Readers, this has been kind of a bummer week. Last week I posted about ableism at VegExpo, and how I aggravated an existing injury by attending the event. I was kind of riding high on my righteous indignation and that carried me for a few days.
Then a few more days went by and my knee didn’t improve much. I did my therapy exercises and finally took off on a short, flat bike ride to give it some controlled exercise. (My PT likes bike riding because it “treats my knee like a hinge and not a universal joint.”) I didn’t make it a mile before sharp twinges sent me back home with my right leg doing all the work. I iced and iced, and the swelling did not budge.
I’m struggling to lose 25 pounds that this injury packed on me in the first place—it’s hard not to gain weight when you can’t move the way you normally do. I’m not going to shed any weight if I can’t maintain my newfound freedom of movement.
I’ve been here before; I know I can make it back, but while I wait for my damaged cells to fix themselves, we’re burning daylight. We are in the peak light time of the year, and the bike touring season is flying by without me.
I’m trying to stay upbeat and keep doing all I can to continue my recovery. It does help that I just discovered acupuncture; I love it and it’s going to take me to the next level of healing. Acupuncture gives me a quiet euphoria for hours in which I know my body has been respected and listened to, and given the means to help itself. I really like my practitioner—I chose her for her sliding pay scale and was delighted to discover she’d be the right person for me at any price.
I look at posts from people who are fighting a harder battle than my own—Heather Thompson, for example. Her constant chin up is an inspiration to me. Compared to a lot of people, I have it easy. I can walk unaided (which is a good thing because I couldn’t use crutches if I needed to). I’m making more money at home-based work than I have in years. I’ve been swimming a lot more as my alternate exercise, and I enjoy it. All things considered, it feels pretty self-indulgent to complain.
The thing is, though, I’m being kept from what I love, I don’t fully understand the injury that’s behind it and don’t know how long it’s going to keep affecting me, and bike touring is what drives me (or pedals me, as the case may be). You may think losing one season isn’t that big a deal, but I laid in a ditch fighting for my very life, and I’ve had time to think about what my very life is. What is quality time and what is a waste of my precious remaining days. I need to retreat and be present with the pouting now and then in order to reach a point where I can get over myself and go back to being a role model for others like me.
The point of all this? To my readers and to the people I read—I see you. I know you have low times too. Friends who saw my initial Facebook posts from my Vancouver trip had no idea I came home limping. Your suffering may not be obvious to others. Don’t be afraid to reach out and say “Hey, you probably didn’t know there was a dark closet here, but I’ve been locked in it for days.” Then let your friends open the door and let the light in.