Monday, November 29, 2010

Surviving Stan

So, I did in fact make it back to my first Aerobics class at the gym tonight.  Yay for me!  I haven't been since at least June.  Mr. Perky and I started going together back in August 2009 and he's been diligent in still going.  It's every Monday night, so it's always a great way to start off the work week.  Our instructor is Stan and he is just the most awesome, upbeat guy.  He makes all the hard work just seem like it's no biggie.  Tonight was killer, but I made it through.  I had to stop going in June due to a series of injuries that ultimately lead to me having leg vein surgery. 

Back in May, I started playing indoor soccer again on a team for the first time in years.  I had a blast!  Until 3 weeks in and I tore my right calf muscle beyond belief.  So, there went Zumba, Stan's class, and general gym going for about 3 weeks as it was hard enough just to walk.  I didn't rest the muscle long enough and when I went back to soccer, sure enough, I strained the calf again.  Just as the calf was finally healing at the beginning of July, I threw my back out.  This is an old recurring soccer injury that ended my playing days years ago.  It had been years since it had acted up, but I guess with carting around an almost 18 month old (at the time), it took a beating.  So, I started going to the chiropractor twice a week.  He told me in no uncertain terms that soccer is no longer an option competitively.  My back can't handle it and probably is the main reason for the spasm. 

At the same time, he referred me to a vein specialist because he was getting concerned about the varicose veins on my left calf.  I've had these veins since I was 13 years old.  They were horrible to look at!  They were the main reason, I just didn't wear shorts and skirts unless I had to wear them.  My grandmother has the same kind and I grew up hearing that they were just a cosmetic problem and there's nothing really I could do about them.  So I didn't worry about them.  Over the years, I began to have a lot of pain whenever I jumped.  So, jumping jacks have been like torture for the last five years.  I never once attributed it to the veins in my legs.  I just thought because I'm heavy, it hurts.  A little pain never killed anyone.  Denial works in so many forms.  So, off I went to the vein doctor.  I left that appointment practically in tears.  The doctor could not believe that a 31 year old woman could have veins like that for over half of her life and not have done anything about them.  He asked me if I have pain in my leg.  I said yes, and he asked how I was able to do any type of excercise with all of that pressure in my leg.  All I could say was that I had just never noticed.  And that was true, but I felt like such an idiot to not have noticed that it was my leg making me hurt.  That when I feel sometimes like it's hard to move, it was because my left leg felt 50 pounds heavier than my right leg.  It's amazing how much I started to realize how I've lived with pain for years and just never really thought about it.  My mom has rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.  She has pain.  I figured my pain was nothing compared to hers and what right do I have to complain (even to myself) about it.  On the way home from that appointment, I thought about how almost every single day something on me hurts and it's been that way since I was a teenager.  From back pain, to foot pain (plantar fasciatis), to the leg pain, to knee pain, to mouth pain (my jaws are seriously out of alignment) and how I really don't need to just keep dealing with it.  I made a vow that I will start to take care of myself more and make getting rid of my pain a priority.  The chiropractor has already helped immensely with the back pain.  I went from twice a week to once a week, to twice a month, now to once a month.  As for the leg veins, I had two surgeries, one on a Thursday in September to kill the bad veins and the other the following Monday to actually removed the bad 'dead' veins.  I was supposed to be back in the gym by the beginning of October, but with my luck, wouldn't you know I got an infection in three of the nine incision sites.  So, there went another 3 weeks laid up on antibiotics and waiting for the swelling to go down.  But it has been so worth it!  The black and blue marks are almost gone and it still amazes me every day to feel down my calf and it's flat!  No more grotesque, huge tangles of veins sticking out.  And my left leg now feels the same as my right leg!  And I can jump!   I did jumping jacks during my first Zumba class and for the first time in five years, there was no pain!  And what a difference it makes in my running!  (I know I'm full of exclamation marks, I'm perky, what can I say?)  I can move so much easier now and I had no idea that my leg had been holding me back.  That was part of the motivation to try another half-marathon.  I figure this time around, the training could be much easier.  Come spring (and raise time at work), I can start thinking about finally getting the surgery I need to fix my jaw and my teeth.  It's expensive, so I've always had good reason to put it off.  So, I'm working on me, one body ailment at a time. 

So, back to the original start of my post.  (I meander and digress a lot, I guess I'll have to work on that).  I survived Stan tonight!  Tomorrow may be a different story as I'm sure my calves and my butt are going to be sore after the routine he put us through, but for now it doesn't matter.  I am just happy that I made it back to a class I love and a class I desperately need.  I'm getting my fitness routine back on track, one Stan class at a time...