One step. One wrong step.
I’m already being melodramatic. It wasn’t a wrong step. (I mean, let’s be honest, how often do I misstep in Jam? 😉) It was just the step.
One year ago, I ran my best Beep Test, my fastest 5K, increased my vertical jump by an inch (big number for a little girl) and banged out 40 push ups.
For the last 6 months, my range of motion steadily declined. Cortisone no longer worked. I was committed and consistent with my lower body lifting and cycle classes. Determined to strengthen my failing knee.
For the last three months, I had been unable to sleep through the night because the pain would wake me. Three different prescription pain meds and two different prescription anti inflammatory meds…no relief.
For the last two weeks, I had been limping, unable to jump off of my left leg, faking my way through classes and “taking it easy” in rehearsal. If I could just get through launches…
Today, I’m back to zero.
I can’t run any beeps.
I can’t jump. Not even an inch.
I certainly won’t be signing up for a 5K. Ever again.
And I can’t do one single push up. Can’t even get into a plank.
As soon as I stepped, I knew. This was the step. I threw the microphone at Liz (ever prepared, always professional, gets it done and gets it done like a champ, Liz) and hobbled off to the corner where I half hoped the window would open so I could escape. I just had to GO.
Friends, Jammers, and gym employees came to check on me. I hope they accept my apology for being less than friendly. I watched the biggest launch our little gym has ever had as a spectator. A creeper on the wrong side of the glass.
I went home and iced the hell out of that melon knee. I kept it elevated. I ate Chinese food and Oreos. I did NOT drink. I could have. I wanted to. But I didn’t. It’s dry January after all.
Thanks to a lively game of Cranium and very good company, I managed to get through the day without too many negative thoughts taking hold.
Day 1, I miss you.
More lying on the couch. More ice. More recognition that something was not right. I could not bend my knee at all. It was stuck in extension and that melon was damn near prize winningly huge.
The what if’s crept in. What if I need surgery? What if I can’t do my job? What if I can’t teach? Can’t…Jam…..
I didn’t drink. I wanted to. I could have. But I didn’t. Again – friends and family kept me preoccupied most of the day, but Sunday night was rough. Mark helped me into bed and I broke down. Who am I if I can’t Jam…if I can’t teach?
I know this sounds so ridiculous to a lot of people. My mother, for one. How could a fitness class be everything you are? It’s a fitness class.
It’s a fitness class that all but saved my life 9 years ago. It’s my Bobsled*. It’s the one thing I’ve ever been able to give myself credit for and the one thing I’ve worked hardest at in my life. It is the first way my sister and I really connected in our lives and is certainly responsible for how close we are now. My friends are Jam friends. When I teach, I feel alive and it is an adrenaline rush like no other. It makes the very worst day better 10 times over. And I get to share it with so many amazing people.
So yeah, it is how I self-identify. I’m a Jammer.
And losing it would be devastating.
At 10:00 AM, Mark and I roll into Commonwealth Orthopedics (read: he walks with his usual sexy swagger and I limp while holding onto him for dear life). They take x-rays and we head into the exam room.
The news is grim.
There is no specific injury. The arthritis in my left knee has progressed to a point where I am unable to walk, move, sleep without pain. My femur and patella ate so worn down that the patella is sitting to the lateral side (outside) of my knee joint making it mechanically impossible to bend.
No impact exercise. None.
There must be a plan, though. I can’t be expected to be in this much pain forever.
There is a plan and it is to load my knee with synthetic synovial fluid in an effort to cushion the bone on bone action (heh) between my patella and femur.
If that doesn’t work, partial knee replacement would be next.
I was devastated. No training. No working out without a pool (yawn). No…
Likely no Jam ever again.
*Side note: I can’t believe the last full track of BodyJam I might ever teach was Break Free. Poptastic, dance aerobic-y a la 1990, no one’s favorite and ultimately ironic as no one’s classifying me as “stronger than I’ve been before,” Break Free.
I text Kate.
I don’t drink. So that’s a win. I go into work late and do what I can. Crutch around – have I mentioned using crutches makes me nauseous? It’s like sea sickness or something. Blech. I talk to my bosses who are both pretty cool about my limitations for now.
I drive home and lie on the couch some more. I ice some more. I watch Game of Thrones some more. The angels I live with take very good care of me. I dread bedtime but get through it.
Maybe the darkest day yet. Work is hard. My knee is a disgusting fat mess and so so sore. I come home and lie on the couch. And watch Game of Thrones. And wallow.
But then I get up and make dinner. It makes me feel better to do something. ANYTHING.
I go back to lying on the couch watching Game of Thrones. I get anxious as I realize I am at the end of the last season. What will I do with myself tomorrow?
Bedtime is brutal.
A tiny, pinhole, super fine, almost think I’m dreaming it, light.
The swelling has finally started to subside. Not a lot, but a little. Enough to be a win and I needed a win.
I get to work and decide the pity party has to end. It has to. I schedule upper body lifting sessions for next week and I decide to write. Writing is my second most cathartic activity and if I don’t need it now, then when? I begin this post.
The pinhole of light opens a bit and I know for sure that it is there. A second day that feels like progress instead of pointlessness.
I am currently hosting a 6 Week Synergy Challenge at work (soon to be offered on this site!) where we take each week and focus on a different component of wellness. The idea being that ignoring one area can be detrimental to all the others. This week?
My boss almost choked when I walked into our Lunch and Learn on Tuesday on crutches. “Guess you’ll be speaking from the heart today.”
Resiliency is the key to getting through this. I can do it. I will do it.
Break Free will NOT be the last track of BodyJam I ever teach.
Thank you to everyone who has shared a kind word, a hug, a facebook message, an encouraging email. They have been much needed positive notes this week.
Thank you to my sister and rest of our Jam Team Extraordinaire. You will rock it in my absence just as you did in my presence. If you need any non-impact assistance, I’m your girl 🙂
Thank you to the angels in my life…M, J, V, JV…
Stay tuned! Next week is sure to be amazingly exciting!
- Appointment with knee replacement surgeon
- Upper body and core workouts
- More lying around on the couch
* Bobsled: How my mom and I refer to the idea that every person was born with an Olympic sized talent. Some people are exposed to their talent and some people are not. At the time, our example was Bobsledding. Maybe I would have been an Olympic Bobsledder had I tried it when I was younger. I mean, look at these legs! Jam is my Bobsled. Jam is what I was meant to do.