The past few months have been a whirlwind to say the least...
As I reach the end of my resting week after surgery and this whole journey begins to circle around, I feel inspired to share this story of pain, expectations, misinformation surrender and healing. This is how I live my practice when off the mat.
In late November, my family planned a trip to the island of Kaua'i to celebrate an early holiday. At the time, I was dedicated to a really awesome and safe 5-day workout plan and was trying to get one last, hard and quick workout in before being away from the gym for over a week.
This was after meeting with a client the morning with needs for shoulder work. It was shoulder day at the gym and dips (a pretty iffy exercise when done carelessly) were prescribed after a morning of deeeeeeep shoulder opening. A relatively 'short' 15 hours later, we arrived on the Garden Island.
While I could write for pages about out trip and the fun we had, I'd rather save your time and show it in photos at the bottom of this post.
Long story short, the second day we were there, my partner and I went for a long, beautiful run on Powerline Trail. This was a pretty mellow trail but definitely had me gasping for air by the end of it! But besides feeling like my lungs were about to collapse, I felt like my arm was going to fall off!!
During the rest of our trip, I noticed pain and a decreasing range of motion and decided to make a doctor appointment when I made it back to the mainland.
Fast forward a half month to when I get an MRI and find out about a labral tear in my right shoulder cartilage cuff. The doctor tells me that I shouldn't be in as much pain as I am and that most active adults live with torn labrums without even noticing. She sent me off with an order for 5 physical therapy sessions.
This diagnosis left me heavy-hearted with the idea that this is something I would have to live with forever. My right arm, at this point, was causing a great deal of pain when reaching, folding my arms, doing many yoga poses, doing almost anything relating to my arms at the gym, and no I could longer could reach behind me at all.
Because of this first diagnosis, I thought I was being weak. I thought I was being wimpy and too sensitive. I thought I shouldn't be in as much pain as I was in and should push through it and pretend it was all in my head... So I did. Going to the gym and lifting 135 pounds and sometimes more, doing chaturangas and practicing handstands and inversions heavily, doing things I knew hurt but pushing through because it "shouldn't" hurt.
This "not-listening-to-my-body" went on for about 3 months despite my yogic background. Until one day I finally caved, with a lot of encouragement from family and friends, and made an appointment to go to a specialist at Front Range Orthopedics.
It took my doctor, Dr. Shah, about 5 minutes to tell me that my biceps tendon was also snapped at the place of my torn labrum. When he said this, I honestly started weeping. Tears of relief rolled down my cheeks and all I could say was "thank you." He scheduled me for surgery, and sent me on my way for a month's time to prepare.
Months of "should'ing" on myself about the pain and being weak. Countless times where I hurt myself more because I thought I should push through the pain because it was all in my head. So many weights fell off my shoulders at the moment my doctor diagnosed me correctly.
As I write this I am sitting in bed, still sore and hazy from surgery last week but ultimately grateful. Grateful to be writing this story of healing and prospering through the tough times. Losing ability in an arm as a fitness professional is scary and I unfortunately will not be teaching for about a month and will be limiting my schedule after that. But I am thankful to be on the path of recovery and to have the hardest part over with.
Just two days after surgery, I was back to doing a very VERY simple yoga practice and am delighted to say that I have not missed one day of meditation practice in this process of healing through force. One of my teachers and friends, Erik Schnackenberg, once said in class that sometimes your practice is not active, but restful. The idea of Wabi Sabi has an echo in that statement and I have been taking the rest needed though trying to do what I can to support healing and wellbeing.
Keeping a positive mindset has been beyond helpful during this time and all of the love and support I get from my partner, family, friends, and my community has been a strong foundation for this healthy thought process.
Closing this out with love to you all.