Holy Smokes What A Week!!!

I can’t believe what happened this week. Talk about completely unexpected, out of the blue, crazy, cool, exciting experiences! I wasn’t expecting to do ANY modeling whatsoever until I was back to being super lean, as I currently think I look like a beached whale but beached whale or not, I got booked 3 jobs with Reebok this week! Fit modeling on Wednesday, CrossFit photo shoot on Thursday (that was a long 10 hour day!) and a video shoot today. Talk about mind blowing! Never in my life did I think anyone would want to hire me when I look like I do. I find myself repeating positive affirmations all day long in order to keep my confidence. But apparently Reebok likes my look right now which I am so incredibly thankful for as I love the products and love the vibe of the company.

This whole week was a whirlwind between canceling and rescheduling clients at the drop of a hat, frantically booking a Zipcar last minute, driving to Canton for a casting on Tuesday, driving to Canton for the Fit modeling on Wednesday, driving to Canton (again) Thursday for the Crossfit photo shoot and driving to Quincy today. Oh, and trying to find time to breathe but I did it and I am so happy I did. I was hesitant because of the old body but encouragement from clients and friends got my ass in gear.

So let me take you on a little flash back…

Day 1: Fit modeling

What is it? When a company is designing a clothing line they need to fit the clothes to a living, breathing person instead of a mannequin in order to see how the clothing falls and what not. They have their sample size that is based on market research of what the measurements are of the average consumer that would buy the product. They need a model that fits the measurements they are looking for that fit the sample size they are designing. I have gone for Fit model castings a bunch of times at Reebok but never actually got a job doing it. Typically they like to stick with the same model as they design the line (at least that’s my understanding) so I think Wednesday was kind of like a tryout for me in a way and it was totally awesome. Imagine putting on an outfit (for me it was LOTS of bras, shorts, crop tops..basically minimal and tight) and having like 8 people looking at how the clothes fall and then discussing at length any alterations needed.

Pull this drop shoulder up. No that doesn’t look good. How about making it tighter? How about making the bra more revealing? We need to do something about those “cookies” (as in padding in the bra).What do you think if we made it shorter? We have to think about function over image here. No that doesn’t look good. Does that look too plasticky? Etc…. Lots of poking, prodding and pinning but it was kind of fun! I got to try on some kick ass clothes and I cannot wait until the line comes out! Best part about it…I won’t have to worry about trying them on again!

Day 2: 10 hour Crossfit photo shoot

Am I going to have to do Crossfit movements? Are you sure they want me? I haven’t really exercised in 10 weeks. Hush, Kara. I walk into the set and am immediately greeted with friendly faces. I ask very quickly what type of movements we will be performing that day…think box jumps, KB swings, squats, etc. but that wasn’t the case. The shoot was mostly stills. We held weights and what not but it was nothing too strenuous. Although I will proudly tell you that I did do a few dealifts with 95 lbs!!!! It was an extremely weird feeling since it has been so long but it felt so good! And to make it even more awesome, it didn’t hurt!!! Yippee!!!

The only thing I was really not happy about was they ordered Bertucci’s for lunch…pizza? Really? Of course I was starving and of course I couldn’t eat any of it because I still had lots and lots of shots in a bra and shorts. As I sat there enviously watching everyone eat pizza loaded with meat and veggies, I dreamt of having a piece after the shoot. I was literally banking on that and it was kind of what got me through eating my dry salad and veggies. Sadly by the time I finished, the pizza had been taken away. 😦 Huge let down.

One thing I love about photo shoots is getting my hair and make up done…

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Day 3:

Today was the coolest shoot I’ve been to because it was a video shoot which is something I’ve never done. I had no idea what this video shoot would entail but I was pleasantly surprised at how fun it was. Now I must admit, I struggle with posing. When a photographer says, “Alright, now we are just going to do poses for the outfit so change your pose every shot and make sure to mix it up”, I respond, in my mind of course, with an ummmmm, help! And I instantly start shaking in my boots…or Crossfit kicks in this case. But I’m learning.

