I approached the exercise bike warily. A lot was riding on this. If I could pedal pain free, that meant hope. It meant an end to feeling stuck. An end to just watching my weight balloon upward, aided by lack of exercise and heavy duty medication.
How did this happen? How did I go from being a person who could run five miles or more without really thinking about it, to someone who screamed in pain just getting out of bed? It's simple, really. One slip on a wet rock and there you are. Your life, changed in an instant.
Since my trail running accident last week I have been attending a pity party, guest of one. I'm scared of a lot of things.
I'm scared it won't get better. That I'll be one of those people with back problems.
I'm scared that I won't be able to run or backpack again.
I'm scared that I'll get fat.
I'm scared that I'll lose fitness.
The pain medications barely take the edge off. This is pain like I have never experienced: electric shock pain. This means a nerve, but whether it is a muscle spasm or a bulging disk, I don't know. Either way the treatment is the same. One thing that is encouraging is that with back pain, you are meant to move. Sitting around only makes it worse. Yesterday I managed to walk about four miles. The pain lurked and occasionally flared up as if to say, Hello! I'm still here! but at the blistering speed of 2 mph, I kept on going.
Luckily nobody was in the gym to witness my uneasy climb onto the bike. I began to pedal slowly. The pain lingered and then retreated. I almost wept with relief. If I can ride the bike, as boring as it may be, that means that there is something aerobic I can do. That makes all the difference.
I know one thing. I will never take being healthy for granted again. I think back to all the times I moaned and groaned that I just didn't feel like it and I wish I could be back there, facing a gale force wind or rain.
It doesn't help to second guess, whine, or rage at the universe. This is what I've been handed. How I deal with it, whether it is by making everyone around me miserable, or with grace, is up to me.