I have had several blogs brewing in my head for a week or so, and it may just come out into one post. I thought about naming it “parallels” or “life begins at 40” – but settled for the time marker title. Weeks 1-9 post-op I was sailing strong and steady with my recovery, with little complications. Last week, week 10, I hit a wall emotionally and physically. I am still walking with 1 crutch. I was cleared to go weight bearing at week 8 (my surgeon is very conservative to ensure full healing of the fractures) and I thought by 2 weeks of weight bearing I would be walking perfectly unassisted. I have always placed high expectations on myself, and PAO surgery recovery is no exception. I crumbled when my physical therapist told me, “not yet…you are not strong enough to walk unassisted. Keep the 1 crutch…its just a strength issue from being non-weight bearing…it takes time…” those words put me into a tailspin of sadness and defeat. I was not meeting my self-imposed, unrealistic, expectations. I was pissed at the world, looking at Facebook feeds of everyone’s summer adventures, while I was still mostly at home, alone, gimping around. The meal train ended week 9 and so have the emails and phone calls of asking how I was doing. Feeling alone, defeated, and depressed, I decided to try to go back to metalsmithing, which is not ideal being on 1 crutch. I had to do SOMETHING!!! It was not easy, but I learned something:
Metal-smithing and surgery recovery has its parallels. For both, each step must be fully completed successfully before proceeding to the next step. In metal-smithing, if a piece of metal does not solder properly together, I would have to go back and reset everything and try again. In PAO surgery recovery, if I take a step without the crutch and feel my hip fall to the side due to lack of hip stabilizer strength, I have to go back to the 1 crutch for awhile and then try again. I cannot solder metal together without placing paste flux on the metal, nor can I walk properly without doing my strength exercises. This analogy between my work and my recovery helped my get my head around the fact that it may be awhile before I start walking unassisted again. Patience, steps, being deliberate, deep breathing when things go wrong…those are all components of successful metal-smithing and successful surgery recovery.
As for the “life begins at 40” title, I turned 40 last December. I knew 2014 would be an epic year for me of deep proportions. I knew I would have not one, but TWO major surgeries (PAO on both left and right hip) and everything that comes along with living the PAO life, and in the end: reinvention. I have had a lot of down-time with my surgery recovery. Hours of laying in bed has forced me to think a lot about my life and where I want to go once I can get my life back. One major decision I made, and it was not made lightly, was to officially retire from Personal Training. I have been a Personal Trainer, running coach, and triathlon coach for 18 years. I have made lifelong friends and helped dozens of people. It has shaped who I am and my values on health. In recent years I discovered bringing my inner artist to the outer world, and have been working hard to build my reputation and livlihood as a jewelry artist. It was time for me to move forward and put 100% of my energy into my jewelry business to ensure its success. My last client has been training with another trainer in Boulder since my PAO surgery. It has been going well, which made the transition that much easier. I wanted to make sure she was in good hands! We met last night over margaritas, empanadas and chips and guacamole as I told her my plans. She knew already: she is a very busy person and I do not request her time unless there is good reason. She joked that I was firing her, and I said, “No, I am breaking up with you.” While I was sad and it was not easy for me to do, retiring last night felt freeing. After an intense, short thunderstorm, the air was cool and crisp. Going 50 miles an hour, I rolled down the windows, popped the sunroof, blasted music, and I felt alive. I almost forgot what it felt like: to feel really alive in the present moment. For those minutes, I totally forgot about my PAO and hip saga. And it felt damn good.