So of course my outfit was shorts and a bra but I felt really pretty with my really pretty fish tail braid…

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So we walk on set and there is a short cat walk that is all black with a black back drop and bright lights everywhere. There is a sliding camera and about 15 people in the room. They have me rip out some push ups to get warm and boy was I proud of my 15 perfect push ups! I mean, I had to impress them. We are then asked to pose with some swagger, natural swagger that is. Finally, something I can do! Now I am not saying I have mad awesome swagger but I know how to throw it out there. I mean hell, I was wearing a bra and I was freaking out about my abs being not so ab-ish so I had to show confidence in my swagger. My wingman Tao was right by my side boosting my confidence about my abs (he was fully clothed of course). We gave our swagger in our poses and then were asked to walk the walk…with swagger of course. Show time Kara. I felt so badass!

We finished the shoot by simply standing in a few poses for a couple minutes each while the camera ran the length of our bodies to catch the details of the clothing. Of course my tattoos were somewhat of a hit too. 🙂 They wanted to “show the ink.” I watched as they scaled Tao and was amazed at how awesome it looked with the right lighting and speed. It’s amazing what they can do. Now I have no idea what the video is going to be used for but I would KILL to see what mine looked like. In those moments I felt like an athlete, like a model, like a hard core bad ass bitch and it was awesome!

After the shoot wrapped, I hopped in my trusty Zipcar and booked it back to my apartment, changed into casual preppy attire, hopped back in my Zipcar and headed to yet another casting call for Reebok. Show up, take one picture and leave. Then wait. Check email non stop. Hope and pray I get the job.

All in all the last 3 days were pretty awesome and I couldn’t feel more hopeful for my future. Not only for modeling but for the fact that every day my hip gets stronger and every day I get closer to being able to “return to full activity”. Until then I plan on enjoying every minute of this crazy and unexpected adventure we call life.

🙂

 

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Bruins on Bruins on Bruins. My lucky Saturday night.

Let me just start by saying life is grand. Before I get into my Saturday night let me just recap on some other exciting things…

Excitement #1:

I pre-emptively cleared myself to be off my crutches and it proved to be in my favor. Crutch free for exactly 1 week! My left armpit, hand and leg are thanking me for the reprieve. See ya Dora!!!

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Excitement #2:

On Thursday my PT got all wild and crazy on me when she had me do STEP UPS on a bosu ball! It still amazes me that every time I go to do something that is new to me since surgery, I get a serious moment of hesitation as if I don’t trust my hip. I mean it makes sense but it’s there’s a very odd dynamic going through my head. I’ve heavy lifted since I was 14 but the thought of doing step ups on an unstable surface scared the bejeebes out of me. Talk about positive mental encouragement. “Come hip! You can do it! You got this!” goes through my mind more often than not.

Excitement #3:

Another PT advancement. Lateral slides on the Bruins slideboard!!! Talk about AWESOME. My PT motioned for me to go to the back room with her so I knew she meant business. I am starting to drink water at PT which means I am working harder and therefore sweating so it only makes sense that I have to stay extremely well hydrated so that I can perform flawlessly in all these new exercises. I haven’t quite graduated to electrolyte beverages…I’ll save those for squat day.

Excitement #4:

My old fart of a dad turned 63 and was blessed with a 2′ snow storm up in Vermont. I can easily say this is the first time in 4 years I have been antsy to ski. But I am thankful my dad got to enjoy it. He took over the role of my ski technician, became my pseudo ski coach, my cheerleader, my supporter, my rock, my nurse after hip surgery, my verbal punching bag and my friend. I couldn’t ask for a more awesome dad.

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Excitement #4:

Now this is where life gets REAL exciting. So I do PT at the same office that the Bruins players go to for PT and I have been joking/secretly hoping to meet one of them ever since I started going there even though I know next to nothing about hockey and couldn’t have named a single Bruins player by their full name up until Saturday night.

