Well, it has been raining non-stop here and weve had freezing temps. Someone tell Mother Nature it is still Fall! I often decide on topics for the blog, as I am thinking of things that relate to me personally. I have been thinking about things that “keep us young”, as I wrote about laughter and the importance of keeping things light, in this blog post- Why Laughter is the Best Medicine. Lately, I have been thinking about how my life has changed in the last 10 years.
I wrote this post about 4 days ago or so, and since then, ironically, I have been having some higher pain days. It happens from time to time that I have ” bad days” and have to let my body rest. I do take advantage of the “good days”
I think I still have many knots related to my trip that haven’t been taken care of yet in PT, so I need to take it easy until then.
10 years ago- A Diagnoses that changed my life
In 2008, we had a car accident, which was a catalyst for the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome symptoms I began experiencing, rather severely.
I would soon find the internet my best friend, as I would research my physical symptoms, the stiffness, muscle aches and all over pain that would have me writhing in bed and unable to sleep. 10 years ago, I was on my couch, then only to walk the dogs to the end of the street to go to the bathroom and back. I would then, return to the couch to watch tv and tried to distract myself from the unwavering pain. This became my day for quite a while, as I bought books, research and scheduled apts at the Mayo Clinic and other hospitals. To make a long story short, I was barely mobile, if only to go to one specialist after another, to find what was wrong.
Slowly, I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and given PT and Dry Needling, which has now, helped my life immensely. I had tried various cocktails of medications to help me with the pain. I would have to sit on a coccyx cushion no matter where I went, as my piriformis muscle caused pain to where I had difficulty sitting . Years later, I had “managed” my pain, which enabled me to go out. I now, take medication and exercise which has enabled me to manage the pain and focus on “life”. There is a difference between Living Life and Existing. I wanted to live life.
When we would visit relatives, I was having to use a wheelchair at the airport, as it was hard for me to walk long distances. This didn’t feel like me, the athletic Jess I knew, but I did it, to be able to make the trip and do what was necessary.
How I challenge myself
It has taken me 10 years to be in a place where I feel more like my “:normal self.” I joke, like my normal self. I wake up and look forward to the day, like my normal self. I do “normal” things. Things I wasn’t sure I would do again. Go for a hike, Sitting at the movies, … Things that are easy to take for granted. Of course I would love to remember what a day without pain feels like, but I have built up a tolerance and am able to distract myself from it.
So, when I ask ” How Do I Challenge Myself”, 8 + years ago, it might have been to go to a restaurant and sit for 15 min with a coccyx cushion. ( this was a bum cushion, as I had severe hip, leg and buttock pain). Now, I can sit without restrictions. It may also have been to be able to distract myself much of the day doing something other than laying in bed.
Now, when I ask- “How Do I Challenge Myself”… I think about this now, as being as a healthier person, with circumstances more under control. It really comes down to perspective. Challenging oneself can be set in smaller goals, it doesn’t need to be life changing exactly. Try doing something you thought you could never do, learn a new language, or perhaps run a 5k, when you just started to learn to run. Give yourself credit for trying.
Just going on the trip to SF, Napa and Sonoma was a challenge for me. I had not sat on a plane that long, and all of the walking and activity I had done on the trip, was something I did to challenge myself. Going to Alcatraz was a challenge, and quite difficult, as my hypermobility does not allow standing for long.
If I don’t challenge myself in life, I can stay in a rut. What is the worst that can happen from a challenge? That we fail, look foolish? However, not challenging ourselves can lead to stagnation and perhaps, not growing as a person. It really made me think, and I have been quite grateful for the fact I can do more things now, something 10 years ago, I didn’t think was possible.
How do you Challenge Yourself?
Id love to hear your comments.
Have a wonderful weekend,