A prelude to happiness

I had a few pretty intense conversations with some friends last week that really got me thinking. It is clear that I like to think and I like to write and from that I learn a lot about myself and how I interact with those around me. I also like to talk, a lot, about my experiences and my growth as a person because I am so proud and feel I have come so far from where I once was, whether it was a month ago or 6 years ago. I want to share my growth with others especially when I can sense that person feels the same way I once felt and still do feel but with much less intensity due to my life experiences. So when my friend and I sat down to talk about life I chose not to talk but to listen to what he had to say.

My friend puts a lot of time and energy into pleasing others, into being the guy that goes out of his way to help people even if they have no intention of returning the favor. He is not the type of guy to keep score on his outpouring of kindness but at some point in time when no one ever bothers to give to him what he has given to them, he gets extremely frustrated and angry under the surface. Outwardly he seems very happy but inwardly as I have come to find out over the few years I have known him, there is a part of him that is seemingly inherently unhappy for whatever reason. I have watched him go from extreme euphoria to depression over the years and every time it kills me because I too have been there; we all have. I simply want to help as much I can but as I have learned, I cannot help those that do not want to be helped. All I can do is listen.

So as we sat there chatting, he mentioned he is going to start focusing on himself more. GREAT! YES! FINALLY! But what followed wasn’t what I really wanted to hear. “I am going to start working on myself, F everyone else. It’s about me now.” There were a few more F words dropped in subsequent sentences but the gist was that in an effort to make the decision to focus on bettering himself, putting himself first and making himself happy he failed at the one thing that needs to be done in order to do all of those things for oneself. Positive thought. We build off of foundations. We can’t build a strong sense of self without a strong foundation. I continued to listen for a few minutes, sensing and seeing the negativity build up inside of him until I could see he just wanted to punch something; he seemed to, in a way, be fuming under the surface.

I paused momentarily to gather my thoughts as he looked at me and I said, “Can I give you a piece of advice?” I noticed that in the development of the sentence he had said to me about focusing on himself, he got himself so worked up that I could sense anger within him, almost a bit of bitterness. Now I have made a lot of changes in my life the last 6 months so I am not one to preach about being all peppy and happy because at one point I was a miserable human being and it was no secret. But if I can offer small bits of advice or lessons that I have picked up and learned along the way, that’s all that matters.

I have been in his situation before in the sense I wasn’t focusing on myself and my happiness and I took the same tactic. “F everyone else.” When you say it like that, you’re still F’ing everybody else that you are saying FU to so here’s another way to look at it. Acknowledge that you have given a little too much of yourself and recognize that you feel the need to reign it in, but in order to truly make it about one’s self and about being happy with one’s self, you have to start with a foundation built on positive thought. If you are saying F everybody else, you aren’t really creating a positive foundation to build from and in the end aren’t really focusing on creating a positive environment for yourself.

Happiness comes from a positive environment, that is no secret. The simple sentence or statement of, “I am focusing on myself and my happiness right now” is all that is needed. To truly focus on oneself, there needs to be no mention of another in that sentence. It’s like telling someone to not think of the color red which in this case would be the “F everyone else” part of the sentence. What are you really thinking about at the end of that sentence? The color red and everyone else. The most important person here, you, falls by the way side and will continue to unless you change your mental approach.

The next few questions I asked as we continued our conversation was, “What makes you truly happy? When the world gets crazy and you get down, where do you go? What do you do that calms you so much that nothing else matters? What brings you back to the present with such intensity that when life gets you down and your mind starts turning, allows you to reset with ease? Where do you feel safe?” He didn’t know the answer and was visually taken a back by my questions before he finally admitted, “Wow, I have never thought of that. I have no idea what that would be.” Think about it.

My point was that everyone has something that calms them and brings them back to reality; like a blanket or a stuffed animal when we are little that soothes us. Most of us let go of that safety blanket as we get older because who really wants to admit that as a 27 year old you still sleep with a stuffed bunny from your childhood? Yeah. That’s right. I do. Bam. Anyways, the whole point is to find something that makes you ridiculously happy. It’s that tiny sense of security that when the world starts to get the best of us, we can turn to and realize suddenly that it’s not so bad.  It’s a place we can go to free our mind.

For me, it isn’t really my stuffed bunny, although I still really do sleep with her every night. In reality my safe place, my happy place, my childhood security blanket is my writing. I started journal writing when I was 10. At first it was often just about my day simply because I love to remember everything and I liked reliving my days when I would write about them at night. But then over time it became less about documenting my day and more about the emotions I felt during my days. I took a brief 4 year hiatus because a lot of the things I was experiencing at that point in my life were way too painful to write down. But even now I find myself recapping those years as I am better equipped at dealing with what happened during that time.

When I feel any emotion, I write it down. Sometimes its a quick note in my phone and sometimes its a 5 page journal entry. When I write, I feel a sense of passion that gets my bones tingling. I feel with every bone in my body when I write, my soul gets involved. When I write is when I truly feel emotion. I am so in the moment that nothing else seems to matter except for what I am writing. I told my friend this and he just kind of stared, not knowing what would make him feel that way. He did eventually get back to me on what he considered to be his safe place but realized he wanted to think more about it. I got a big smile on my face because I knew that I had helped him a little. I had helped him like so many others have helped me. I can only hope that the guidance I have received from others and the things I have experienced can be passed on to someone else so that they too can find their own sense of happiness in a world that demands a lot of us.

Take a moment sometime to think about what you do that makes you happy when your world seems to be falling apart. The most important part of this to remember however is that this one thing that makes you happy, your safe place, cannot have anyone else tied in to it. To say, “my safe place is when I am talking to…or when I am hanging out with …” is to set yourself up for failure. It has to be yours and only yours. It has to come from within. My friend realized music was his safe place. Music moves his soul. He sits alone and just listens, actively listens and comes out feeling alive from within. To be able to feel with your soul, to come alive from within, now that’s what living is all about. He is on his way to a better sense of self and a stronger sense of what makes him happy, what makes his heart beat.