So my girl Susan texts me and tells me that she is going to a fundraising event with some of her friends at West End Johnnie’s that night because Johnnie is running the marathon and was fundraising for the Bruins Foundation. She hinted, or rather blatantly threw in my face that there would be Bruins players there. ON IT. SIGN ME UP. Again, I wouldn’t have been able to pick out any of them out from a crowd so when I was asked which Bruins player I had a crush on once I got there, I was semi, if not completely dumbfounded. But boy was my little mind going to be blown!

Now I have this little habit of becoming completely oblivious to people around me once the alcohol hits my lips and that habit did not fail me Saturday night. So here we are all hanging out and Susan’s friend tells me all the Bruins players are in the corner of the bar and before I can say a thing, we start walking over. “Where? I don’t see them.” Of course they were literally right in front of me. Go Kara. So I start to check all these kids out and I notice one of them simply because his leather jacket was PHENOMENAL! I have a thing for leather jackets so I decided in my little brain that all I would do would be to ask him who made his jacket because clearly I didn’t want him to think I was hitting on him…too cliche. And he already had a few ladies throwing out the vibe and I didn’t want to interject.

So I casually, if not blatantly make eye contact with him and quickly look away. Then I find my eyes slowly circling back to look at his jacket and our eyes meet again. OK, Kara. Get your shit together and go ask him where he got the damn jacket.

“John Varvatos. Do you know that designer?”

“Of course! (mentally shaking my head no but pretending I do) Sorry to interrupt. I just really love your jacket. It’s legit amazing.”

“What’s your name?”

“Oh, I’m Kara. What’s yours?”

Obliviousness sets back in or I didn’t care enough to remember his name. I told him it was nice to meet him and just walked away thinking I wouldn’t ever talk to him again. Raffle ticket time and the fact that I won two pretty awesome prizes proved me wrong. Now I have never in my life won a raffle, ever, so after buying $40 worth of tickets I didn’t really expect much. When I drink, my eyes get really tiny and I can’t see much so I had to have my friend hold my tickets and listen to the numbers to tell me if I won. I suddenly get super in to knowing my raffle ticket numbers so I peer anxiously over her shoulder until she turns to me with excitement and tells me I won! So I bee-bop my way up to the table to claim my prize. It’s a hockey stick signed by #38. What is it with pro athletes and making their signatures totally illegible? Cool. So I walk back and the Bruins player with the really cool jacket asks me what I won. I proudly hold up my stick and ask who signed it…Jordan Caron. And who is the boy with the really cool jacket might you ask? Jordan Caron.

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Great. I think I walked back to my friends only to be told that I won again! So I bee-bop back up to that table to receive prize #2. I am just baffled that I won twice! I am handed yet another stick and as I start to walk away they catch me and give me this piece of paper as they mumble “letter of authenticity” which I can’t currently find. But cool. It’s a stick. I have two sticks now. What am I going to do with two sticks? Come to find out, this stick is signed by the Bruins team. WOWZER!!! Both of my sticks side by side look so good together.

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I am not sure how many people I almost knocked out with my sticks that night. So here I am walking around Johnnie’s with two hockey sticks that I guess are pretty valuable and with vodka soda running through my little body. Talk about recipe for disaster but somehow I made it out alive. Next thing I know we are standing at the end of the bar by the bathrooms and my friend turns to me and tells me two Bruins players just went into the bathroom and that I should catch them on their way out. I think he really wanted to set me up with one. Again, I am oblivious so when they come out my friend motions to me and what do I do?

“Where’d you guys sign my stick?” They kind of look at me awkwardly and I motion towards my white stick. I think they pointed out where they signed it but it’s a little fuzzy in my mind. So I end up chatting with both of them for a brief moment when all of a sudden one of them disappears. I come to find out it was Joe Murrow. Again. No clue. The one I end up chatting with for a while was absolutely adorable. Normally I would say hot but in this case I’d rather use the description of cute. Maybe it’s because he is 23 and I am almost 28 so it makes me feel old.

