So the insurance had said no to a recent request for a Ketamine Infusion and apparently the medical/insurance world closes down during the holidays. As you know, I was devastated upon hearing that news. I was in fear of the unknown and felt that so many things were out of my control. (Read more here). Thankfully the more mindful me stepped in and I knew I had two choices. I could allow the decision insurance had made to ruminate in my thoughts and in turn trigger relentless pain…Or I could move forward with the best way I knew how. One foot in front of the other.
“When life gives you lemons, make Lemonade.”
I decided I would first do a trial. At this point in my life I am always nervous of committing to anything. Time after time I have had to break a promise, cancel plans or move an important date, just because I couldn’t physically make it. So I signed up and opted for the 24/7 access so I could go even on the hours that it was closed. (The small community I live in-NOTHING is open on Sundays or in the evenings!) And just like that I was a member of a gym again.
Something inside me stirred in excitement as I signed numerous waivers and I was given a key to the gym. The tall guy behind the counter was frustrated that I had come 15 minutes before they closed on Christmas Eve. I apologized but knew I had to walk through that small window of opportunity before the holidays were over. Small talk, rules and fees were discussed and then he offered to give me a quick tour. I thanked him but declined. “I’ve been in gyms my whole life,” I said quietly, knowing that my outside figure did not support this statement what-so-ever.
Normally this would have bothered me. I would not have joined the gym so close to New Years. I didn’t want to be judged by others for jumping on a bandwagon. But my priorities had shifted in the last 2 years. I no longer gave a shit about what people thought of me. I was what mattered. I was the body that had suffered endless treatments, injections and taken my nervous system through 15 medications with no relief. This body needed celebration. Not judgement from others who did not know my story.
I was proud of my body. I was humbled that each and every time that I was pushed down, something inside me pushed back even harder. My body was my hero. (I know it sounds corny!) I didn’t know how this body did not give up after all of the wrenches that had been thrown in 2016. My loss of mobility/walking over the summer and a flare that torched every part of me, took me down a dark and scary path that I hope I never have to re-experience. But something inside of me kept going. It kept pushing and moving forward. Some days I would crawl to the bathroom and scoot my butt down the stairs. Other times I cried through tough physical therapy sessions and laid on my office floor trying to breathe through the flames of pain. And now, here I was. It was Christmas Eve and I had given myself the best present in the entire world.
This trial month wasn’t a joke or a fad or something I would grow tired of. I had earned this. I had worked my ass off for months upon months to get to this point.I had practiced walking up and down my stairs. I had walked laps in the therapy pool. I was ready.
Later that evening, I used that key to unlock my first workout. I climbed the stairs to the top level as a tear of gratitude rolled down my cheek. I was so grateful to be able to climb these stairs, much less climb them and then go work out. When I got to the top of the stairs I took in the room.
Familiar machines, heavy weights, punching bags, jump ropes, free weights and equipment filled every corner of the room. My heart raced with excitement and I felt my muscles ignite in every part of my body.
Every weight that was picked up, my body got into the proper position without me even thinking or guiding it. Muscles flexed and gave me their all. A burning feeling of pain flickered through my legs but this feeling was different. This was old familiar territory of pushing through boundaries and signified strength. I breathed easily through the reps. Although I was weaker compared to my old self, I was the strongest I had been in over 2 years.
It was tough to hold back the reins that day and not enter a workout frenzy through the adrenaline. But once again, I had worked too hard to get to this point. I wasn’t going to mess it up with a super girl attitude. I knew I was starting with the basics and that was okay with me.
Through the sweat and perseverance of those first few days I felt the return of something incredible. The return of Me. The strong, fierce, independent redhead emerged as I continued to push past my limits. I looked in the mirror and she stared back at me. She wasn’t dead. She had been here all along. Here I was. Standing. On one foot. Balancing. Engaging every muscle in my feet, ankle and calf. Finding renewed strength where there had only been pain.
After all this time of searching I never thought that I would find a piece of myself in a musty gym while lifting heavy things.
As I write this tonight, I am once again energized by the gym routine I was able to get through earlier this evening. I walked through my front door with so much excitement and inspiration that the dogs didn’t even get to me before I had opened my laptop and began typing this post. I was inspired by movement. I was inspired by strength. I was inspired by me. I thanked myself, my body & that piece of me that showed up.
I am not the thinnest I have been, the strongest or even close to my normal pant size but for now, in this moment, I am at the best place I can be. I honor the journey that I have been through and the horrific physical experiences that left scars of fear on my heart and soul.
Each step is a victory and overflows my heart with gratitude.
I am going to enjoy these moments. I am going to reconnect with the piece of me that was taken away with CRPS. I am going to thank my body. I am going to get strong. Hopefully these trial days turn into a year commitment and then into a lifetime. Going to the gym is no longer something that I hate. It is the place where I praise this body and I work to move forward. I try not to think about CRPS that may be lurking in the darkest because I cannot allow this disease to take any more joy. I have faith that whatever happens to me, to this body, that I have the ability and the will to push further. I will always choose to make lemonade out of lemons and when things get really tough, I can also make a killer Margarita.
Much Metta, Kelly