The days between Christmas and New Year’s Day often blur together. Sometimes the edges lag behind as time flies by, while other years sees time moving so slowly that every day feels like an entire week. I am not quite certain what these days will end up looking like, but my short little four hour shift at work today felt like an entire eight hours. And yet, it feels like Christmas was last week. Maybe the issue is just me and my perpetual state of physical discomfort and fatigue. I don’t know, and I guess it doesn’t really matter much anyway. Each day begins and ends regardless of what I am doing. This year will end and the new will begin in the same way.
Despite my difficulties in grasping the passing of time, this period of holiday limbo is when many reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new. My looking ahead post will need to wait for another day, but I finally have a few moments to sit and reflect on 2018.
This year began with me in an unplanned and unexpected position of being injured, in constant pain, on a lengthy medical leave of absence, and having to let go of some of my goals. My theme for 2018 was Making Lemonade, because I wanted to accept the disappointments and struggles as opportunities for growth, things to embrace rather than run from. How did I do? That’s probably up for debate. Others might have a different opinion than mine, but I think I did okay. Mostly. There were rough spots, to be sure, and I know them well. Medication has definitely affected my mood, along with my energy levels, and I am only human. The past year has been most frustrating and painful, and I would be lying if I said I was 100% happy about the lemons dropped into my lap.
And yet, in spite of those low moments, I have tried to remain positive and hopeful and accepting of what I’ve been going through. There have been many occasions where others have tried to insist that I feel less positive and that I get more angry and upset. While I might slip into despair now and then, I really cannot linger in such a negative state for too long. Maybe making lemonade is part of my nature.
As for any goals that I had for 2018…
The uncertainty that came with my injury meant making fairly broad and general goals. I wanted to heal the disc and was willing to do whatever it took to get there, even staying off of the platform for the entire year. A few health practitioners have said that the disc has been healing nicely. What does that even look like or mean? I do not know! The low back itself generally feels good. It still gets achy sometimes, especially after a long day at work with lots of bending, but I have no reason to think that the original injury hasn’t healed. Unfortunately, I haven’t stopped having constant nerve pains in my legs, and portions of my left foot and calf are still numb. I am still doing what I can to try to improve my situation, but I am constrained by the limitations of our health care system. Various medications have done virtually nothing for me, at least nothing positive, and I am still waiting for nerve testing and a nerve block. I am also handcuffed by my family doctor’s indifference. So healing has been a mixed bag. I am much improved compared to this time last year, compared to even six months ago, but I could never have imagined still being in constant pain after all this time.
Powerlifting wasn’t just put on the back burner this year; the burner was shut off. My goal to compete at Nationals last February crumbled into dust during a January physio appointment. Competing at Provincials in June felt like a slight maybe, but I quickly accepted that there would be no competing at all this year and that was okay. Even returning to powerlifting exercises at the gym has been extremely slow. I was only allowed to put a barbell on my back about a month ago, although the weight permitted is still lower than what I would begin to warm up with prior to the injury. The slow, baby steps is a little frustrating, at least until I am partway through a set and feeling the nerve pains in my legs.
The rest of my goals revolved around trying new things, simplifying, and growing or expanding. Again vague goals but meaningful to me. The ongoing nerve issue has been a giant obstacle in my path in many ways and for most of the year, but I think I still managed to put a bunch of check marks in the goals column. I did my own version of a polar bear dip on New Year’s day. I was able to volunteer at a powerlifting meet. I tried blue cheese and pho for the first time (probably other things that I cannot remember in this moment). Boxes and boxes of needless things have been removed from my house. New people have been embraced and welcomed into my life, and I do think I have grown through the year’s struggles. Honestly, if my head was clearer I would probably be able to think of more specifics.
I am not disappointed to see 2018 go, although I do wish the nerve pain would go with it. Making lemonade was a good theme for the year, but I am ready for a different focus.