So I end this post with similar questions I asked my friend and myself at the beginning of my quest to really discover myself and what it means to be happy from within…

What makes you happy? What makes you, you? What brings you to life? What makes your heart skip a beat and makes your soul come to life?

Find it and hold on to it. It’s the most important thing you will ever discover about yourself.

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My road to recovery…

…is going to be fun.

I had my first day of PT on Friday at MGH and as I sat there with my intake form reading the page on “How much does your affected limb limit the following activities?” I just kind of sat in awe. It said something along the lines of…rate your level of difficulty with the following activities from no difficulty to extreme difficulty or cannot be performed at all – daily recreational activities, standing for more than one hour, sitting for more than one hour, going up and down stairs, picking up a heavy bag, doing household chores, walking 2 blocks, walking a mile, performing activities for your job, etc. All were either checked as cannot be performed or with extreme level of difficulty (I was bummed there was no back squatting option on that form). I could do nothing but laugh at how much I realized I was actually affected by all of this. Yeah I have a tough time getting around because I am not supposed to weight bear and I have these awesome crutches but when I came to understand the reality of what I can and cannot do, I kind of got upset/had a mini panic attack.

I think back to when I first went into that office to get a start on my diagnosis and I remember that everything was checked as no difficulty except sitting and standing for more than one hour and daily recreational activities were somewhat limited…aka CrossFit, running, heavy lifting. It’s funny because I remember thinking how discouraged and limited I felt then and the weeks which turned into days leading up to my surgery. At least then I could still walk, could still get my own coffee, could still grocery shop on my own, do my own laundry, cook with ease, clean with ease…you get the point. I guess I never realized how much this surgery would limit me…weird to think that it wouldn’t right?

So I get called back to meet with my physical therapist for the first time. He asks me how much pain I am in and I tell him that I figured I would be in more pain, that I can stand on my right foot and it doesn’t hurt and I can hobble around on it without pain. He then asks how long I am prescribed crutches…3 weeks total. Here I am thinking that because it doesn’t hurt to weight bear that I probably won’t have to have my crutches for the whole 3 weeks. At this point he kindly scared me into never wanting to put weight on my right foot again. The area of my surgery – my hip joint, specifically my labrum – is somewhat avascular as in very little blood supply and very few nerve endings and because of that, to put weight on my right leg isn’t going to hurt. He then kindly pointed out that what putting weight on my right leg does do is jam the femoral head into the hip joint – you know the joint that I had surgery on 11 days ago, that joint that because of it’s avascularity, doesn’t exactly heal quickly – and that compression too soon will only undo everything my poor little hip went through on January 7th. Ok, no more weight bearing, I get it.

He asked me what my goals for PT were….I kind of looked at him, scrunched together the rolls that are developing on my forehead, squinted my eyes, pursed my lips together and said, “Well, I would like to do CrossFit again. It’s not necessarily the CrossFit per say, but it is that level of intensity that I would like to get back to. Oh and run a half marathon again, specifically the Run to Remember held on Memorial Day. I know not this year, but next.” He kind of stared blankly at me. Great.

Moving on. So I laid down on the PT table and he assessed my hip. The next part is my favorite…he asked me what exercises I had been doing and I proudly said that I had been doing my toe raises and my hip pendulums. Crazy to me that I got excited about that. So he added a few more exercises to my small list. Lying on my back I now get to do the following…

1. With my leg straight, slowly internally and externally rotate my foot like a windshield wiper.

2. With my leg straight, squeeze my quad.

3. With my leg straight, squeeze my right butt cheek.

4. Heel slides.

Wow. At least I got to finish PT with 10 minutes with my new best friend…

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I seriously cannot wait to see that machine again. Compression AND cold at the same time? Talk about crack for my hip. Before my PT left me with my new best friend he looked me dead in the eye and said, “Go to the front desk when you leave and schedule into February, at least twice a week. You and I will be getting very close over the next few months.” This did not make me feel very good.

I left PT feeling deflated and discouraged and my hip felt the same way too. The amount of pain and fatigued I felt in my hip the rest of the day on Friday was unreal for how little activity I forced it to do. And that pain and fatigued only carried over into the middle of last night when I woke up and had to pop 2 Oxycodone’s in order to go back to bed and into today when I was at work and my hip cramped up mid session and almost knocked me over. And as I sit here alone on a Saturday night with a painful hip that almost itches at the same time and a right foot that is so cold that not even a big winter sock and a slipper can warm it up I begin to realize that this whole process is going to test my patience and my ability to deal with boredom, a lot. I have never had an injury that has limited me so much. I feel for those who get injured all the time. I don’t know how you manage other than with the knowledge that it will get better.

But that’s the thing about injuries; you recover. I know that in 10 days I will be off crutches (yes I am counting down the days and my palms and shoulders are too) and I know that every day my hip will get a little stronger and a little more mobile and that in 6 months I will be 100%. I try not to think about that last part though. I know that I will be 100% again and I know that things could always be worse. I know that someday in the near future I will go into that office and look at that level of difficulty intake form and laugh at it because I have little to no difficulty doing everything on that list. Until then, I just need to practice patience and understanding for my body.

My body. That’s another story. But I will say that I am proud of myself at this very moment in time because on Tuesday when I left Vermont I had a complete meltdown as I stared at my broken body in the mirror…the needle holes and bruises on my stomach, the injection sites from my surgery, the swelling and bruising in my groin and just the general swelling all over my body…oh and the already noticeable loss of muscle in all areas of my body. But tonight I looked in the mirror and I didn’t see any of that for a few reasons. I got to stop my blood thinners 2 weeks early because I was one of the lucky few who actually developed the “internal bleeding” thing which means no more injections and no more bruising, the swelling and bruising around my incisions are reducing and the general swelling around my entire body seems to have dissipated.

