What exactly does this even mean?! Every bee sting I have ever had was a quick prick that really didn’t have much of an effect on my comfort level. Except that one time I got stung twice by a cute, yet evil devil of a bee that should have been bothering a bee hive, not me. Yes, twice. I guess a bee can’t sting you twice so maybe at 10 years old I just made up the extra “prick”. Damn devil bee died real quick after that thanks to my dad and to the fact that I guess they die after they sting you, which is why people tell me there is no way I got stung twice. Tell that to the two welts on my 10 year old body.
Fast forward to my late 20s…
I was blessed with a spine that did not hold up to the rigors of my athletic life. Degenerative disc disease, arthritis, herniation, bulge and finally tear – all words I have continued to hear over the last 4 weeks in regards to the cause of the pain in my low back that has, like my hips, been keeping me from exercising and doing fun things like jumping around during a photo shoot.
The three times I have now had a big needle injected into my body – 2 hip arthrograms and now 1 cortisone injection into my low back – the doctor’s have said, “Alright, it is going to sting like a bee.” My first thought brought me back to my childhood. My second thought, “What is this crap?!?!” So I am going to assume that there MUST be some sort of universal jargon to prepare the patient for the pain of gracing a needle deep within the confines of my already inflamed and therefore sore joint…and then shove it in further to be sure it’s where it is needed! Thank god this experience only took 5 minutes, unlike the arthrograms. I now have a steroid in my body to reduce inflammation and allow the tear to heal. And BONUS was that I got a pink bandaid on my back! They must have known pink is my favorite color!
So I leave in a little bit of pain, thinking that it will wear off shortly and I will be pain free. Wrong. At least for the last 5 hours. I can’t even bend over without shooting pain in my low back. I tried to show a client a lunge and my left hip cramped up causing me to almost eat the floor – trust me, you don’t want to eat the floor at a gym. Then I tried to grab the cable machine to adjust the level for my client and I got an electric shock in both of my shoulders. And no, there was no electrical current in that cable machine although sometimes I wish there were. Then maybe the people who hog the cables during prime time would be deterred from doing so which would ultimately mean a much happier Kara. Happy trainer, happy life…right? Just ask my clients. 🙂
At this point I almost start crying mid session because I couldn’t bend over to pick things up and I couldn’t use my arms. I felt totally useless! Tears welling up, I realize where I am and that there is NO WAY I am allowed to cry on the floor of Equinox, not to mention I had another client in 5 minutes. So I took a few deep breaths and laughed it off. I can do nothing but laugh at my body and accept what is going on. I get a little smile thinking about it all and I just go with it. I was told the steroid could take a few days to a week to really “settle in.” I suppose I should trust my spine physiatrist that treats me like a number and not a patient but all I care is that it works so that I can stand without pain.
A few of my friends made a very valid point that helps bring me to accept my current situation. Since I finished ski racing almost 4 years ago, I have never really given my body a break. I went immediately into personal training which requires you to be able to stand for hours on end, count and talk at the same time (which trust me, is very challenging for the brain, unless you use your fingers to keep track), pick up heavy weights for your clients and have the ability to be nauseatingly happy the whole time. Then I decided to train for a body building show that I never competed in (another story all together), trained for a marathon and got hurt, trained for 2 half marathons which I completed in my goal time, started to model, dieted non stop, joined Crossfit and completely over exercised.
For the first time, I am forced to take a break and there is nothing wrong with that…or at least this is what I keep telling myself and what others reinforce with their amazingly supportive words and actions.
To be honest, I am in a way quite thankful for this forced break because it gave me the time and energy to learn how to cook, to start journaling on a daily basis again, to read and to start this blog. Losing something else important to me, or rather I will say someone important to me, which saddens me deeply, has allowed me to dedicate more of myself to my family, to my friends and to myself which was something I was neglecting. I wanted to spend all my time with this person I lost and I am trying to find the positive so that I can be okay with it. The last couple of months has forced me to take a step back and evaluate what and who is important in my life, what needed to change and what needed to stay the same.
It comes down to the realization that I am fortunate in ways I didn’t even realize and am blessed and excited for my future. I am 27 years old living in an amazing city full of opportunity. I am confident and independent. I am sassy and brutally honest, sometimes to a fault. I am difficult to deal with at times but let’s be honest, who isn’t? That would just be boring and lame and no one wants that. But ultimately I know I have a good heart and a lot to offer. I know I have some of the best days ahead of me. I have an amazing present and future. I am and will be happy in ways I have yet to experience.
So into the 10th hour of enjoying Equinox today, I go into my last two sessions of the day with a smile on my face and a thumbs up! I love my job and I love my life. 🙂