Once again….I am not allowed to run.
I wish I could tell you more about what this MRI says, but I have no idea. This was taken just this morning, so I’ll talk to my doc next week. There are several things I found interesting, though, even if I don’t know what they mean. I apparently have the number 7 inside of my body (upper left hand side). That is officially my lucky number now. 🙂 And my spine looks awfully crooked. I’m hoping that is how I was lying down, but I don’t know. And lastly, I love that I can see the hourglass figure of my body in this. See my indented waist? Isn’t that freakin’ adorable?!?
So here’s what happened. My back has been tweaking for basically 6 months. Two weeks ago, I woke up, thinking I would do a short run before work, but my left leg just wouldn’t work. The bottom part of my leg was completely numb, my knee was wonky and it just felt like my leg had been replaced by someone else’s. I felt like Sally in The Nightmare Before Christmas.
I saw my doctor that same morning and when she checked my reflexes, I didn’t have any at all in my left leg. My leg felt weak, which concerned both of us. She told me to lay off the running until I started physical therapy (next week) and we’d go from there. So while waiting for the therapy to begin, I’ve been using the elliptical machine and taking walks. Yet whenever I take a walk, my leg tires very easily and I have to concentrate on lifting my left foot up off the ground…or it will drag. This is what made me ask for an MRI.
I don’t know what any of this means, although I sincerely hope it’s temporary. I didn’t think I was that upset about not being able to run. If I need to trade the running for no more pain, then I’ll do it. My body needs a break and I’m ok with that. Yet…I haven’t eaten much over the past few weeks. Nothing tastes good. I’ve lost a few more pounds and I’ve been sleeping….a lot. Even when I have coffee in the evening. I’ve tried to spend more time with my family and have continued to exercise but I just don’t feel like myself.
What am I missing? Is it being outside so early in the morning? Is it the feeling of accomplishment after those 3 or 4 miles, like I’ve done something extraordinary before my son even gets out of bed? Or is it just how my body feels? The heavy breathing, the pounding of my feet against the pavement, my leg muscles aching with exertion?
Yes, yes, yes and yes. I miss all of it. But what I really miss? My self-confidence. It’s no secret that I’ve never had much self-esteem. I’ve often felt worthless, and I’m sure I’ll battle that feeling my entire life. But running has built up my confidence–the fact that I ran/walked/limped 13.1 miles while in pain the entire time has made me realize that I can do so much more than I ever thought possible. I’ve been standing up taller than ever before, with my shoulders back, looking proud. I am not weak or worthless. I am strong.
But right now? Right now I am not strong. I feel very fragile. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror yesterday and my shoulders were slumped. My eyes look tired, even with all the sleep. I’m trying not to worry about all the “what ifs”, but that’s nearly impossible. I have been thinking about what other sport or exercise I could do if running is no longer an option. Yoga? Bicycling? Martial arts? I don’t know. I don’t think I want to imagine the rest of my life without running. Not right now. But I do want to imagine my life without having pain in my back or my hip or my leg.
So….for now, no running. No plans to race in the near future. No marathon plans for 2014. No plans to run….at all.
Instead, if you are running, I will cheer you on. I’ll congratulate you on all of your races. I won’t hate you. I won’t be angry at you. Feel free to tell me about your latest run—how good it felt or what obstacles you faced. It’s ok. I won’t be mad and I won’t cry. Probably.
I will live through you. Have the best damn run and think of me, then tell me all about it. It will feel almost as good as the real thing. And it’s the only way I won’t be running behind you. 😉
So will you take me with you for just one run?