June 2014. Lucy was 4 weeks old, Miller was 19 months, Jackson was 5 and I was on the floor.
My c-section had come open and I was in extreme pain, not just from a gaping wound in my stomach but it seemed like my body was giving out.
EVERY inch of my body was in pain but mostly my joints. I had lived with a moderate level of pain most of my life but this was on another level.
Post Partum is hard and it is especially pronounced when there are two other kiddos in the mix but something wasn’t right. I fell into a deep and intense Post Part Depression. It was months before I felt I could get through a day without pondering thoughts of giving up on life.
When the PPD fog began to lift, the pain remained. My body took a hit and it wasn’t bouncing back. I could give a shit about the extra pounds or my new status as the one-tit-wonder because I could only breastfeed from my right breast (I now think this was EDS related).
I literally had one DDD boob and one of my regular sizes and I DID’T CARE!! I was terrified because this pain through my body seemed to have set up camp. I’d take one giant boob any day over full body pain!
This began the next few years of doctor appointments, mutiple nerve eblations, medications, depression and fear….why was I stuck on the floor? Why did it take herculean strength to get up for a glass of water? Would I be this way forever?
I had finally succumbed to the reality I would have to have surgery on my spine. The doctors had agreed that the shape of my spine and the chronic dislocations would only be remedied with surgery. I was ready. If it meant the pain would lessen, then sign me up.
When you are living in chronic pain, life is pretty desperate. Bad ideas seem like good ones. I scheduled the surgery and had a friend suggest I just get, “ONE more opinion.”
Thank god I did!
I waited for two more months to see a world renowned doctor in my area, he took one look at me and said…”Has anyone told you about EDS?”
He did a short exam and sat back in his chair…”Surgery is not an option at this time.”
I won’t go into the details but with surgery off the table I was left with the reality of reality.
So….I just go home now? I just live in pain? How…..?
This is where MOVEMENT became a non-negotiable.
I would do my homework on this “diagnosis”. I would find out what my options were and I would take one look at the faces looking up and me and say, “Oh hell no.!!”
This Momma is gonna fight like hell.
What I learned about EDS (in a very small nut shell) was the lack of collagen and the severe joint elasticity would mean I had to work double time to build my muscles but without ANY impact! (i.e no wight lifting, HIIT workouts, pretty much anything at a gym, etc)
OK! Then What?
Now remember, I had to give myself a pep talk or a pill to get to the mailbox. I was reading the Tortoise and the Hare to my kids. “The tortoise always wins.”
Slow and steady sweet girl, slow and steady. That became my daily mantra.
I am not suggesting you do this, but I want to be honest about my journey. And the honest truth is in the beginning, I would take medications to help me walk. I was careful about my method. I knew I had to build my strength but I couldn’t stand the agony.
I would get prepared to walk, sometimes for 5 minutes, then 10…20…30….
Over time my body got stronger and I didn’t need the medications the same way.
Each walk, I would add a little distance. 30 minutes….45…an hour….
I would NEVER push my speed or push my body…mainly from trial and error. The days I got cocky or tried to keep up with a friend, I paid the price the next day.
I am like the walking Forest Gump.
Have shoes, will walk.
I still live in moderate pain and I can have an EPIC flare up but I don’t stay there. Even on the hard days, I try and drag myself to walk a little. It can feel like starting over every time but I have the map and I just have to keep moving.
Newton said, “A body in motion, stays in motion.” This body is going to stay in motion. I don’t have any goals to climb Everest or run a marathon (although who knows what the future holds), but I want to play soccer with Miller, ride bikes with Jackson and climb mountains with Lucy and I especially want to walk with my love, hand in hand for as long as I can. THEY are my non-negotioables.
By making movement a non-negotiable to address my chronic pain, I’ve had the joy of experiencing the other benefits moving has brought to my life: TIME to reflect and meditate, SPACE to provide mental clarity and peace, CONNECTION with nature AND with other WARRIORS who know the secret that “the tortoise always wins”!
So my FLOW warriors……Let’s Get moving. Find Love Over Worry in your journey to MOVE. When you get past the worries about your body’s limitations or maybe its your weight, you can choose to love yourself and MOVE that beautiful body today!! I will be right there with you, hand in hand.