Injury. Illness. Stress. These three words are unfortunately commonplace in our daily lives, I believe my phone accepted the word “stress” in word recognition in just 3 days, sadly, when I would type… so with that, I’d like to openly address how we can deal with these obstacles and grow from our encounters with them.
When you have to stop doing what you love, what makes you happy, what takes you away from the daily rigueur…that is hard to deal with – be it a torn ligament, a bad sprain, a diagnosis that you were not expecting. Your routine has changed. There may be restrictions regarding joint movement, mobility, participation in an activity that you enjoy.
When I got the diagnosis of cancer, I was absolutely floored. Life had flipped a switch and I was facing an entirely new set of directives… in one fell swoop I went from pull ups with a weighted belt to trying desperately to lift my heart from the floor of the doctor’s office. Life had changed.
So as reality set in, I realized that I was dealt a new hand and it wasn’t one I’d play with confidence in Vegas… how was I going to handle this? How would this change my life, my family, my tomorrow?
I decided early on that the first thing that I would not do was QUIT. With any setback, there is the opportunity to regroup and take an assessment of what you are capable of, and what you can accomplish in the immediate future. In my case, surgery was up next, and I worked around that hurdle hitting the gym up until that day, and resolving to rebuild and take it one day at a time afterwards. My body responded and reacted, and I listened… some days were painful, some were inspiring, giving me just enough drive to get to the next day.
The message I wish to share here is this… your life, at any given point, is exactly what you make of it. You are either doomed, or you have the power to make a difference. The hardest part is making the choice to stay positive. It’s hard to do so when you may feel fatigued, frustrated, fed up.
Make it a point to set small, short term, reasonable goals for yourself. Recovery is extremely important, you can’t, no matter how difficult it may be to resist, push beyond your capabilities, if you want quality results. This is so hard, I wanted to do all the things right then and without precaution, and I paid for that impulsiveness many times over.
Surround yourself with folks that are in a similar situation and that are also positive. Nothing is better than a support group when it comes to rebuilding confidence. If you’ve just had a joint replacement, connecting with other folks who have been in rehab and experienced the highs and lows of recovery is extremely helpful. There are more support groups out there than you can shake a stick at, but it takes a bit of research and patience to find one that suits you.
So far we have identified acceptance, fortification, and resilience. What you need from this point forward is self-confidence. I found this among my peers on the course. The day after my last chemo round I ran a Spartan Super. It took what felt like forever, and I remember not being able to climb the rope, I actually “forgot” the body mechanics I needed to complete a hook with my feet. Chemotherapy left me unable to connect the dots, but the support, the people on the course who stopped running to talk with me, shake my hand, and give me a hug, what a huge boost they gave me towards completing the course! Everything hurt. I was dizzy, stumbling, tripping… but I was exactly where I felt most happy! Do not shy away from the activities that make you happy, make you whole.
Sharing my path was the most therapeutic part of my journey, and still is. Talk with your family, friends, and fellow competitors. The more you share the less fear and doubt you will have. Amazingly, you will find support and strength where you never thought of looking. No matter what the hurdle, you are never alone. Someone has been there, been where you are now. When you are healed, given a clean bill, a new opportunity… share this joy with everyone you can, you just may be the antidote to the negative news in someone else’s day!
by Ambassador Gwenn Case
follow her @GwennCase