Setbacks

Does anyone remember Paula Abdul’s song lyrics for Opposites Attract? The chorus went like this “I take two steps forward, I take two steps back…”

Well, if I did this, I end up at the same place I started. That is a setback. I feel like I am back at square one. For all of my accomplishments at Crossfit, one moment of a lapse in judgment caused a major setback.

I had bid farewell to my PT less than a week ago, but I may have to run back to him. I haven’t decided yet, but the eight ball is telling me the chances are high. Maybe I secretly love going to PT. Ok, maybe it’s not really a secret after all.

This past Tuesday, like most mornings, I grabbed my laptop bag with my right arm. As my elbow bent inwards to support the weight of the laptop, I instantly knew I had bent it too much, too fast. My nerve reacted by sending my brain pain signals. My elbow does not want to be in this position whatsoever. Something I’ve done for well over 10 years boiled down to this one moment, this one dreadful moment. I had a daunting realization – my shoulder is about 80% recovered, but now I have this new elbow issue that could possibly hinder my shoulder recovery.

I’ve had setbacks before & for the most part, I’ve overcome them. But, getting to that point was always a struggle. My first reaction would be denial. I would assume a few days rest would fix the issue. When a few days become a few weeks, and then a few weeks become a few months, that is when I’d fall into a mild depression. I would start to blame myself for the injury. Why didn’t I do it this way or that way, so that I wouldn’t be in the position I am in right now?! Hindsight is always 20/20. I’d get so frustrated at menial tasks that I didn’t have to think about before. I’d get so mad because all the hard work & progress was all for naught. I would have to start with baby steps again to build back up to the same level. Along with rehabilitation, it could take months, even years, to get back to this point.

Plagued with so many injuries from the past, you would think I would have smartened up a bit now that I am older. I should know better. I do know better. I am no longer invincible. But, somehow, we all want to revert back to who were in the past – the super humans of our youth. Oh, how I long to be that again, but I digress. I do know better now. I refuse to work through the pain. I stop when I feel something isn’t right with body & I request to have the movement modified. I have to consciously ensure my position is correct after each rep I do at CF because I don’t want to risk further injuries on my already broken body. See, I’d smarten up just a teensy bit, not a lot, just a little itty bitty bit.

How we deal with the setbacks will determine how far we can go or how far we can fall. It’s really your choice. Yes, it is a choice. You can let the setback rule your life or you can grab the reins & take back control.  My shoulder injury set me back for a long time. I can’t even begin to describe to you what the last 2 years have been like living with it. But, I put in my time & effort with the PT (who is amazing btw) & I’ve made so much progress. I refuse to let this new setback define me.

I’ve decided to take a few weeks off from CF to see how I feel. It’s always good to take some time off to heal your body, as well as your mind. An orthopedic visit might be in my future if the elbow doesn’t feel better, but I’m hoping it won’t be necessary.

Hover

I’d prefer to hover over my setbacks!

Setbacks are roadblocks in your life. How you handle them will determine how successful you will be. This is something we can apply to all facets of our life. How will you handle your setbacks?

I’m So Over You

I’ve self-prescribed my release from Physical Therapy. I told my therapist after this morning’s session that I was leaving & I never wanted to see him again. We’re breaking up. We’re going to cut this off cold turkey. No more phone calls to make “appointments,” no more early morning romps on the therapy table, & no more man-handling my shoulder & arm. I’m through with this. It was a great 6 months while it lasted, but I’m done. Adios, Ciao, Sayanara!

The shoulder pains began in March 2011. Years of volleyball, among other athletics took its toll. I was still feeling young & invincible, so I stopped volleyball in July 2011, & headed straight into Crossfit. That might not have been the smartest idea. I told you, I was feeling young & invincible dumb & reckless. Doing CF didn’t bother me until the end of the year when I noticed tightness in my shoulders that never went away. I went to a chiropractor who kept cracking my back & neck. I didn’t see how this was benefitting me. Then, I went to Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) chiropractor for 2 months. The A.R.T. made me feel better for a day or two, but the pain never went away. This was not a long-term cure.

In March 2012, I entered my first Crossfit Games Open, which was one of the most exciting moments of my CF career. I had recoreded numerous gains in my performance & strength. The adrenaline died down shortly afterwards, but I continued to push my physical limits. I was at the point of a major burn-out Crossfitting 24 out of 31 days that month. In May, I did a WOD with chest to bar pull-ups unassisted. Somewhere along the way, I felt pulling from the nerves on my right shoulder. That was the last time I did anything overhead. It was the beginning of a slight depression for me.

