Believe it or not, Voldy has a birthday today.
Remember him? He's the keepsake from that freaky (misdiagnosed) staph infection that landed me on the operating table for emergency surgery.
While he was pretty ugly to look at, for a very long time, now he's kind of grown on me. Well, at the very least, I've gotten used to seeing all six inches of him on a daily basis. After all, things could have played out much worse had I not bypassed my local doc (and seen the specialist instead) on that fateful day, June 29th in 2017.
While we won't be celebrating with a grandiose party (or even a miniscule cake), it is a day that will always have significance to me.
Care to hear a few of the lessons learned from my experience with Voldy? BTW, that's the scar's nickname, short for Voldemort (appropriate?). These are actually more life lessons than injury/surgery/recovery lessons...
I really learned to appreciate the valuable sport of walking. I have always enjoyed walking, and had always done it frequently on my non-running days, but it became my main fitness poison for those three months when running was forbidden. The scar was six inches in length, and was just slightly off-center over my right knee. For the first 10 days or so, I was advised to keep my leg as straight as possible to allow the suture seam to "seal." After the stitches were removed, I was given the green light to walk, but with caution so as to NOT cause the healing seam to split back open. Since I couldn't enjoy sunrise runs, for the time-being, I substituted sunrise walks...and they were (almost) every bit as enjoyable. It's been four years, and I still walk a lot on my recovery days (and even on my running days as well).
My love for summer running increased. Have you ever had something, that you loved, abruptly snatched away from you...and you grew to love it even more while it was missing? Well, that's what happened to me. Although I was able to walk everyday, I still had pretty severe FOMO for all of my friends who were able to run under the hot sun (or in the early hours, or in races, etc.). I can assure you, once I was given permission to resume running, all whining and/or complaining over the miserably hot weather ceased. That's not to say that I love the heat and humidity these days, but I'm simply grateful to have the choice to run under those conditions. I don't take it for granted because I know there are probably countless others, who may be injured or side-lined, who would gladly trade places with me.
Having a positive attitude was crucial. I strongly believe my glass-half-full mentality is what carried me and enabled my rally-back to be so successful. Yes, there was a pity party that first evening in the hospital, but it lasted only (maybe) 20 minutes...and it was more fear-based than frustration. I knew my recovery would be successful if I did what my surgeon told me, and the three month running sabbatical was a very small time frame in the grand scheme of things.
Things could have been so much worse. Having never experienced a staph infection myself (or any of my friends or family), I had no idea what it entailed much less the seriousness. It wasn't until talking with the infectious disease doctor that it became crystal clear how much my life would have been in danger had I waited any longer before seeking further treatment (my family doctor had been out of the office, and her partner misdiagnosed my condition).
|I spent a week in the hospital, waiting for my white blood cells to stabilize|
Being sidelined really opened my eyes... not just to what I was missing (running), but also to what I still had (walking, strength-training, and core work). I quickly realized it was far better, no matter the situation, to appreciate and celebrate what I could do rather than dwell on what I temporarily could not. Coincidentally, this mindset served me well, three years later, when I dealt with my first-ever stress fracture.
So, would I ever wish this on anyone else? Or desire to experience it again? Both answers are a definite NO. But, do I have any regrets for what I went through? Again, NO. While running is a big part of my life, it is not my entire life. I was forced to pivot , and do other things (at least in terms of fitness), and that all worked out for the better. I think I came back stronger for the battle, and with a much more grateful heart. Tell me that's a bad thing.
Anyways, that's a very brief synopsis of what went down four years ago.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have someone to sing Happy Birthday to.
Have you ever been sidelined, long term, from running? Ever been a victim of a staph infection, or emergency surgery?