Tag Archives: yoga

Six Weeks Later

Six weeks later, the first phase of my recovery from hip surgery is done. In some ways, it flew by must faster than I expected; in others, it has been brutally slow.

After surgery, it took a good three days to detox from the anesthesia. I did not move from the couch much. I slept a lot. Though I did not take any pain medication because I did not have any pain. Despite the numerous warnings and promises of how miserable recovery would be, I began mine with six days pain free. I didn’t really feel any discomfort until I started moving around.

I did my two weeks in the brace and on the crutches. These were definitely the longest and most irritating days in my recovery so far. I loathed the brace and struggled to keep it on. I also never mastered the crutches.

When pain started with walking on the crutches, I was confused. In a typical case, the patient would wake from surgery and be utterly miserable for several days; then the pain would reduce to an ache as they started moving around. In my case, I woke pain-free for the first time in over two years; then my pain increased as I started to move again. Did that mean the pain was getting worse? Did that mean I was finally aligning with a normal track? I didn’t know. And my doctors and physical therapists didn’t seem to know either since, as always, I’m atypical.

I didn’t let the pain or the crutches stop me. I continued with life and activities as much as I could. The crutches were endlessly inconvenient. I could not carry anything, which is especially challenging as a mother of young children. I moved very slowly, again rough with little kids. I hobbled on through life and physical therapy.

After two weeks, I was liberated. It was near blissful to be free of the brace and the crutches. Again, my pain increased though. It was only a fraction of what I was experiencing pre-surgery, but the pattern was definitely increasing. Yet I still did not know if that was a bad sign. I resolved to just follow the rules and wait.

I also finally got to remove the tape and see my stitches. Then the nurse promptly cut them out. They are tiny little marks that may even vanish in time. Amazing they could do all the repairs to my hip joint through these two small holes.

While I was liberated of the physical restraining devices, I remained held back by multiple movement restrictions. At this point, my brain decided it was an apt time to remind me that I’m still bipolar as fuck. I have managed my cycles effectively for years using routine, exercise, and infrequent therapy. And it has worked. More than I even thought it had been. Once these systems were impeded, I got to fully experience what I have been suppressing.

I knew this was a risk so much so that I made multiple contingency plan to deal with it. I knew my system is what kept the symptoms managed and that when I would not be able to maintain it, I would see some reemergence. Unfortunately, the depression still managed to descend on me before I could enact them.

The prolonged anesthesia detox really derailed me. I planned to focus on writing and tasks and being productive with sedentary tasks. Instead, I experienced some of the deepest depression I have experienced in years.

I surely did not miss it. I was working, mothering, recovering, and I felt like I was drowning. I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want to see anyone. Textbook symptoms I know well. It made the holidays a struggle, to feel so weighted and disconnected. I powered through, well I think.

I resigned myself to the suck. I knew I was going to be low. I knew why I was low. I knew I had to ride it out. So I did. I missed out on some festive fun. I ruined some minor moments. Thankfully, it was nothing too traumatic. Mostly because I didn’t resist, and I remained communicative about it.

When I returned to work after the holidays, I was able to snatch at some normalcy. Though I still could not move much, I finally launched into all my productive plans. Working made me feel less worthless. I forced myself back into my new novel (and actually enjoyed the progress I made). I wrote multiple short stories and even some horror poetry. I loaded on the tasks and fixated on them.

And it helped. Even still immobile and devoid of the endorphins I needed, being busy and focused tamed the beast.

The pain also leveled off then began to steadily decrease. My body recovered. I do believe the pain was a large contributor to the depression. Whenever I hurt, the base part of my brain panicked that I was returning to my pre-surgical pain. As that threat dissolved, my control over my mind returned.

As I have reached the six week mark, my movement and activity restrictions have been lifted by degrees.  I can now go for short walks or hikes, belly dance gently, move my hip and stretch however I want, carry moderate weight (read: my four year-old). These minor things make a world of difference. Doing gentle yoga and fully stretching my body was near orgasmic. Dancing , even if it was slow and labored, made me feel like myself.

I am still itching to go for a run or do anything until I hit a sweaty high, but that will come in time.

I am proving challenging for my physical therapists. Atypical, as usual. I hit full mobility effortlessly by my six week check. They cannot seem to provide me stretches that actually stretch me. Especially after they have spent so much time smoothing my hamstring with some bizarre butterknife-like torture device. The exercises also do not challenge me. They don’t hurt; they aren’t hard. Yet I’m not allowed to do more. So we go through the motions with no effort and just wait.

Now, I have six weeks to go. Six weeks until I can run, dance, go back to barre, do whatever the hell I want. If it continues without pain, perhaps it will go even faster than the six weeks I have already pushed through. I’m excited, anxious, but at least waiting is easier with the surge of depression fading behind me.

