I’ve always been an athlete.
I played tennis, volleyball, basketball and ran track in high school. I became a runner in my 30’s. I love heading out for a run, not trying to beat a certain time or distance, but just to sweat. Running is a kind of meditation for me. It’s a way to sweat out all the bad stuff of my day and get my mind right. I also love going to spin class and lift weights at the gym. Having biceps, staying lean, feeling strong makes me feel accomplished and healthy.
About six months ago, I herniated a disc in my lower back. It was a high grade injury that sidelined me from every athletic endeavor I love. The disc cut off my nerve and sent pain down my buttocks into my thigh and calf. It limited me in every aspect of my life including work. My mindset during this time was just to make it through another day with the pain– period. I watched joy, the kind I was used to creating for myself, slip away for a few months.
During this time, I met a college aged woman who was in a bad car crash while visiting family in Cuba. The crash left her with traumatic brain injuries. Her right eye was so damaged she couldn’t read anymore. Her aspirations of graduating college and going to law school were put on hold as she spent months in a hospital in physical therapy. I truly believe we were meant to cross paths. She kept telling me what got her through was knowing everything is temporary. She would eventually recover after a year and be able to read again. In the meantime, she listened to books on tape and focused on learning in non-traditional ways.
I had to keep reminding myself my pain and limitations were temporary.
Surgery took care of the herniation and now I’m starting physical therapy. It’s taken most of the year to get to this point and I’m still telling myself this is temporary.
Things will get better.