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Crossfit Games Open 12.3
75lb Push Press – 03.08.12

From that day on, I focused on lower body movements. Modifying everything was aggravating. I’ve never done so many lunges, squats, box jumps, sit-ups, v-ups, & running in my life. It was getting dull; I was feeling unmotivated & frustrated with myself. Most of all, I was mad, upset & disappointed at myself for even getting to this point. If I had only listened to my body & visited a doctor a long time ago, I would never have been in this position. Hindsight is always 20/20. I took 2 months off from CF in the hopes the rest would aid in the recovery of my shoulder. It didn’t.

It could have been my pride or fear, whatever it was, it took me a long time to see an orthopedic. I expected dreadful news. What was I to do if I couldn’t play volleyball or Crossfit ever again?!? Oh the horror! I know, I know, there are worse things in life, but anyone who knows me know athletics/sports are a big part of my life. It’s like telling me to stop eating bananas….forever. Blasphemy!

The orthopedic roughed me up. He moved my shoulder in ways I didn’t think was possible. My shoulder has never hurt so much as it did the next 2 weeks after my visit. He insisted I get an MRI with contrast to confirm a right shoulder labral tear. I spoke to numerous medical professionals, as well as hubby, to see what my next step should be. I decided to opt out of the MRI & start Physical Therapy first. If possible, I want to avoid surgery, but I have to admin, there was a huge part of me that thought surgery would be the quick fix. However, I failed to think of the consequences of surgery. I would still require PT & even then, it might never get back to 100%.

I made a PT appointment. After 4 sessions, I dropped him. He was awful. I told him I had pain after the 3rd session & he basically dismissed me by telling me I wasn’t feeling the pain where I thought I felt it at. Ummmm….okay. Peace out!

I tried another PT, who was better & more attentive, but somewhere along the way, she started over-booking appointments & had less & less time for me. 11 treatments later & I wasn’t where I wanted to be..

2012-09-11BoxJump2

Injured Right Shoulder taped up
09.11.12

Finally, I let go of my pig-headedness and I reluctantly went to hubby’s PT in Dec. 2012. I had little expectations, especially since I came from 2 very unspectacular PTs. He would always spend 20 minutes or more doing manual work. January 2013 came & I was still weary. I just want to be fixed right now! I cried to my hubby. It was so frustrating going to PT every week & not see the instant results that you so desperately want. My exchanges with the hubby went something like this: Was I doing the exercises at home? No. Then how will I ever get better? I don’t know. Keep going to PT & do your exercises at home. Fine! *humph* Whatever. I slumped in the corner of the bed, crying into my stuffed Munkie, my annoyance with hubby was obvious. I’ve never felt so defeated in my life.

FINE! My response rang in my ears, over & over again. I’m NOT fine. The talk with hubby was definitely a wakeup call. It definitely boosted my morale & gave me the motivation that I lacked at the time. I started proactively going to the gym every day just to do my PT exercises & at home on weekends. 3 months flew by & I started noticing changes, I was feeling stronger, I slept better.  Even I was surprised by my progress, although slow & small, but it was definitely an improvement nonetheless. 4 months in, I started doing unassisted pull-ups at CF, which I haven’t done in almost a year. 5 months in, I was hitting PRs (Personal Records) left & right at CF with weights that I never thought possible.

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Crossfit Games Open 13.1
45lb Snatch – 03.08.13

At my lowest point, I thought I would never do another pull-up or overhead movement again. I tried to convince myself that I would be okay with that. This lessened the blow in case my arm didn’t improve. It is very much a mental struggle when trying to overcome an injury. I’m so glad I continued to push myself with the help of my hubby by my side, even though sometimes it felt like a thorn in my side. I’m also grateful for all my coaches who accommodated to my injury & continue to inspire me to do everything with proper form so I do not re-injure myself.

I really didn’t think I would ever get to this point if you had asked me 6 months ago. I’m ready to let my therapist go & he was more than willing to let me go. Our time together has come to an end. The relationship was rocky at the beginning, but then trust was built & progress was made in itty bitty baby steps. We’ve outgrown each other, but we’ll stay friends. I know he’s only a phone call away if I ever need him. So, today, I say good-bye.