Here is something to remember: Things change. Perhaps I don’t have to remind anyone reading this blog that change is a part of being alive, but every now and then, I have to remind myself.
For the past several years, walking has been my place of reprieve, renewal and reflection. Regardless of where I might find myself physically, I knew that at the beginning or end of any day, all I had to do was lace up my shoes and walk out the door to find the peace of mind and calm that so often elude me during my workday.
After nine weeks of recovery from my mastectomy I went back to work. And as much as I had agonized over jumping back into the reality of a 9-to-5 life, it actually felt really good. I hate to say it, but left to my own devices, I have a propensity for just sort of lazing around. My friends and family assured me this was necessary for me to heal – but there was a part of me that felt like my inactivity had more to do with lethargy and depression than necessity.
I thought the best way to jump back into my routine was to do just that – start where I’d left off. I began getting up every morning at 5:45 and taking Lulu for a walk. Granted, we weren’t walking quite as fast as before, but we were walking. And then, somehow, my left calf muscle decided to begin cramping so badly I would have to hobble home after walking just a few steps.
I was devastated. I still can’t do the rope yoga I loved so much prior to surgery, although I think I’m pretty close to being fit enough to start again. I understood this, because the yoga puts demands on my body where I’d had my surgery. But walking – walking – I had taken that for granted. I mean, after all, I see people much older than me briskly putting one foot in front of the other all the time.
For the first time since my surgery I felt truly despondent. It’s always been a struggle for me keeping my weight within a healthy range. Now what was I going to do? I was frantic not to allow my inactivity to cause me to pack on the pounds again.
I realized that sitting all day is probably causing muscles that have not been used for several weeks to tighten even more, so I’m working on stretching and releasing. But this is a slow process and I’m really feeling antsy.
In the midst of all of this, I remembered that we have a pool here in our community that is available for my use every day of the week. Granted, anything requiring a swimsuit isn’t at the top of my list, but seriously, at some point I truly do need to get over myself, don’t I? And what better way to reintroduce my poor muscles to exercise that isn’t too taxing?
And so earlier this week, I hobbled my way to the pool and dove in. I can’t begin to tell you how good it felt, both mentally and physically. I hadn’t even thought about how great moving my body through water was going to feel – and how relatively effortless it would be compared to my efforts on land.
I’m ashamed and amazed that it took something so drastic to remind me to stop feeling sorry for myself and to look around for the solutions. I’ve never been a great swimmer, so I’m thinking this just may be a possible way to remedy that. You know, the old “when the student is ready, the teacher will come” sort of approach.
Of course, I’m anxious to be able to start walking again – and I can’t wait to get back to my yoga as well. But for today, I’m going to remember to be grateful for what I can do (and for what I have)! And perhaps on an even loftier level, I’m going to remember not to take even the simplest things for granted.
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