Some then and now…

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Oh and not to mention my arms are getting jacked from crutching around for hours every day trying to be a personal trainer and my abs are coming back because of having to stabilize myself as I crutch around…and I think the cessation of the Malbec drinking helped a bit. All in all how I feel right now compared to how I felt the last 24 hours is like night and day. I am starting to feel happy more often than sad. It is not quite Hunter Hayes “I Want Crazy” dancing around my apartment while drinking Malbec happy, but it’s getting there slowly…the whole dancing around my apartment part might take a little longer than the other two.

So with a spasming and painful hip, my last Valium, some sleep meds, my Cryo cuff and Bun Bun, I hope to make it through the night with no hip pain. Every day is a new day and not every day will be great but if you try to your hardest to enjoy the ups and appreciate the downs, this whole process becomes a  little easier. And plus, Dora the Explorer is with me all the time on my crutches and she is pretty rad. 🙂

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Healing mentally and physically

It is almost 8 am as I start this post and I have just taken my Oxycodone and Tylenol so I have a short window before I fall asleep. I have been weening off the Valium because it absolutely destroys any brain function I could manage to have but even without it I am feeling a little lightheaded and woozy but not so much that I can’t write so I decided to take this brief moment of motivation and somewhat clear headedness to write a bit.

Yesterday was probably one of the harder days for me emotionally. I started to miss someone that I shouldn’t really miss and I started to feel like a waste of space. Having hip surgery isn’t THAT big of a deal. Surgery is surgery. People have it and people recover from it. This just so happens to be my first one so it’s kind of a big deal for me. I haven’t left my house since I got home Tuesday night which is partially because I have been in too much pain but more because Vermont tends to be an ice skating rink right now…all of it. I guess I-89 was backed up for 3 hours yesterday. Yeah, no thanks. Even my driveway was a sheet of ice and then to top it off it started pouring. So I continued to sit on my couch to sleep, text and to stare blankly at my computer screen wishing and willing myself to write, but I just could not do it. I couldn’t even manage to hit one key to start a post or start a journal entry. There just seems nothing fun to write about. I can’t get in the zone and I need to be in that zone or else it all just seems forced.

I hate not writing and I hate not wanting to write. I’ve gotten reassurance from those who have been on these drugs that it is completely normal to have this reaction, this fog, this daze that I tend to be living in since Tuesday. Every now and then I get shocks of anxiety about not writing, not reading, not crocheting, not doing anything and I am not good at doing nothing. I feel useless. I have to ask my parents to do everything for me. I can manage to make my own meals but it takes FOREVER simply because I have to crutch to the fridge and back with one item at a time and when you need more then 3 items, it tends to take some time. I am weight bearing more than I probably should at this point because it makes everything go faster. People tell me to take this time to rest and relax and to sleep as much as I can and not feel guilty about it but all I am thinking about is what I am NOT doing that I should be doing.

I never realized that having surgery and recovering from it could make me this tired. I want my routine back. I miss waking up at 4:30 am, I miss my friends, I miss my clients, I miss my apartment, I miss my Malbec (although it has been a nice little detox as I did get a little crazy with it the week before my surgery) I miss Boston and surprisingly…I miss Equinox. I miss the gym, a lot and not because of working out. Hell, I could care less about that right now, I just miss everyone there. I miss the music playing all day, I miss the sound of weights dropping, I miss the stinky smell of the employee break room and I even miss the occasional grunt from those men trying to be all macho lifting with their less than impressive weight selection and even less impressive execution of form.

So yeah, yesterday kind of sucked. But then I was chatting with my girl Susan, or rather I was complaining simply because of the fact that I was feeling sorry for myself but then I stopped and I thought…”pull your head out of your ass, get out of your own way and stop feeling sorry for yourself.” It could be SO much worse and feeling sorry for myself gets me nowhere. In fact, it goes against everything I have been writing about for the last few months. Talk about finding happiness from within…jeepers have I had to do a lot of THAT this week. So I decided to sit down this morning (before I fall back asleep from these drugs) and note what I am thankful for and why feeling sorry for myself is pointless.

1) First and foremost, yesterday was the first shower I had in 4 days. My hair was DISGUSTING. I am naturally blonde and yes it darkens in the winter but after 4 days it looked like a brown slip and slide…

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I can’t tell you how amazing that shower felt. I managed to do it without any help…2 thumbs up for that accomplishment because I am pretty sure neither of my parents nor I wanted to help or have help showering. My mother kindly told me after my shower, “Well you smell much better.” Thanks mom.

2) I got to take the bandages off and see what arthroscopic surgery actually did to my hip…

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I thought hard about posting that picture but then it occurred to me A) you can’t see anything naughty and B) I did an underwear shoot so the only difference between that picture and what you all will see when those pictures come out, is that I had a small bikini bottom on…and plus, I think it’s pretty cool that they can reattach my labrum and shave down bone by only making three small incisions.

3. My brother came and visited me for a long time and we had a nice chat. I don’t really ever get to see my brother (the one that lives in Vermont) so whenever I get the chance, I always cherish it.

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4. My other brother called me via FaceTime to check up on me. I can’t tell you enough how much that means to me. And in the process I got to see my cute little niece who is growing up wayyyy to fast!

5. I get to wear these cool compression socks that keep the swelling down because let me tell you..when you are laid up all day, ya get nice and swollen! And plus, it’s squeezing out all my holiday fat. 😉 Oh and these cool slippers that the nurse liaison gave me per order of the Woodster!

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6. I have a father who is willing to inject me with Lovenox every 12 hours so that my blood doesn’t clot. He is such a good nurse in training…

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There is a video on Facebook of the process but I can’t seem to put it in here so here’s the link if you want to see it and if it works…https://www.facebook.com/kara.crow.94

But it makes my stomach look like a war zone…the little tiny dots are from the needle punctures and this picture doesn’t even do it justice. Oh and by the way, if you find my 6 pack, please return it to me. Thanks!

