Running in April

Seventeen weeks post-surgery today. It feels like forever. There have been many challenges and even new appreciation of the five stages of grief.

My treatment plan said things that seemed impossible at the beginning – like that I would be running in April. It’s April, and I have jogged at a pace only slightly faster than walking exactly three times. I can jump without that agonizing pain through my foot and ankle now, though that’s a fairly recent development. I still have to work to keep the plantar fasciitis under control – something I never had before but is a new side effect of wearing the split and cast and boot for a combined 8 weeks.

I have two friends who have seen me through all of this, plus my family (parents, husband, and children). Even those who weren’t physically present every week still cheered me on when they saw me, commented on my progress, and asked when I’d be fully recovered.

I’m still figuring out how to answer that question. The end of PT is not a full recovery, but I’m allowed to do what I had before within the limits of the pain. That’s an interesting distinction that I hadn’t paid attention to in previous injuries. But none of those really prepared me for an ankle break like the one I did last summer, the way it could get better but not fully heal, and the surgery that followed.

I’m allowed to go back to the martial arts – and I’m can go until the edge of the pain. I did fairly well for my first attempt; I’m proud that I only once kicked the bag too hard for my ankle. One of the other women who goes said I didn’t lose anything being gone. It’s nice to hear, but she wasn’t my partner so she didn’t see me do most of those really easy kicks.

It’s taken a long time to see that I’m really going to achieve this goal.

Back to the writing goals, then, right? I never would have believed that it took so much from my head to have surgery on my ankle. That just being in so much pain – I was in a lot of pain before, the surgery, too – could disrupt so many creative processes that I simply think are part of who I am.

This week I took a story to my writing group, and two of them said they cried. It’s taken six weeks to refine that story to a point where I really found that point I wanted to make, and it’ll take one or two more to polish it up.

I’ve pulled up that novel I really keep thinking I’m going to get together, and it’s coming apart at the seams. I like to whisper to myself that I’ll have more hours once I’m recovered, that I’ll be able to spend that PT time doing edits, and that once I have more brain space because I’m not dealing with all of that pain it’ll come together.

I’m not sure how much of that is simply wishful thinking and how much I’m just going to fatigue my arms dragging that binder around. My yoga teaching has changed when it comes to balance and footwork, so that we’re strengthening these parts, too, and I’m targeting other body parts to learn more about in my spare time.

Spare time? I don’t know why we even label it spare time, since it’s that few moments that we carve out from doing all the other things that are clamoring for our attention. Reading has been easiest during recovery, and I finally picked up sewing until my hand cramped, and I might have even decided to become a dungeon master in D&D. If that seems like an odd jump, it is. We’re really not sure how we started a game that way, and neither are any of the rest of them.

I feel accomplished. I have done everything asked of me, and then some. I have been patient and I have slowly increased my activities until I could do it. I won’t have it all in there until about next week, but it’s pretty exciting to be at this place. I have noticed I feel better this week.

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