It’s been a while. Almost two years if we’re counting. A few people have asked me for an update, and it’s been so long that I’m not really sure where to start. So, I will just start writing and see where this goes. Happy to have you here for the ride!
As most of you know, I have (finally) found my person. His name is Matthew, and he is everything I was waiting for. I prayed for him almost daily and God/the Universe finally delivered. I could not ask for a better fit for me. Not only is he tall and handsome, but he is also kind, patient, funny, intelligent, and possibly the most nurturing human I’ve ever met. I love our relationship and how easy he is to be with – even when I make it difficult. We both want the same things and have always been on the same page when it comes to where we see ourselves in the future. He truly is my best friend, and I’m so in love with him.
One of my favorite characteristics of Matthew’s is his patience. He rarely loses his temper and is always the first to take a step back from a situation to try to understand every perspective before reacting (something I am not good at but am working on). Not only has he helped me work through some of my abandonment issues, but he is also helping me navigate the lifestyle changes that my ankle injury has been forcing me to come to terms with lately.
I’m 34 now, which is by absolutely NO means “ancient”, but I can feel my body getting older, which is a new development compared to life in my twenties (to which, I’m sure many of you can relate). Now, in addition to the daily pain in my ankle, I have other body pains thrown into the mix that weren’t there just a few years ago. I now have a recurring pain in my left hip that I am positive has come from overcompensating for my ankle when I walk. Yoga and stretching help, but there isn’t much else I can do about that one. It’s just there now. We are becoming acquainted with each other and learning to live together. Very similar to the way that I have become acquainted with my ankle pain. It is what it is.
I also have the typical back and neck pains that bother everyone as they age, but those can be mitigated with core exercises and the occasional massage, so I do my best to keep those pains at bay.
I’ve had ankle trouble since my accident at 17, and I always will. I accepted this – in the words of every doctor who has ever treated my ankle – “devastating injury” a long time ago, but as the pain gets worse, that acceptance wavers. For the past couple of years, I’ve been stuck in a bit of a mental tug-of-war that is exhausting at times. On the one hand, I am the happiest I have ever been. I found my person, I have built a career that I can be proud of, and I am living the life I wanted to live with goals and plans for the future. But on the other hand, I am also in the most consistent pain that I have ever been in with no end in sight. So, I am constantly switching between “happiest I’ve ever been” and “oh God, will this ever get better??” And I’m not even going to go into the ever-present-yet-mostly-contained voice that seems to whisper “is the cancer back?” at the most inopportune moments. And poor Matthew is stuck trying to figure out what’s what when my mood changes on a dime. But after a year and a half, he’s getting pretty good at not only figuring it out, but also mitigating it and/or giving me space to figure it out on my own.
Anyway, I finally got tired of letting the pain get the better of me. I figured if I could make my body strong, I’d be able to handle whatever fresh hell awaits me in the future (or at least make it slightly easier to handle). So, around September/October last year I started making exercise a priority. Even if it’s just hopping on the Peloton for 20 minutes, I want to do something that forces me out of my comfort zone a few days a week. I have a long way to go before I feel truly “strong,” but I also want to do this in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming – the last thing I want to do is burn out on the few exercises I am able to do pain-free.
So far, my plan is working as well as I could hope for. It has helped me steer that mental tug-of-war I had been playing into something resembling an overall happier mindset. I can feel my body getting stronger – slowly but surely – which makes me want to keep going, but my system is far from perfect regarding the mental health portion. It certainly helps a good deal, but it’s also still pretty fragile – and because of the nature of the situation, maybe it always will be. I still have days or weeks where it all just seems to come crashing down, and I hit a slump. Lately it’s been hard not to dwell on my younger days before all this happened. Before I knew what it was like to have my life changed in a single instant. Back when I took something as simple as running for granted.
But that is another story for another day. This one has gotten long, and I’m sure I’m losing some of you by now (kudos if you’ve stuck it out this far), so I’m going to sign off. I hope to continue writing these because it is therapeutic but I’m also not making any promises. : )