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7. My mother makes me the BEST mocha EVER and is sending me back to Boston with meals so I don’t have to worry about cooking for a day or two. Blessing right there.

8. Three days ago my girl Tania brought me a care package…missing from this photo is the Malbec I can’t drink for a while and the popcorn that is already gone…well actually it’s all already almost gone. 🙂 She knows me so well!

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9. I got a visit from my goddaughter, godmother and family friend which totally brightened my day. Always nice to have extended family when you’re feeling kind of down.

10. I have friends and family that check up on me every day and send me well wishes. The number of texts and emails I had when I came out of surgery was heart warming. I have people I rarely talk to or barely know telling me how strong I am, that this too shall pass and that it’s okay to relax. They reassure me that everything I am feeling and thinking is normal. I guess I never realized how many people actually care about me and the best part is, I care about them too. 🙂

When all is said and done, I am thankful for many things and I try to remember those. Writing helps. This blog helps but it has been hard to write. Is this whole thing challenging my patience and positive attitude? Hell yeah. Am I antsy and stir crazy and have some serious anxiety, especially about returning to work and everything that entails? Without a doubt. But I am taking it moment by moment. I am letting myself feel the anxiety when it comes and I am letting myself feel the happiness when it comes. At the end of the day, this is just hip surgery. I will be off crutches before I know it. Some people have said they feel sorry for me. I don’t feel sorry for me (well maybe a little yesterday…I was having a girl day) and I don’t want others to feel sorry for me. It’s just hip surgery and it’s a temporary limitation.

One thing I have gotten really good at is making fun of myself, of doing things to humble myself, to make sad things funny, to make boring and mundane things interesting and fun. Hell, I get injected every 12 hours with a dangerous drug that thins my blood so it doesn’t clot but that can make me bleed to death if I fall which is why I get to wear this bad boy…

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Yeah you see those veins…lots of blood flowing through those bad boys.

But I laugh at it. I laugh at the fact that after all this time, after all the worrying about how my body would change before and after my hip surgery because of having to scale back on exercise so my hip wouldn’t hurt all the damn time, because of HAVING to eat donuts and pastries and HAVING to drink Malbec in order to fuel all my imperfections, to misplace my 6 pack, and to spend more time with friends and family, I suddenly realize it was all worth it. This surgery was a blessing in disguise. It made me realize what is important in life. It changed my attitude towards life. I laugh more and look at life with wide open eyes, which if you haven’t noticed by now, I have REALLY tiny eyes, so that’s saying a lot.

I wouldn’t change a thing about the last 2 months. I wouldn’t change having to have hip surgery, I wouldn’t change having to sit on my ass for a week, I wouldn’t change the fact that I have a quarter of the strength in my legs that I used to have and that I have put on some fat LBS. I have had more fun in the last 2 months than I have had in my entire life because I finally started to LIVE my life. Even though this change was a long time coming, it was like I was waiting or even looking for something to get my ass in gear. I needed that extra push because for the longest time I felt lost. Do I still feel lost at times? Hell yeah. But I am closer to where I want to be than ever before and that’s just so pee in my pants exciting!!

So now I move onward and upward. I have so much to look forward to: getting off crutches, having jacked arms from my crutches, physical therapy, rebuilding my strength, finding my 6 pack, not having to wear my bracelet because I will be off blood thinners in a few weeks, waking up at 4:30 am again every day, squatting, running, jumping, maybe modeling again and most importantly continuing to have as much fun as I possibly can. Yes, I have so much to be thankful for.

Here’s to writing the next book in my life. I can feel nothing but insanely giddy about writing it…or maybe its the Oxycodone…who knows? 🙂 And yes it just took me 2 hours to write this post but I did not fall asleep like I thought I would. Big gains up here in Vermont.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s to recovery day 2 & 3 & some writers block

I’ve never been on pain killers. Ever. I’ve only heard stories of what it is like to be on them. I hear stories about people becoming addicted to pain killers and it ruins their lives. No offense to anyone who has been or is addicted to them but I don’t see why anyone would want to depend on this shit. Not only am I lightheaded and dizzy all the time (thank God I haven’t thrown up) but my brain is mush and all I want to do is sleep. All.The.Time. Now for someone that likes to go go go all the time, read, write and exercise my brain and my body, I don’t like this feeling at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love to sleep (even though as a personal trainer, a lot of sleep does not exist for me) but to wake up at 7 am, have my father inject me with my Lovenox…

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(God bless my father for doing that every 12 hours)

…eat breakfast, take my Valium, Oxycodone and Tylenol and immediately feel woozy and want to go back to bed is extremely frustrating. I will sleep for about 1-2 hours, wake up feeling woozy, text some of my friends so I have some social (ish) interactions and then close my eyes and fall back asleep. Oh and I eat somewhere in there to but nothing is very appealing. My night eating apparently hasn’t subsided…I had pizza at 2 am thanks to my father. It was heaven.

So in anticipation of entertaining myself and being the total nerd that I am, I brought a bunch of books by my favorite author Jodi Picoult with me to Vermont thinking, “Hey, I will have a week of laying on my ass doing nothing so I will be a reading machine!” I also brought a lot of yarn so that I could crochet some hats for my clients as their Christmas presents. Yes, if you are a client of mine reading this, that is your Christmas present. But at the rate my mind is going right now, you might not get it until next year. That’s the thing, crocheting takes no brain power but for some reason the thought of crocheting is exhausting. Writing this post is exhausting. Over stimulating even. My mom is making a bunch of noise in the kitchen and all I want is piece and quiet. It’s like my brain is over loaded. The only reason I like my pain killers is because they take me to dream land where I can rest my body and my mind, which as we all know by now, rarely happens. This is the first time in my life I can say that as a conscious human being my mind is NOT running a mile a minute, which is a nice break but it is definitely causing me anxiety. And because of this, I don’t like being awake on my pain killers, I don’t like it at all.

