Monday, April 23, 2012

Lessons: Learning the Hard Way (Part 1)

I didn't get this finished the other day (when the prompt was given for the HAWMC), but here we go... I'm sure that there are many things I've learned the hard way over the course of my life. The one that comes to mind now is that things can be taken away from you in a single moment.

Sport Injuries
© 2002 Jamie Valendy
(I'm in the front)
I used to play softball and run. I loved to do both so much. They helped me work through some difficult times, and they provided an outlet for all of my emotions (both positive and negative). I made some great friends, and I learned a lot about myself.

© 2002 Jamie Valendy
On April 6, 2001, excruciating pain started in my left hip, while I was warming up for a track event. I found out that it was an overuse injury (tendinitis bursitis) - I think I worked out about 4-6 hours a day (between high school track/cross-country, pitching lessons, and both high school and recreational softball), so it really shouldn't have been a surprise. It was my choice to work-out so much - I loved the thrill of the competition, of challenging myself to get better, and reaching goals. So, as difficult as it was, I paused my participation in competitive sports and went to physical therapy. I did just as the therapist told me to, including taking time off from impact workouts (i.e., running). Once he began to let me start jogging / running, he slowly increased how much I could do. My coach told me not to run faster than a 10 minute mile... then a 9 minute mile... and faster, as my hip seemed to heal. I always finished almost exactly at whatever speed / time he would let me run, even though I was itching to run faster and push harder. Eventually, I was able to start joining in some of the team workouts, but my coach wanted me to completely heal before running competitively again. I was able to run in the last few cross-country meets of the (fall) season, and I actually ran a personal record.

© 2002 Jamie Valendy
(I'm on the left, #3546)
In August 2002, when cross-country practices approached, I was excited. But, before the season began, I woke up one day and couldn't move because my back was in so much pain (I happened to be staying at a friend's house, where we all just laid out on the floor). I had to go back to physical therapy for that, and I ended up missing out on running and playing softball during my senior year of high school. It broke my heart! I still miss being able to compete in sports so much.

My ability to compete in the sports I loved so much was a HUGE loss for me, and I've had trouble dealing with it. But, perhaps it prepared me for the larger loss that was to come years later...

Okay, so apparently I have quite A LOT of things to say, so I'm going to let the words come out, and then split them up into a series called, Lessons. I'm not sure how many blog posts it will end up being, but I'm interested to see where things take me.

Lessons Series:
Lessons: Learning the Hard Way (Part 1)
Lessons: Learning the Hard Way (Part 2)
Lessons: From Suffering to Empowered
Lessons: Learning From Life With Chronic Pain
Lessons: Learning to Accept Imperfection (Part 1)
Lessons: Learning to Accept Imperfection (Part 2)

This post was written as part of the Health Activist Writer's Awareness Challenge (HAWMC).

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