Monday, August 15, 2016

Identity crisis

   Today I got some tough news from my orthopedic doc. I was supposed to attend a running clinic tonight, and it was rescheduled yet again (I've been trying to get in since March--when he diagnosed me with exertional compartment syndrome) which was plenty frustrating in and of itself.
   But then he asked how I've been doing with my running, and what I've tried to overcome my nagging pain and numbness. (6 months of PT, massage therapy & cupping, custom orthotics, dry needle therapy, backing off running for months... Need I go on?)
   I didn't expect the conversation to go where it went--my discomfort has certainly set me back, but I have worked through seemingly worse problems before, so I wasn't even close to chalking it up as being insurmountable.
   "You'll have to stop running," he said. "Or have surgery. It's a small surgery... But it will leave 8 inch scars on each of your calves."
   The drawing above is what came to mind as I hung up the phone and tried to process this terrible choice. I cried enough to Scuba dive in a pool of my own tears. 
   I am an athlete. I didn't know it for so many years, having been labeled early on as an artist and a nerd – not a jock. And when I figured it out, I ran with it, so to speak. Running has been my joy, my sanity, my near daily challenge and motivation, and the single biggest component of my exercise plan for many years now. One of those things that is such a part of the fabric of who I am that I'll have to figure out who I am without it.
   Perhaps it is kismet that I saw this post shared on Facebook this morning: advice from an Olympic hopeful to set the bar low. The very idea saddens me, but I guess I'd better think about it.