I’m constantly thirsty and I can’t seem to get enough water which means I am peeing all the time and let me tell you going to the bathroom is not fun. The first time I actually went pee was right when I got back from the hospital. The recovery room nurse said that I probably wouldn’t pee until the morning. WRONG….and oh my goodness it was so ******* painful to sit down on that little toilet. Anytime I sit down or get up my hip screams at me which is also why I hate going to the bathroom. My mom had to help me and trust me, as a 27.5 year old, the last thing I want my mom helping me with is peeing…well I guess the other option would be worse….anyways, it has gotten easier but having thigh high compression socks and a constant ice pack on my leg makes peeing not an easy feat. Although that constant ice pack is a savior…

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Ice cold water…ahhhhh. It’s almost better than the pain killers.

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Those socks go all the way up to my pelvis to keep the blood flowing and prevent swelling and blood clotting. I almost like them because they seem to be squeezing allllll the fat out that I managed to put on my legs through holiday indulgence 🙂

So I am on day 3 of recovery and I can manage to lift my own leg without excruciating pain! (Even though within seconds it aches quite badly) Up until today my parents had to lift my leg onto and off of the couch for me. When I use my crutches I can actually swing my leg a little bit without pain which is a first. The intervals between drug taking is spacing out – instead of every 4 hours its more around every 6-7. I feel a little less helpless than I did the last two days. And I managed to change out of my red polka dot pajamas and actually put contacts in. And since today is the UVM Carnival I decided to represent by wearing my Catamount Athletics sweat pants!

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And for some reason on the front page of the Stowe Reporter they used this picture to advertise the UVM Carnival…

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Yeah that was me freshman year!!!! After I saw that I just had to put on my sweats to represent! I wish I could have gone to cheer them on so my father did it for me.

All in all I am looking at the positives, ya know the little things matter: picking up my own leg, going up and down stairs faster every day, going to the bathroom alone, not being in excruciating pain, being able to put a little bit of weight on my leg, not watching the clock to see when I can take my pain killers since the pain has subsided a bit. Knowing that in a week I will start PT gets me excited and knowing that tomorrow I can shower for the first time since my surgery…which mind you was Tuesday.

Every now and then I get little bouts of anxiety and I get extremely frustrated and irritable and want to scream at the top of my lungs but I take a few deep breaths and it goes away temporarily. This is the first time in my life I have not been able to do the things I want to do and do them quickly. I am learning patience. Lots and lots of patience. This surgery, like I said in an earlier post, was the climax to many of my lifestyle changes, it was an eye opener and in a way I fear what my life will be like after, will I continue to be positive, to live my life with passion and with no fear? Because I will admit at times I used this as an excuse. But then I think, was it really an excuse? And if it was an excuse, what on earth was it an excuse for? It was an excuse for nothing except toning down my workout routines and relaxing a little bit more in life.

I changed my attitude and became more positive about life because I wanted to. It had nothing to do with my surgery. I know that all of the positive things I have learned, all of the strength I have gained in myself and my choices in life will continue as I go through rehab and as I return to full activity. Of course the positivity and strength will not change because it is who I am, it is a part of me and my character. Just because this surgery finally happened, doesn’t mean I will change my outlook on life. Yes I will get frustrated at times, but that is part of life. It is how I will overcome that frustration that it is important…just like the frustration I am overcoming now.

Like writing this post…It is frustrating because I cannot seem to find the words that I want to say or in the manner I want to say them. In my posts I strive for perfection, for those words that fit perfectly together, that blend so much that reading it is simply easy, that there is a flow, that it is fun to read. I don’t feel that fun when I am writing this post or the post two days ago, so I almost decided to not blog at all this week because these meds are causing this mental block and I don’t like it one bit. I haven’t written in my journal yet which is unlike me in a case such as this. I keep missing the right keys and have to back space more than I care to admit. But just like I am overcoming this surgery, I am forcing myself to overcome this “writers block” that I feel I have. So I write this post and will write again tomorrow even if it is hard and frustrating because I want to continue to challenge my mind as much as I am continuing to challenge my body…slowly challenge my body that is.

So it is my hope that this post makes some sense. 🙂

 

 

A little recap of surgery and day 1 of recovery

Well I made it through my first surgery and it was a success. Now just to recap yesterday…I got to Children’s Hospital in Boston at 11 am yesterday the 7th and didn’t get called for pre-op until 12 even though I was scheduled for 12:30 pm. At that point I was on hour 13 of fasting. If you know me, you know that I eat every few hours and that I love to eat. So in anticipation of this fast I went out to dinner and got a bacon cheeseburger on a brioche roll with truffle french fries and for dessert I had a scoop of caramel swirl and a scoop of coffee ice cream both of which came with a cookie…as if I had’t had 7 oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies already that day.

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When I got home from dinner I had two gingerbread donuts from the restaurant Trade on Atlantic Ave that my friend who manages it gave to me as a get well gift…or because he knows I am obsessed. If you have never been there, please do. It is amazing. Great atmosphere, great staff, great management, GREAT Malbec, although I really only go for the donuts…mmmm. I basically wanted to eat as much food as I could manage so that I wouldn’t fall into my night eating trap since I wasn’t allowed to eat passed 11 pm, which I can proudly say I DID NOT DO! I did not night eat. I remember one point in the night where I was sitting up in my bed trying my hardest to just lay back down and not head into my kitchen. I cannot tell you how proud of myself that I laid right back down and passed out.

