It's been a bit of a roller coaster for me these last two weeks. My 'baby' girl started kindergarten. I didn't realize how stressed I was about that until I woke up one morning scratching at my face and feeling like my jaw had been punched a few times. Chris told me I had been grinding my teeth all.night.long. I took one look in the mirror and it looked like I had caught the leprosy. (Do people still get that or was it just in Biblical times?). My eczema had flared up. It usually only makes an appearance now due to cold/dry weather. I hadn't seen a stress-flare up since college.
So, we made it through the first week of Kindergarten. Relatively unscathed (well, except the new and not so improved Leprosy-Me). The following Monday rolls around and I had an appointment at my local running store. It was for a free injury screening with a physical therapist. Free? Sure, why not! My knee had been bugging me for about 3 weeks. Nothing major but just annoying me for my first 1-2 miles out of a run. But I figured I should get it checked out (did I mention it was free?!;)) because I'm not a runner who usually gets any sort of aches or pains. Lucky me.
I loaded the twins up with some snacks (ie bribery lollipops) to keep them occupied while I hopped up on the table in some sort of makeshift exam room/storage room at the running store. The PT was a very nice lady with kind eyes. She poked at my leg a bit, had me lie on my back as she tested the strength in my legs. My right was obviously weaker than my left. She hmmmmed and uhhhhhhed and said she wanted to try 'one more thing'. That one more thing was a tipping point. I think if she never would have done that 'one more thing', I wouldn't be writing about this. I'd be blogging about Claire and kindergarten (I'll get to that next week). But the tipping point happened. She had me try to push against her hand with my knee while on my back. Zap. I felt instant pain in my lower right back.
As she pulled me into a sitting position, the PT with the kind eyes told me she was sorry. It's what she suspected. I have a nerve-disc injury. She was so confident in her diagnosis, I was dumbfounded. Nerves? Disc? Back?!? I felt like I was watching this show from far away. Surely she wasn't diagnosing me!!! with a back injury!!! I shushed the twins as they starting getting antsy for more 'nack'. She had another patient waiting and was gently pushing me out the door as I continued throwing out questions. The last thing I remember asking was I still get to run, right?? She shook her head and with her now sympathetic, kind eyes, said "Oh no...definitely no running".
I was numb. Shocked.
And then it hit me. No running. I started pushing the twins out of the store as the inevitable tears started filling my eyes. My 'tech guy', who sold me my garmin(s) and chats run talk with me every time I come into the store, came jogging over holding a new gadget in his hands. "Hey, Nicole, wai----". He took one look at my face. "What's wrong??" I had to hold back a choked sob as I answered in a whisper, "She said, no running. I can't run". He looked crestfallen for me. "I'm sorry". And I kept walking out of the store. I sat in my car and tried to process what had just happened. My mind couldn't wrap itself around those last words I heard "definitely no running"....
I went to the gym. No running. Fine. I'll work out. I got on the stepper. Put my headphones on and heard the song Clementine:
All that time. Wasted.
I wish I was a little more delicate.
Tears were streaming down my face. And when I heard those words it was too much. I choked back a sob and I felt like I was hyperventilating. I wanted to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Crying. About running. It's just running!!! Yes, it's 'just' running. Had I let it become too much to me? Was all that time I've spent running wasted? Why couldn't I be more delicate? More 'mom-like' and have a normal hobby like scrap booking or cooking. Something that couldn't be taken away from me.
I spent the next two nights tossing and turning. No sleep for me. I prayed. I worried. I prayed some more. Not for my knee. Not for my back. But for God to help me accept what I was told. That it would be OK. And I knew, deep down in my heart, that it would be OK. Life isn't about running. Life is about living and enjoying what I have: my health, my kids, my husband: Barbara LeGere Photography
There would be something else out there for me besides running. Just like the song lyrics in The Climb: keep on moving.....so I did.
But I decided I wasn't going down without a fight. With the encouragement of friends and family, I made an appointment to see an orthopedic sports doctor. He laughed when I ranked my pain a 2 and yet told him I limp the first 1-2 miles of a run. You women sure are tough. A man would rank pain that makes him limp an 8-9. I was so nervous during the exam my palms were sweating. Though I had come to terms with 'no running', I knew it would be a blow to hear it a second time. But, what? What was I hearing? It's not a disc issue?!
On Wednesday, I was diagnosed with something called sacroiliac dysfunction. Dr. S reassured me that not only could I run, I could continue running throughout the physical therapy that I would need to help rehabilitate this condition. If I wasn't married, I would have grabbed him and kissed him right there on the spot. Maybe I'll have to deal with this condition for the rest of my life. Who knows. But I'm going to learn how to manage it: without meds. I'm going to learn how to strengthen myself from the inside out. Like he said, women are tough. If I have to run the rest of my life with a twinge of pain in the back of my knee, I'll gladly do it. I get to run. I'm thankful, I get to run!
My brother shared this song with me called, Smile. Every time I hear it I think of him (my hope is: you start moving, you're too young not to fully enjoy life) and the lyrics remind me of my relationship with running:
Nothing can compare to where
You send me, lets me know that it's okay
Yeah, it's okay
Definitely on a roller coaster these past two weeks. I'm getting off this ride. But no matter what, it's OK.