In the meantime, as a teaser to myself and full activity, Pratique Photography finally edited and released my Pennywise belly dance video. It was nice to see what I was able to do in constant pain so I can plan on what I can do when I’m finally healed. Check it out on YouTube.

 

Christina Bergling

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The Injury Cycle. Again.

And I’m injured again.

I feel like my fitness life has become one repeating loop. Trauma, recovery, struggle, progress, repeat. It is not a path leading somewhere; instead, it is a rerun of the same circle with varied circumstance. Birth of a child, tweaked hip, now pulled hamstring. True to the cycle, I got into a hard routine, really started to see some promising results, started to push even harder. Then BOOM! Injury. Almost as if my body itself is telling me to calm the hell down.

I’m frustrated, of course. This vicious cycle beats me down because it makes goals seem unattainable if I really am only moving toward them for a hard detour into yet another recovery and new start. Yet I am also irritated because I’m an addict, and I have been derailed. I can’t feed my addiction in this hobbled state; modifications and half-measures are never enough. Some days, full force is not enough. I was FINALLY seeing the aesthetic and performance results I wanted. Or so I told myself because I inevitably upped my requirements, goals, and dreams. But then I pushed too far; I demanded too much of my body, and it objected. Strongly.

I had been taking a lot of Pure Barre classes on a promotion. Barre classes have always been one of the hardest workouts I have attempted. They nearly kill me, and I find myself drawn to the severe challenge. The more classes I took, the better I got at the sequences. I would never say good. I still struggled plenty, but I saw progress. With each class, the closer I also got to doing the splits.

barre

I have always been super flexible, but I had never done full splits before. Following a dance class at the gym, I took some time to stretch and went through a barre stretch sequence. On the first side, I was ecstatic to find myself sitting flat in front splits with ease. I cautiously eased up to a full sit; then I slowly lifted my hands. I was in the splits! Then I switched sides. I repeated the slow and gentle process. Only on this side, when I lifted my hands, there was a loud snap in my hip joint, and my leg managed to drop even though it was already on the floor.

crushfrontsplits

I sat there for a second, completely stunned. I did not quite know what to do. I kept thinking, oh this is bad; I think this is really bad. I eased out of the stretch, and my hip and leg just did not feel right. I did some cautious and gentle stretches, attempting to gauge the damage. I walked around slowly. I went into the hot tub. At first, it seemed OK, just off. Then the pain began to bloom. Different movements caused severe twinges. Soon, there was a lot of sharp and awful pain. There might have been some tears too.

As I got my two young children ready for the swimming I promised them after the class, the pain kept seizing my nerves. I bent down to pick one up and nearly collapsed. I turned to dress another and whimpered. The tears fell down my cheeks somewhere between the physical pain and the crushing realization of how seriously I had injured myself. My two babies comforted me, my two year-old asking “OK, Momma?” and my five year-old saying “It’s OK. Breathe in; breathe out.”

Later that night, after some pain killers, I lay down in bed, and my hip snapped again.

The next day, the pain was different. It was no longer sharp and horrible, more dull and achy. However, I was still mostly incapacitated, especially from a fitness perspective. While it was tender during movement, it was unbearable to stretch. I went from being able to sit with my legs out in front of me and fold over to put my head on my kneecaps to feeling a slicing, painful stretch just sitting up with my legs out. The change was unnerving to be so different from the body I knew.

Of course, I immediately wanted to push right through all the pain. The way I did when I injured my hip last year. But I did not. I forced myself to not. For an entire week, I did NOTHING. It sounds like a short amount of time, but I scarcely go a day or two without some physical activity.  I even sought professional advice.

Since I never bruised or colored, I did not tear anything. After visiting the doctor and being tortured by the chiropractor, it seems like just a serious strain. With heat and anti-inflammatory pills and reluctant rest, it is starting to improve.

hamstringstrain

After evaluation and instruction and advice, I did permit myself to return to working out. However, I have been taking care to baby the hamstring, to accommodate it, to allow it to heal. I have not run. At all. Chasing my son a couple times has shown me that the hamstring is not at all ready. It actually hurts from the first stride. I have done half-strength zumba and yoga and even barre again. It is strange to go to zumba and only shake one side hard or go to yoga and only lay on one knee cap. It is weird to follow the muscle memory toward my accustomed flexibility and be so halted by the pain.

I am trying to learn this time though. When I injured my hip last year, I ran right through it and stretched the injury out over 9 months. It took way more work to recover. It just never improved because I kept straining it; I kept making it worse. I lived in KT tape, and the KT tape is the only thing that actually allowed it to heal. This time, I am going to rest while hurt, actually recover, then go back. It is killing me, but I keep telling myself that it is the right thing to do. I would rather suffer in the idle now than damage myself long term.