I was so excited that I  got to sleep in which is a rarity and a God send because I was trying to stay out of my kitchen so I wouldn’t be tempted to use my new Nespresso machine and have my usual eggs and chicken sausage. Somehow I managed to do it. So mom and dad pick me up at 10 and I am on my way. Sitting in that waiting room for over an hour to be called in was torture. All I wanted was water, which I had to stop consuming at 10 am and a breakfast sandwich or a donut. Damn those donuts! Finally at noon they call my name….shit just got real. Is this actually, FINALLY happening???

First they have me pee in a cup…now my question is for you ladies, how the hell do you not miss that damn cup??? I mean seriously? Who has that kind of control? Clearly I do not know how. Baffles me every time.  (Remember now I am on some pain meds right now) They take my vitals, ask me questions I have been asked 10,000 times at this point, teach me how to use crutches, have me change into my hospital gown, have the hematologist come down and teach me how to inject Lovenox; a blood thinner that I get to inject into my body every 12 hours for the next 3 weeks…what a joy that will be, especially at work. Hey guys, who wants to inject me with a needle???

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Ugh. Finally I meet with the surgeon who is the coolest dude ever, then the anesthesiologist, sign more and more and more paper work, tell them my name and date of birth about 15 times, attach a little bracelet that says what I am allergic to, and mark and sign the hip to be operated on. My right one. Then the fun starts and of course I had to give two thumbs up for my first surgery.

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They inject the IV into my left hand which didn’t feel great but was totally bearable. Then comes the fun stuff. The relaxation drug that they give you before they bring you into the operating room. Being that this was my first surgery, I was shocked at how many people were in the OR. They told me who was who but I don’t really remember. Next thing I know they are injecting what I think was the anesthesia which really fucking hurt. Excuse my swearing but it felt like someone was running a knife up along my vein. I remember wanting to punch the guy but before I could manage a strong swing, I was out cold.

I guess it was an hour and a half surgery and it took me an hour to come to. Apparently I am super human and the amount of anesthesia they gave me wasn’t enough so they had to pump some more into my little body (as they referred to it after wards). So I awake with a startle and I immediately know where I am and what they had done because the pain in my hip was excruciating. Within two seconds my parents are there. They told me that I basically stared at the wall for a solid half hour, slurring any words that came out of my mouth. Then the nurse injects me with Lovenox, makes me take my Valium, Oxycodon and Tylenol, set me in a wheelchair and wheel me away.

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I was stoned out of my mind in this picture if you couldn’t tell. Next feat was getting into the damn suburban. Again, thank God for drugs. Sitting in the back of that bad boy I was a Chatty Cathy and totally fascinated by this little cold bag because whenever I squeezed the button sent nice ice cold water into the hip…heaven.on.earth.

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Thank God I was in and out of consciousness the whole ride home because my hip was really pissed off.

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This is a good representation of how I felt.

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Finally home. Drugged up, exhausted, in pain and  hungry, so mother effing hungry but since my stomach was a little queasy, this was all I managed…

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A small amount of chicken noodle soup and some toast and butter. I fall onto the couch shortly after so my dad can squeeze some ice cold water into the ice pack on my hip…

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Clearly so happy.

At this point it is 10:30 and the pain killers are no longer doing their job. I ask my dad when I can take my next dose…midnight. FML. So I take some sleepy medicine to pass out, have my parents lift my right leg onto my bed since there is absolutely no way I can even move that baby on my own, my dad squeezes the little blue ball to inject the ice cold water and I fall asleep for an hour until he comes back in with heaven.

Then 2 am rolls around…”Daaaad” I say in a cute and calm voice…”can I have some toast?” Thank god for parents. Let me tell you. They are the most amazing people in the world. My poor dad got up like 4 times to take care of me. At 4 am he comes back in with my 4th round of pain killers. I manage to sleep til 7:30, anxiously waiting for round 5. I eat some eggs and toast, take my drugs and pass out into dream land…seriously heaven on earth. I awake, start texting all my friends because I am already so bored…oh I forgot to mention I get to wear this cool little bracelet for 3 weeks…

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And one of my clients was nice enough to hook me up with a little care package that included these…

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Thanks Woody!!

Oh and then I got these…

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Thanks Rick and Kris!!!

So now it’s almost 3 pm and I am lying on my couch in my pajamas writing, always writing. I don’t feel too drugged up which is weird based on how out of if I was on my last 6 dosages. But oh boy when those pain killers wear off…damn. I never, ever want to have surgery again. Today has been a good day, minus I need help getting up, sitting down, going to the bathroom…oh and I can’t shower for 3 days…just a nice little sponge bath. Can’t wait to take the bandages off and see what my hip looks like!

All in all, nothing too crazy to report other than I can’t believe after two months of waiting in anticipation for this to happen, that it finally has and I am on the road to recovery. It’s funny when you look forward to something so much, while still appreciating every day, and when that one thing you look forward to happens, you think, what now? But then I realize I have a lot more fun ahead of me. So I leave you with this gem of a picture that depicts how I feel right now…mind you I have a broken IPad which is why it is slightly blurry. Go me.

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Oh and if you care to look at the pictures they took while fixing my hip…dig in..

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Under the knife…finally

It is finally here…surgery. I have never had surgery and I never thought I would be so excited to have surgery. I realize now that this whole blog has kind of been based around going under the knife tomorrow. Everything that has happened to me in the last 2 months has been triggered by my change in lifestyle because I was accommodating for the pain in my hip. Yeah there was the whole breaking up with the boyfriend thing which was in fact somewhat related to this but for the most part it was all just a wake up call that I wasn’t exactly living my life in a way that was healthy for me, mentally and physically.

Don’t get me wrong, my growing as a person into someone I can say I am proud of and want to be like started way before I found out I had to get this surgery but it seems that it was kind of accelerated because I was forced to find other things that made me happy besides CrossFit, working out twice a day, dieting, etc. I looked at this surgery as a time where I can reset everything, start from scratch. My body has changed, especially over these last few weeks with all this holiday madness, and it will continue to change and I have accepted it and will continue to accept it.

