Surviving injury setbacks and recovery

Injuries suck. No two ways about it, discovering last week that I had indeed fractured my rib at T10 when I (intentionally) fell off the toilet during early morning colonoscopy prep was shocking and profoundly sad. 

The orthopedic doctor I saw compounded my frustration when he insisted I immediately start drinking 3 glasses of skim milk everyday to improve my bone health. He essentially threatened my 75 year old self by telling me I’d be falling and breaking bones left and right if I didn’t improve my calcium intake by immediately starting to drink lots of milk.

Pain slows me down, blessing in disguise?

The pain I’ve been coping with since I fell off the toilet on January 21st has been an amazing teacher. It has forced me to slow down, not something I do easily. I have a high pain threshold so listening closely when pain is knocking on my door takes courage and focus. A broken rib hurts. Not quite as bad as the pain I experienced having a mastectomy, but close. The worst is the pain when breathing deep. I went running twice and I went swimming twice and that was 4 exercise sessions I would have been wise to not do. 

Finally I tuned in. I am now limiting my exercise to walking Sam and doing the Workout for Women app sessions that don’t have core work. Sit ups aggravate the pain, go figure! 

I am allowing myself to feel all the feelings. I got massively depressed for two long, sad days. I cried. I felt disappointed and I worried that I was losing all my fitness. It was a challenging few days. 

On Top of Your Game!

Thankfully I remembered Carrie Cheadle who is a Mental Skills Coach who works at Diabetes Training Camp. Carrie has a book, On Top of Your Game: Mental Skills to Maximize Your Athletic Performance. I own the book and I’ve worked with Carrie. Carrie has some serious injury wisdom. I found the book and re-reading Chapter 9: From Obstacles to Opportunity is saving me.

I remembered that I can be a victim of this rib fracture and massive athletic interruption OR I can view myself as a warrior who has a new obstacle to figure out. Instead of focusing on everything I can’t do, I can shift my focus to what I can control. I took a deep breath and made the shift. 

Gathering with friends

At the moment I made the shift, my athlete friend Monica sent me a text inviting me to an outdoor gathering at Monica’s backyard fire pit. The reason Monica wanted us to gather is that usually we all run together on Saturdays, but because of my rib fracture, I haven’t been able to join them. They missed me and I for sure missed them. 

The outdoor, wear a face mask or two, gathering was a safe, fun way for us to gather. Never mind that the temp was 1 degree Fahrenheit!! We all have excellent cold weather gear (see our puffy jackets in the photos above!) and we hung out for nearly an hour laughing and reminding each other how awesome we each are. That boosted my spirits immensely.

7 things I control related to my fitness & life

It took me a day or so to remember the items I can control. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. I can modify my half marathon training plan. From today, February 12th, I still have 11 weeks to train for the event on April 24th. Given my fitness level, that’s enough time to train for the half marathon. Realizing that calmed me down.
  1. I can still ride my bike trainer. I can sit up straight and not twist as I ride. My rib can keep healing as I ride the bike.
  1. I can walk Sam. He loves it and despite the cold, we bundle up and we walk at least 10k in steps. I always feel good after we walk in the morning and evening.
  1. I can still do the Workout for Women app every day, with a few modifications. Along those lines, I make an effort to do wall sits, planks, lunges and squats.
  1. Because I’m doing less exercise, I have more time to work with Dana of Integrated Diabetes Services. She’s helping me navigate taking Victoza again to help with my weight loss goals. She’s also helping me manage my food intake and insulin pump settings. I promise, there’s a blog post coming about how amazing it is to work with her!
  1. Again, because I am limited in my exercising abilities, I have a bit more time to spend  on self publishing exploration for my book. I confess, I am pretty excited about what I’m discovering! 
  1. I am meditating more. As I’ve mentioned previously, meditation is an incredibly helpful practice. By meditating, I slow down my body, specifically my breathing and my central nervous system. This allows my whole system to more deeply relax. I suspect this helps my bones heal!

Just writing this list of seven things that are in my control reminds me that taking a time out to heal can work in my favor. Have you ever been injured and had to figure out how to keep yourself motivated and fit? Please tell me how you handled it.

Thanks for reading! How do you handle injuries? Please let me know in the comments. I really appreciate hearing from you!!

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4 thoughts on “Surviving injury setbacks and recovery”

  1. You are an inspiration, Mari! Focusing on what you can do is vital. You’ll be back to running in no time!

  2. So glad your rib is healing and you are able to look at this as a time to reflect, explore and grow in ways that wouldn’t have presented themselves had this not happened.

    Two years ago I didn’t walk once outside in the winter! I’d fallen the year before and hurt my shoulder and neck and it took a year to mend. I was scared of falling again. It took a puppy with high energy to break that pattern of thinking. And now look—I’m not only walking 10K+ steps everyday, I’m a winter runner thanks to you and Jenny!!!

    I learned that the body heals and I can aid it by listening to my inner voice, listening to the advice of others and seek help when I need it. They seem like simple ideas but in the thick of a debilitating injury, those simple ideas can get lost in the immediate—I won’t be able to do XYZ again!

    See you soon my friend!

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