosis started a battle with my insides.

Almost the whole day was spent wrapped around a heating pad, reading textbooks, and writing on proper running form. Sounds productive, but it really wasn’t.

My friends were going to the football game at the University. I had wanted to attempt the game, but I told them that I had tons of work to get done. Although I do have tons of work, that is not why I avoided the trip. No, to be honest, I didn’t want to go to the football game because the organs in my pelvic cavity were quivering in pain. 

A pain encouraged by my own doing early that morning. 

The night before, I had been hurting a lot. It was nearly impossible for me to get any sleep when my core was stinging so much. When I noticed the sun peaking through the blinds on Saturday morning, I got pissed off at this disease (I’m a crazy, happy, "morning person” so AM grumpiness is not usually my thing!), and how weak I had become physically the last couple of months.

I was mad because my body hurt...all the time. I was irritated that I couldn’t sleep. I was beyond tired of being sick. I wanted to wake up happy and health again. It was then, in my half-awake, pissed-off state, that I somehow convinced myself that I should try to jog again. I dismissed Dr. G’s voice and my own better judgement telling me otherwise. In fact, as ridiculous as this sounds, I reasoned that my atrophied body would be able to push through the pain if I could trigger a tiny "adrenaline rush".  

Adrenaline is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that produces the wonderful phenomenon we call “runner’s high”. It is also the hormone that we dig into when we are afraid and excited...and looking for an increase in physical strength. I’m sure everyone has heard a story about superhuman strength and how adrenaline can make the body do amazing things in emergencies (like a 95lb woman being able to lift a car to save her kid’s life). 

It is not likely that I would ever tap into this rush on a one mile journey, unless I was confronted with a life-threatening situation (like a killer bear). But when the body is hurting, sleep-deprived, and upset, all common sense and knowledge are gone in the pursuit of relief. I wanted to feel the “runners high” again. And I was determined to try. 

1 mile down, 25.2 more to go 
So, in my fueled aggression against endo, I got up and challenged the day with an old-lady jog. Every single step and in-between hurt. I kept telling myself that I was going to feel better as I pushed. 

Well, as you can probably guess, I didn’t feel better. I felt worse. The pain was rattling me inside. 

Still, I did it. I jogged. It took me 13 minutes total to complete a mile. Slow as eternity, but far better than the 30+ minutes it took me to walk that mile the day before. 

I took a photo (which didn’t turn out as well as I hoped because I couldn’t stand up straight at this point), showcasing my small feat, and posted it on Facebook to announce to my distant friends that I did a whole mile. Yes, The same athlete who boasted of crazy distances in the past is now proud of a mile.

I’m not sure if it is my “trainer mentality” or just my weird personality, but it seems that I always try to push the limits (even if they shouldn’t be pushed). When training, I tell others to “push past the pain”, “overcome adversity”, and all the other phrases we use to motivate ourselves. I can hear myself saying those words to so many. Be stronger. Be faster. Be better!

But sometimes, no matter how hard we try and push, we can’t take another step. Sometimes, the pain is so intense that we fall to the ground. And then spend the rest of our day laying in bed, trying to recover.

My strength to overcome lasted only 13 minutes. It was painful, but it was worth every second to know that I could do it. At the end of my jog, I stumbled in the house in tears. Pain flooded my core. My pelvis began to quiver and I literally dropped to the ground. 

But I got back up, eventually. Even if just to travel from my floor to the bed. Because, as every woman fighting this disease knows, that is what we do. 

After every surgery, all the hormones, disappointments, heartaches, and every painful, sleepless night, we push until we can’t push anymore. We fall to pieces a million times. And then we get back up. 

We don’t have a choice. 

My goal today is to make it to church. And stay out of my bed. Maybe I’ll hit up the jog in the evening. 

"It does not matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up"



Vince Lombardi




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