When I first started thinking about it, I realized this is somewhat of a climax or the end to a chapter in the book of my life but then I think that maybe instead of a climax or end to a chapter in one book, it is instead a chance to start an entirely new book. It’s like starting over in a way; starting over on the right foot…or left since I wont be using my right leg for about 3 weeks. 🙂 I’m proud of everything I have accomplished in my life, but even more proud of where I’ve been in the last 2 months. It’s crazy to me that I feel as though I have learned more about who I am in 2 months than I have in my whole life. It was like I finally figured out what is important. I won’t bore you with all of it since I have written about it in almost every post but I will recap on what is most important in my life:

1. Above all else – I am important. My happiness is important. The degree to which I love myself is important. Being proud of myself when no one else seems to care is important. (Although I am learning that a lot of people do in fact care)

2. Independence from others. Being able to smile and have a great time even when I am all alone. I can’t tell you the number of times I have had so much fun jamming out to Taylor Swift and Hunter Hayes, that I don’t even need to hang out with people. That has never happened in my life before 2 months ago.

3. Freedom from doubt, worry and negativity. And not all the time, just much more often than not.

4. Smiling every chance I get.

5. Remembering and acknowledging all that I am thankful for, all my blessings. Every.single.day.

6. Making time for friends and family. Telling them how much I care about them, how awesome they are and how important they are.

7. Remembering the power of “No”, standing up for myself and what I want in life which comes from self-confidence and appreciation of self.

8. Remembering that dieting and being super lean does not define who I am, the type of person I am or how worthy I am of my own love and others love…even though sometimes when I look in the mirror I want to throw a towel over it…or throw a rock at it. Either one.

9. Cooking for health and enjoyment.

10. Sharing my life with people or a special someone…someday.

11. Stepping outside of my comfort zone so that I can live my life as fully as I can.

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Which leads me to #12:

12. Writing. Writing has saved me these last few months. Without it, I’m not sure I would have made it, at least not in one mentally or physically stable piece. My life inspires me to write and my writing inspires me to live my life and I know it inspires some of you. And I don’t intend to stop.

There are so many other things that are important to me but it’s those first 12 that popped into my head before I really had to start thinking about it and they say what first comes to mind without thought is what’s truly important to us.

As I look back at the process to get here, I remember a few things about getting the diagnosis…skipping the primary care step saves a lot of time, scheduling with the receptionist can make or break your experience especially if you catch them making a huge mistake and scheduling you at the wrong office for the wrong procedure, hip arthrograms suck especially for the inflamed hip joint, sometimes anesthesia doesn’t work, when they say it will “sting like a bee” when they stick you with the needle they are in fact lying, hospital gowns are actually kind of comfortable, I quite enjoy MRIs because I fall asleep, nurses are very kind people (give them a high five when you see them), the whole process in getting diagnosed takes forever and because of this, and this was my most important lesson, if you have pain in your body that limits you in your daily activities, do not wait a year and a half to get it looked at.

It’s been quite a journey over the last 2 months and I am very thankful that I was able to write about it in my journal and write about it in my blog so that I could share it with all of you. I’ve received lots of emails, texts and phone calls to know that I am not alone in life, not alone in what I have been through and what I will go through and most shocking to me, that I inspire others with my strength and honesty. Even though I do look inside for my own strength, I have also always looked and will continue to look to others for strength because I used to feel I had no strength. Having this blog has helped me to find that strength I was desperately searching for and has allowed me to connect with others in a way that is truly inspiring. We really do feed off of one another. So thank you to you all for helping me to build my strength.

Now I wait anxiously for the hospital to call me and tell me what time my surgery is tomorrow. They will be attaching the labrum back to the bone and shaving down the bone growth on my hip. Thankfully it is an outpatient procedure and I will be home in Vermont tomorrow night starting to recover for the next week. If you are in Vermont, feel free to come entertain me and if you aren’t in Vermont, feel free to text me, call me, Facebook message me or message me on here to A) distract me, B) make me smile and laugh and C) give me some of that strength that I have always and will always need.

 

A New Year

On August 19, 2013 I decided to start writing again. I used to write all the time. I have journals from 10 years old and on. Now however I am forced to type because my hand cannot keep up with my thoughts. In Times New Roman, font 12, single spaced I have written 107 pages, NOT including my blog.

People ask what I write about. I just write. I write about what inspires me, experiences and people that I am thankful for and even experiences and people I would rather not have in my life for various reasons. I acknowledge what each of these people and experiences have brought to my life and I make a mental note for the future. I write about sadness and happiness. I write when I cry and when I laugh. I write promises to myself to help maintain my mental strength. I scream and I swear and I write in all CAPS.

I do this so that today, tomorrow, 10 years from now, 50 years from now I can look back and remember what I felt, how it affected me and how I came back from things that at the time seemed traumatic. I look back so I can see how I suffered, how I overcame, how I thrived, how I became stronger from it all with every passing moment, how I learned every day of my life so that I can appreciate everything I experienced. So that I can realize that when they say life goes on, it really does and if you work towards a better future, maintain a positive attitude and love with all your heart, that the future and the past is yours, blissfully yours.

So tonight, New Years Eve, I choose to stay in, drink Malbec (obviously) and write. To reflect on my experiences in 2013 and what I learned about myself. But more importantly, to write about what 2014 means to me, what I mean to me, what life means to me. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

What I learned in 2013:

1. I love Malbec. And no I do not have a drinking problem. I just love to up play my love for Malbec because it makes me giggle and giggling is so much fun especially when you live alone and you’re the only one that hears it. (hehe 🙂 )

2. I do not need a man in my life to make me happy and I REALLY don’t need a man in my life that makes me sad. To “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” NEVER again. Self-love baby!

3. It is never okay to lose yourself in someone else, to allow their actions and words to change your state of mind, your goals, your happiness.