Now I am not sure how our topic of conversation switched to this but all of a sudden we start arguing about nutrition. I am currently studying for a nutrition certification and it just so happens when I drink, I get really smart (I think) and so I felt the need to educate him as he was telling me things that I just didn’t agree with. Next thing I know he tells me to give him my phone. Excuse me? “Give me your phone. I am going to give you my number and we are going to go to Whole Foods and I will blow your mind with nutrition.” Direct quote and yes he put his number in my phone and yes I texted him the next day and yes he remembered talking to me but didn’t remember my name which he said he felt bad about. Doubtful. Even if he actually did feel bad, it’s a bar, people are drunk and the only reason I remembered his name was because he put it in my phone. Unfortunately at that point we were both beckoned by our friends and we parted ways.

Even though my night didn’t end until 4 am that night, my highlight was by far the West End Johnnie’s event. Clearly the hockey Gods are telling me that I should try out for next years Bruins team. I mean I am doing PT where the Bruins go, I am using their slide board, I now have two sticks, one of which was actually used on the ice AND I met 3 players that night. Bruins on Bruins on Bruins. Maybe I will start paying attention a little more now.

Saturday night was my first real night out since surgery and it couldn’t have gone any better. Huge smiles from this kid! Things are looking up! Watch out Bruins. I’m comin for ya!

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Oh and the sticks…well those are going to my big brother Miles for his birthday which isn’t until June but I think it’s acceptable. Love ya kid. 🙂

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Happy reality: My hip is getting stronger. Frustrating reality: I got fatter, obviously.

Oh boy, oh boy! Guess what?!?!?!

Exciting news! I have made some tremendous progress this week! I was re-introduced to…

LUNGES!!!!! YAYAYAYAYAYA!!!!

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Yeah. That’s right. BODY WEIGHT FORWARD LUNGES!!! BAM! See below for the video shot by my girl Susan at work:

It’s funny when you spend your whole life as a competitive athlete, never having had an injury and then when you stop your sport, you up and have surgery, and hip surgery at that. What am I, 27 going on 80? So here I am standing in the parallel bar contraption, staring at myself in the mirror and I find myself being NERVOUS about taking that step forward, lowering my knee to the ground and pressing off that front foot to come back to standing. I started to move my foot but stopped finding it was a lot harder to initiate this movement than I ever imagined but I did it. I took that first step and it felt so good!!!

For the first time in 2 months my quads were tired, also known as the “jelly” feeling!!! I left PT feeling like I had lifted a million pounds and I felt like a million bucks! I had a hop in my step (with my 1 crutch of course) all the way back to work and I couldn’t wait to show everyone at work what I could do! After a few hours of being high off of my new exercise, I found myself down playing it. I mean who gets excited about body weight lunges? But then I remember what they did to my little hip 2 months ago and remember that for me, body weight lunges are progress and are therefore something to be extremely proud of although I find myself struggling to accept it at times. Trying to not compare yourself to what you once were is really, really hard.

About that comparing…on Tuesday my agent emailed me to tell me Reebok had requested me for a fit modeling job. Hm. Well, I am softer than I was, a lot softer. He said it didn’t matter as long as my measurements (bust, hip and belly) weren’t drastically different, which thankfully they weren’t but what was  I forced to do in addition to those measurements? Body fat. Shit. My go-to guy at work who got me into modeling and has helped me with my dieting and workouts decided it would be a good time to step on the In Body which measures your body fat via bioelectrical impedance.

“ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!? I haven’t worked out in 2 months and you’re telling me that you want me to step on that devil of a machine that will tell me how fat I got????”

“Well if we are doing measurements we may as well do all of them”, he says as he presents this demonic smile.

I begrudgingly got on the damn thing. As all my clients and I know, this stupid machine can seriously make or break your day. I step on it and my weight is 135 lbs. A whole 10 lbs heavier than the last weigh in which was some time in October. I try to make the excuse that I am wearing long pants and that has got to be at least a pound. Get a grip Kara. I grab the handles and he enters my information, pushes the button and that stupid calming music comes on that is really not calming at all as I wait in anxiety stricken anticipation to know the results.

