It's been an interesting two years.
It hasn't been easy, but it's been very enlightening. Definitely not a journey I'd choose to repeat, nor wish on anyone else, but it left me with some valuable lessons. And I'm ever grateful for the experience.
In case there's any doubts, I'm talking about my journey with Voldy.
On June 29, 2017, my life was turned upside-down when a misdiagnosed staph infection turned rampant. A simple follow-up appointment, for what started as a bursitis flare, had me (unexpectedly) on the operating table...emergency surgery to "clean and flush" as much of the infectious matter as possible. Next, I camped out in a nice room at a beautiful hospital, for an entire week, as we waited for the 6-inch suture seam to stop draining and for my white blood cells to mellow out. Finally, when I was released, I went home with a PICC line, and had to administer in-home IV infusions (3X/day) for a few weeks. Fun times!
Incidentally, I named the 6-inch suture seam Voldemort. He's been a part of my life ever since.
Thus my journey of gratitude began....
Care to hear a few highlights and lessons learned?
Right away, I chose to focus on what I could do and not dwell on what was (temporarily) taken away. Although I was not allowed to run, I was encouraged to do upper-body work to maintain my fitness and endurance. There was all kinds of planking, push-ups, and arm/shoulder strength work in those first few weeks.
My biggest victory, though, came from the gratitude I'd experienced. I had a pretty major epiphany one morning, while out walking. I was struggling with the envy I'd been feeling towards all of my running friends. I would have gladly traded places with any of them for a chance to go for a hot, sweaty summer run. Then it occurred to me that there were probably many other sidelined runners (or athletes, in general), who weren't even able to walk pain-free...and they'd probably gladly trade places with ME. Can you say, "turning point?"
My rally back continued through 2018, rewarding me with some decent finish times at races. I can't help wondering if I was just so thankful for the pure joy of being able to run, that some of the speed (that had been MIA in recent years) kind of returned on its own?
I've always been a glass-half-full gal, but I certainly was tested throughout my recovery. Time and again, though, I have had other experiences and situations that have been tough to face. I'm convinced my renewed positive outlook has served me well.
Case in point, this past winter. Remember all those treadmill runs (like, 20 of them?). As much as I detest the treadmill, it really was my only option for a huge chunk of the 2019 winter. I chose to take control of the ugly situation (my treadmill is pretty nasty, just saying), and tried to make those runs a little less boring. Unbeknownst to me, I was doing speedwork disguised as "hurry up and get me off of this thing." My spring races confirmed that my time with Milly was well spent.
Anyways, those are just a few lessons learned from my setback. Little did I know, that setback would launch me forward to even better things...and not just as a runner. It's been two years of growth, gratitude and strength...and I have Voldy to thank for it.
**Full details of my surgery, recovery and return to running are HERE.
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