I am trying to take this injury as a good thing, as much as my mind is completely resisting the idea. I was starting to hit it too hard; I can see that now. I was pushing my 6 workouts a week to 9 or 10. I was adding additional days with double workouts, considering triple. I was taking away the one rest day a week I was giving myself. I was crossing that line of healthy enthusiast to self-destructive addict.

Typical me.

So it is a good thing that my body derailed me, a necessary thing. This will give me an opportunity to (begrudgingly) start fresh, reprioritize, see that it is acceptable to take a break and do less. I wish it did not take a serious injury to get me to step back and reevaluate, but it is a reality about myself. Sometimes, even the injury will not stop me. Like last time, I will go right through that pain.

Not this time. This time, I am learning. Or I am making the choice to learn over and over, every time I nearly fall into old patterns and injure myself further or push myself too hard.

I do miss running though. Fall weather is flirting on the edges of summer, and I just want to be on the trail in the mindless rhythm of my footfalls. My body itself misses the motions. It feels the same way it did at the end of my pregnancy and the beginning of post-partum. But I know the running is not going anywhere. The trails will not vanish while I recover. My sanity may side-step for a while, but I can find it again somewhere on one of my routes.

 

Christina Bergling

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SavagesCoverChristinaSavages

Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!
savagesnovella.com

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!
thewaning.com


Another Start

I ran by myself today for the first time in a long time. I ran the full distance with no breaks for the first time in an even longer time.

Running has not made it into my routine much in the past couple months. For a while, it seemed less and less by the week. At one point, I had dropped down to only run club on Wednesday. Part of the problem was scheduling. My fitness routine is stretched impossibly thin with zumba, barre classes, personal training, barbell classes, hiking–not to mention the demands of my non-exercise life. Yet, I think the majority of the issue has been my injury.

Running and overtraining on hills are what initially created my hip/abductor/glute issue. And running and hills are definitely what aggravate it still. The KT tape has helped substantially. I no longer hurt just walking and moving around normally. However, the pain is still there and has been there long enough for me to be over it. I just want it to recover, and I have been broken by the duration enough to be willing to take breaks and let it heal.

So I simply made my peace with running less. I missed it, but if I wanted my injury to relent and if I wanted to indulge in this litany of fitness, there was no other option.

Instead, I shifted my focus to weight loss, once again. I added the strength training I don’t enjoy. I began the calorie counting that makes me crazy. Yet, it finally seems to be working. So that is now the goal, getting the weight off. Then, hopefully, my hip will be healed, and I can return to upping my running again.

But I ran today, and it finally felt like running again. For the first time in a long time, it did not feel like a struggle the whole way, nor did my hip twinge and whine. I floated and could have been swept away by the sheer bliss in that. I felt lighter; I felt stronger; I felt more in shape. Ultimately, my pace was somewhat disappointing, but I did hike the Manitou Incline yesterday, so maybe I just am those things.

I am working to be less obsessive. Across the board. Just because I don’t lay down three or more runs a week or hit over 15 miles a week does not mean I’m not running or not a runner. Just because I take an extra rest day or allow an injury to recover does not mean I am slacking or that I will gain weight. Just because I am counting calories does not mean I cannot eat. My routine does not need to be identical every week. My brain rails against such ideas, but I am working on it.

 

Christina Bergling

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facebook.com/chrstnabergling
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SavagesCoverChristinaSavages

Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!
savagesnovella.com

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!
thewaning.com


May Stats

Running and zumba and yoga and barre, oh my! May was an active month.

I began by continuing to torture myself and falling as easy prey to my eating disorder. Yet I caught myself on the downward spiral. I finally recognized my bullshit and was able to talk myself down, coax myself back to some semblance of sanity and zen.

So I have let go. I have let myself have rest days again. I have let myself eat again. I have let myself not care so damn much again. And it has been liberating.

Once I let go (and also let myself recover and also fed myself), my running improved. I successfully completed the 11 mile, and it felt great. At the end, I actually felt like I could keep going. Perhaps it was the weight of my pressure and expectations in my limbs the previous time.

While scale continues to not favor me, the tape measure has been a bit more friendly. So there has been progress, even against the breastfeeding weight cling-on. I will take being happy and flawed over obsessive and still not perfect.

may

 

Total miles: 52
Total miles run outside: 52
Longest distance: 11 miles
Best times: 6.7 miles in 1:24, 11 miles in 2:25

Total weight loss: 25 pounds
Weight loss in May: 1 pounds

Total inch loss: 5″- 5″- 4″
Inch loss in May: 0″- 1″- 0″