I hear the ding that indicates it’s all over. Judgement time. I don’t want to look down and get that feeling of frustration that I know I am about to feel but I have to look…23% body fat. I have never in my life been above 21% body fat and for a brief moment I feel absolutely disgusting especially because the last time we had done my measurements I was around 14%. I shouldn’t be surprised considering I went on a cookie eating frenzy after surgery. I seriously should have been called the cookie monster.

The beauty of this machine, however, is that it also tells you how much muscle mass and fat mass you have. Being one to look at the positive in every situation I decided to focus on the good news in all of this. I have lost 1 lb of muscle mass, 1 lb! That’s it! But then, just to ruin my moment of happiness, I am told how much fat mass I gained…oh dear God. I have gained 10 lbs of fat. Do you know what that looks like???

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Now multiply that by 2. Look at the difference between fat and muscle. Ignorance truly is bliss. As I walk away from that back room where reality hit, I can’t stop saying, “Ten pounds of fat. Ten pounds!” and I can’t stop thinking about it the rest of the day…or right now.

But to be honest, I am not that upset about it. I am just in shock because that’s a rather large amount of fat. Thank heavens that it distributed evenly and didn’t just inhabit my stomach or my saddle bags or my bingo arms also known as my imperfections. These body parts I have called my imperfections that I learned to love before surgery seem to no longer be imperfections but simply a part of me. I look different, that much is clear and I don’t always like how I look right now but that’s life. Tough shit. It’s to be expected and there isn’t too much I can do about it besides remain positive and keep doing my PT exercises as I am cleared to do them.

I love my body. I love my body. I love my body. But wait, my body does not define who I am as a person. No one likes me any less because I am a “chub scout” as my go-to nicknamed me. My character, my attitude, how I treat myself and others defines who I am as a person. I can’t repeat enough how much this whole thing has changed me and how I wouldn’t change where I am for all the chocolate chip cookies in the world. Every day is a new day and every day I get stronger in my hip, my mind, my heart and my attitude. I made it 2.5 hours without my crutches today at work before it spasmed. That felt amazing. Walking around without crutches. Heaven. My left hand and shoulder were glad for the break.

As I left PT on Friday, I was told I get to do step ups next week. Step ups!!! Yippee!!!!! Small accomplishments become big ones if you approach every day with perseverance and enthusiasm.

“Perseverance is born out of affirming each small accomplishment along the way to a larger goal.” – Bob Greene

 

Progress baby!!!

So it seems to have been a few weeks since I have written about this whole recovery process and I think it is in large part due to the fact that this progress, shall we say, has been a little less than slow. I had my 2nd post-op appointment with my surgeon last Wednesday and after waiting over an hour, as he was late, to spend my 5 minutes with him, he told me that I am further along than most at 6 weeks. Is that all it’s been?!?!?! Six weeks?!?! I told them it had been 7 and they reassured me it was 6, not that I am counting. Oh wait, I am. I have been counting the weeks incessantly, willing them to go by faster so I went back and counted again…it’s been 7. Get it right doc. It was nice to hear that I am progressing to expectations.

I still have Dora by my side to prevent catastrophe after spending hours in the double digits every day and I kicked Boots to the curb which means I am on one crutch all day! I had a minor hiccup a few weeks ago because I got a little ambitious about cleaning my house and backed into my door, smashing my hip forward resulting it to spasm and cramp for a week. I can’t help but remember how discouraged I became after that night and the days to follow as that entire week I was back on two crutches, often being unable to put any pressure on the leg. Come to find, thanks to my PT manipulating the hell out of my hip, that I didn’t re-tear it, as that was my fear, but instead just “severely pissed it off.” Not only did I get to hang with Game Ready that day, but I was blessed with e-stim. Heaven. On. Earth.

