Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Parallel pain

I started walking three full months ago. My goal was not to lose weight, nor even to get in shape. My only goal was to rebuild my lung capacity. It's a darn good thing that was my only goal. I have not lost a single pound in those three months. I have gotten into better shape than what I was, but not nearly the shape I would expect to be in given the exercise I have engaged in consistently, every week, for a month now.

I always intended to walk a minimum of three times per week. I always exceeded that goal by walking a least four times per week. I accomplished this through two sprains and a bone injury to my foot, even if I had to move slowly. The week Micah died, I only walked once. I reassured myself that I would be back in the habit afterward and gave myself time and space to grieve instead.

The next week, it hurt. No one tells you that grief hurts physically. Every step I took was agony that week. Worse than my physical distress was that mentally I was ready to give up. In that moment, recognizing that I had never lost a single pound AND that after three months I hurt like I was just starting out, I struggled. That week, I only met my minimum goal of the three times per week.

Last week, the physical pain was slightly less, but the mental shut down was far worse. With company coming for Micah's funeral, I once again only met my minimum goal. I also endured the love and support of having 24 people enter my home and stay with us for Micah's memorial service this last Saturday.

I was not getting up in the morning to walk. When I did walk, it was in the afternoon or evening. Truthfully, the only thing that pushed me to still walk was that II walked with me. If he had not, I absolutely would have given up.

Until very recently, I haven't even seen a change in my shape from all of the effort I put into walking. I'm still the same size clothing. I haven't lost a single pound. I still struggle with aerobic exercise outside of the walking. What was the point? I used to walk to clear my head and to escape what I had to endure in my home every day. Micah is dead. I don't need a break from him to maintain my sanity anymore.

I did build my lung capacity, dramatically. I also, just recently, saw a sudden drop of nearly five inches to my waist. I did not drop any in my chest or hips. However, long-term this is actually a good developmentt. Before my thyroid crashed, I was a classic hourglass figure. Once my thyroid started to crash, my shape changed to an apple long before the weight skyrocketed. To lose five inches in my waist but maintain the rest of my body the same as before is a very strong indication that I am breaking through the thyroid hold. The few times I have pulled my weight back since my thyroid crashed on me, weight loss always came AFTER the shift back towards an hourglass shape occurred.

Yet, I just don't care anymore. My children require I be here for them and monitor their coping. My body has never responded in any of the expected ways to walking. So, what was the point. After three months of fighting for this, fighting for ME, my ankle burned as if I had torn that tendon yesterday and not over 15 years ago.

My massage therapist listened to me comment about the burning in the ankle and worked extensively on it last week. That eliminated the burning, but still I did not mentally want to be doing this anymore.

When I took Ch to therapy last week, I picked up a magazine. There was an article about walking for weight loss. I am not a runner. I never will be. This program was a training program to utilize all of the benefits of walking and changing it to a pattern that causes weight loss. Basically, it talked about having to get to a 4mi/hr pace for weight loss. Um yeah, my top speed EVER was just over 3mi/hr. However the program was a training program on how to get TO that level of walking and then maintain it.

Intrigued that this might be healthy for me *and* help with the mental abandonment I was experiencing, I took notes. I even took pictures of the descriptions of the strengthening exercises that were meant to accompany it. I decided that when the last of the company left, I would attempt this. It was something to hold onto to hold onto ME in all of this overwhelming grief right now.

Today was my first day of the program. Well, I've been doing the independent strengthening exercises, meant to build core muscles, since first of the week. However, I did the first day of speed walking training today. The program is not meant to get you to the speed walking method quickly. In fact, it's 60 second bursts of the speed walking. It's supposed to be alternating speed walking and brisk walking for a mile. Let's just say I will need to do a LOT of work to build to this. I may require more than four weeks that it's supposed to take to get there, even.

What matters is that I am no longer struggling with the desire to abandon my own needs. I am strangely intrigued, even though every part of my body is screaming now. I'm plottting how best to make this program work for me and marking my path on the road to fit this program instead of what I have been doing.

There's something even bigger though. This HURTS. My muscles are not accustomed to working and moving in the method utilized by this program, even though I walk a lot. It hurts. It makes me pant. It makes me want to scream. It makes me want to kick and cuss and throw things. This feels punishing and agony. It is brutal on my body and it screams for me to stop. It feels cathartic. I cannot force my grief to come simply because I have a moment of safety. I cannot allow myself to break down when the children need me so desperately, but even in those moments when it is safe, I cannot let it flow after working so hard to contain it for their sakes. Something about this brutality towards my body is grief in action for me. I can scream with my body in ways that I cannot scream with my mouth right now. Maybe the river of tears will come. Maybe I will make myself cry out in pain while I force my body to train and work in a new method that is healthy for me, and I will channel my grief and pain into something good, something that might somehow heal my body and my soul.

The night we started morphine for Micah, I ran away. I didn't realize it until later, but I was speed walking. I walked two full miles in twenty minutes. I hit the pace this program says I'm supposed to walk, and I didn't feel it. In pushing my body to the extreme, I pushed my pain into that numbness. It was healing then. It is healing now. So, I walk. I walk and I push harder. I remain stoic and a fortress of strength in the home where my children need me to be so. Yet, when I walk out that door, I can push into my own pain. I can take it out and let it flow through my body when I am alone and will not scare these children. It feels healing to attempt this right now, to hold the pain that chokes my soul and I ignore for their sakes for those moments so that it does not choke out my life in trying to be what they need otherwise. It gives me strength to carry on.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing that. I continue to pray for you as do so many others. <3