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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Living in Fear

I have a friend who is striving to live fearlessly. Her proclamation started me thinking about how much I fear. And how much energy I don't have to deal with those fears.

These fears aren't huge philosophical fears. They aren't even cancer related fears--although there are plenty of those. I'm just playing ostrich about those right now.

I fear pain.

For over a year, I struggled with horrible tendinitis in my left elbow. No one can figure out why it was so bad. I did oral steroids. I spent hours in OT and PT. I paid for an MRI. I subjected myself to cortisone shots. I slept in a splint.

Nothing seemed to make any long term difference. It hurt. It hurt to hold my phone. It hurt to drive. It hurt to sleep. It hurt.

I couldn't swim. I couldn't run because bending my arm as I ran hurt. I couldn't do strength training. I couldn't read because holding a book hurt.

Anything I did hurt.

So, I became adept at doing nothing.

As that started to resolve, thanks to doing nothing, I began to experience  plantar fasciitis in BOTH heels. Walking hurt. Running was horrific. I did everything short of cortisone shots in my heels (because the thought of that was more than I could bear). I stopped wearing my favorite shoes, which may have helped somewhat. I got and wore inserts and heel stabilizers. I rolled frozen bottles of ice under my feet. I got massage. I did stretches. Nothing helped long term. I tried dietary changes that appear to have helped somewhat.

Regardless, all that keeps me pain free is to do nothing. To limit my walking. To just hang out on my couch.

It is the rare day when I don't at least have twinges to remind me that at any point I could be in agony again.

Over Spring Break, I walked 7+ miles in New York City one day. I had forgotten to switch out my inserts the night before, so didn't have them. I was in agony by the end of the day. I couldn't sleep my feet hurt so badly. The rest of the week was just an exercise in pain management. No day was as bad as that first day, but not once did I not think "when will this end, when can I sit down?"

Meanwhile, my overall physical condition deteriorates because I just sit around avoiding pain.

This has to stop. I have to exercise. I don't like feeling lazy and flabby. I know my mental health will be better if I exercise. I'll have more energy.

I'm whining, I know. I supposed I could drag myself to the gym and ride a stationery bike...gag me. I despise those things. I could try the elliptical. Again, those are torture devices. I love to swim. I don't have a schedule that permits swimming right now, especially given the added on hassle of changing before and after.

Meanwhile, the types of activities I do "enjoy" I haven't even tried because I don't want to hurt. I don't want to invest in new running or walking shoes if I'm just going to be in pain anyway. I don't want to try even minimal weight training if it's going to make my elbow hurt.

So, I sit on the couch, read, watch tv and just get flabbier.

Yep. That's what I do.