He explained that the cramping and spasms I was experiencing was from the scar tissue that had built up from the surgery and he wasn’t surprised by it due to the hours I spend on my feet. It was limiting the muscle surrounding the hip from working properly and since I was using my leg all day long, a too much too soon situation, the body decided to protect my hip and tighten up causing some not so nice pain and discomfort that was not eased by any OTC pain killer. Valium? Anyone?

Thankfully after a weekend of rest and recovery, my hip was back to normal and I was back to be-bopping around the gym on one crutch. Getting overly confident, I often find myself walking faster than people NOT on crutches. The general manager of the club keeps yelling at me to “slow the eff down.” I even braved the walk to work a week ago!!! It had been, at the time, 6 weeks that I had been unable to walk to work which is sort of like my sanctuary, my way of easing into the noise and hustle and bustle of the day. And I did it on one crutch! I was euphoric and so proud. Funny how proud I was for something so small but these small feats are what keep me going.

About those small feats…after my brief setback, I motored on forward with PT. I am now doing the following…

1) Straight leg stability ball leg lifts – 2 sets alternating for 30

2) Stability ball hamstring curls 2 sets of 15 (talk about burning hamstrings. I can’t stop laughing when I do these because it’s so hard. I remember the days when I did single leg for 15 reps)

3) Side lying clams 2 sets of 15 (absolutely no mobility or strength there)

4) Side lying hip abduction 2 sets of 15

5) Leg press machine – no, not the one you see at the gym but the one solely in PT offices that have bands to create resistance and you lie completely flat. Oh how I yearn for the days I can do the regular leg press. 2 sets of 15

6) SINGLE (WOOHOO!!!!) leg press 2 sets of 15

7) Standing hip abduction 2 sets of 15 (oddly enough the left leg is harder for me)

And best of all so far…

8) Single leg balancing on a foam pad!!!!!!!! 2 sets of 1 minute each leg. REALLY PROUD OF THAT ONE!!

Never, in my life did I think I would be sweating from all of that nor would I be legitimately exhausted. But then I stop to realize how far I have come in 7 weeks and I can’t help but be really proud of myself. And my PT even told me that we will start getting more into building strength. I can’t wait to see what that entails!! I smile every time I come back from PT now. I’ll be squatting in no time!

Speaking of squatting, a lot of people at the gym ask me if I am going crazy at this point. Some days yes, but most days no. I have come to learn what it means to really be patient with my body. I have come to accept (most days) my “softer” look. There are days where I look at my body (or at all the fitness freaks on instagram and their hot little bodies) and yearn to be as lean as I was this past fall but then I remember that I had joint pain all the time, was overly exhausted, running on adrenaline and not having any fun. I had forgotten how to enjoy life for all it is and all that it has to offer.

I have had more time to do things that I love like reading and writing. I have had more time and energy to put into my job as I am busier than I have ever been. I am rejuvenated in a way I never really thought possible. I have had more time for friends and family. I have learned to value and appreciate my life and myself. There has been so much growth that I don’t think would have happened if it wasn’t for this surgery. I was forced to slow down, to take a look around and to rediscover myself. I have been surprisingly at peace and calmer than ever. This surgery was a blessing in disguise and I wouldn’t change having to have it for the world. And plus, I get to eat Doritos and not feel guilty!!

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I can only be excited for my continuing progress as I know that every day my hip gets stronger. I know when my body is ready that I will be back in action 100%. For now though, I can only be happy doing my basic PT exercises. OH! Wait! I didn’t mention that I actually SWEAT the other day during my bike ride. I FULL ON SWEAT!!! Do you know what it feels like to sweat after 7 weeks of NOT sweating??? I didn’t want to stop!! It was amazing!!! I was waiting for the day when I could bike hard enough to do that and it came yesterday!!! Long term goals are great but it’s the short term ones that keep us going and sweating was one of them!!! YIPPEE!!!!

Some progress pictures with the incisions or as they are really termed, “portal holes”…

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