4. It is crucially important to know who you are, to know your beliefs, to know your values, to know how important YOU are to YOU, and to love yourself above all else. If you can’t start with loving yourself, you will never love someone else the way you should, or in a way that is healthy.

5. That I have a semi-terrible voice but in singing passionately and at the top of my lungs, I have the ability to make myself nauseatingly happy. Music saves me.

6.  Speaking of saving me…I have amazing friends and family that have picked me up off my kitchen floor when I am having panic attacks and am so depressed that the floor is more appealing than the beauty of the world. And that being said…

7. I am stronger than I ever imagined I could be because I could have stayed on that floor and ignored the encouragement and positive words of my friends and family but I made the choice to pick myself up and brave the world.

8. I struggle every day but in that struggle I exhibit strength, energy and force and that is all I can really ask for in this life. Strength is beauty.

9. I hate dieting because I love cooking and food.

10. My struggles with my eating disorder (6 years ago mind you) still affects me today but does not define me. My body does not define me.

11. That I can eat donuts and scones 3 days before an underwear shoot, get the job and still look fucking amazing. Yes, I just said that. Confidence is key in this world.

12. That I know how to write and inspire people like I never imagined. I never imagined this because at one point I was at such a low that I never thought I would make it out alive, literally. To recover from that and connect with people like I have is shocking to me and truly a blessing. It brings me the type of pride that comes very rarely in one’s life. And to think it is all from writing about my life that for a while to me seemed a life that no one would want to live, not even me. Thank you to those who fought my fight with me, you know who you are.

13. To appreciate my family and friends, love them, cherish them, tell them I love them because you never know when they will leave this beautiful earth. Rest in Peace Jack Nash. I think about you every day. Alex Kende, it’s been over a decade but I will never forget the beauty you brought into this world in the short life you lived. I think about you every day.

14. That I can set a goal and more than accomplish it…I set a goal time of 1:45:00 for my second half marathon. I finished in 1:42:45.

15. When Robert Frost said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” He.was.so.right.

What I plan for 2014:

1. To wake up on January 1, 2014, take a deep breath of the single digit air and be thankful that I can actually wake up and breathe that air even though my lungs will probably freeze.

2. To continue to make myself nauseatingly happy by singing while writing, while in the shower (my best singing ever), while cooking, while cleaning, while walking to work in the morning (thankfully no one is awake when I do that), while doing anything that I do.

3. To make others happy, to make them feel special, to put a smile on their face simply because I can and simply because I want others to feel the joy I get to feel.

4. To never, ever stop writing.

5. To never stop being who I am and never stop living the life I believe in, ever.

6. To surround myself with people that allow me to live my life with the passion that I lost in the last 365 days but have regained just in time for a new year. For to me, a life without passion is a life not worth living.

7. To think of others and to treat them with the same respect that I would like back and to put others before myself when it is warranted.

8. To always forgive but also to sometimes forget.

9. To know that my past made me who I am and right now, I like who I am. Hell, I love who I am and I am proud of who I am and that my friends, is a first.

10. To appreciate everyone that comes into my life. Good and bad for it shapes who I am.

11. To love my family and my friends. To make time for them. To tell them that I love them, that I appreciate them. To tell them how truly awesome they all are.

12. Disclaimer: not crucial…BUT I would like to come across a man that changes my life. A man that loves that I think (a lot) and loves that I overanalyze things, albeit sometimes to a fault. A man that will be there for me when I am sad and when I am happy, that picks me up when I am down and lifts me higher when I am happy. A man that loves that I love to write, that I love to share my thoughts with the world, that I love to read, that I love to love, that I love passion, that I need passion in order to live. A man that loves me with his whole heart and doesn’t hold back, a man that cherishes me for everything I am and doesn’t blame me for my faults, doesn’t ask me to change who I am. A man that tells me to shut up when I really need to shut up. 🙂 I would like to come across a man that I love with my whole heart, that I love with passion, that I cherish, that I appreciate, that I pick up when he is down, that I lift higher when he is happy, that I have ridiculous amounts of fun with. A man that I don’t want to change, a man that I do not feel I need to change because he is everything I have always wanted, the good and the bad. A man that sometimes needs a slap in the face too. To find a man that makes me an even better person than I am today. Maybe that is too much to ask, but that is what I ask of 2014 (or 2015 or 2020, ya know, whenever he comes along).

13. To get the fuck out of my own way and always live every day of my life. To sometimes forget the past, to forget the future, to forget responsibility and truly live in the moment without regard for anything other than what is right in front of me. To embrace it and remember that some people don’t get that chance.

14. To stay positive about my hip surgery and my recovery. To not want to throw my crutches at anyone in frustration. To realize that after 6 months I can return to “full activity”, (whatever that means) and that I will be stronger than ever both mentally and physically.

15. And lastly, to run wildly into my future, dive in head first but never forget to appreciate the small, seemingly insignificant moments that make that future so unforgettable once it is in the past. To remember that although my future is ahead of me (obviously) that the present is right in front of me and that I finally feel that I am living my life the way I have always imagined I would.

I look back and think this:

Gosh 2013 rocked in so many ways. Good and bad. Now, I choose to go boldly into 2014, with my head held high and with a new found confidence, taking risks, loving with my whole heart, hoping for the best, striving for the best, knowing that if I maintain me, what I believe in and what and who I hold dear to my heart that I will forever be blissfully happy because it comes from me and no one else. And blissfully happy is something I will forever cherish because it took me 27.5 years to find it. I only hope I can make other people blissfully happy in the process.

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you all can appreciate 2013 as much as I did and to look forward to 2014 not because you may think 2013 sucked or was awesome, but because you realize 2013 taught you something, whatever it may be, and that lesson will impact 2014 in ways you’ve never imagined.

Peace and love…and always remember to JUMP!

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Compliments of Miss Lucie Wicker