Both Mental and Physical Healing

Moves. Some random single leg burpees with no rhyme or reason right before dinner in my apartment room.

Less mobility and the mind. This period of limited mobility has been difficult, because besides the high impact workouts, I can’t just pick up and even go on a nice brisk walk (one of my favorite things to do). Stairs are a hassle and taking the elevator to the second floor is more of a norm. People drive me places (so grateful!). Such is the nature of healing an injury in your leg.

But I’ve reflected a bit on how my mind has actually healed a lot in these past few years. When I was a freshman in college, I would likely be in a BIG tizzy if I were in my situation today. When I came to college, I did 50 squats every day while brushing my teeth. I only took the stairs. I could count on one hand the number of times I took the bus / train. My step count would be well over 10,000 every single day. I would do burpees as a study break. And this was not even including my formal workout. I fueled myself well, but I knew that I was moving so often.

Let me tell you, I’ve been moving a LOT less these days. I do what I can, and I stay active, but my body hasn’t experienced a “formal” workout in forever it seems. Bummed? Of course! But I have so much to explore in terms of what I can do with 3 of 4 limbs. I can put a lot of my mental effort into thinking about my…plank and pushup form. My left hip hinging motion in a pistol squat. Breathing when swimming.

I have so many resources available to me, so there is no real reason for me to complain. I can also be grateful to say that it’s temporary; not everyone can say that. And I can still eat to my satisfaction. Might be less than usual since I’m just not expending as much energy, but sometimes it’s the same amount of food as before my injury, and that’s okay. It helps me get out of the mindset of “workout = must eat more food, no workout = must eat less.”

“Why does Janice’s face look like yours?” Real quote from one of our (*cough* Asian) students in dance class last night. Like, what!? Boy, in that case, my face looks like yours too! It was comical and I’m not actually mad at this 5 year old boy, but Janice and I have definitely received a lot of comments and questions about our ethnicity and/or relation to each other, especially in St. Louis this past summer (I love STL but it truly has a different demographic and… disposition). Diversity (and general manners? even in adults, lemme tell ya) is a work in progress.

Halloween. I do not have a costume, but one of my favorite embarrassing costumes from the past is a flamingo one year. Oh, and a toucan the next year. Costco apparently stocked up on exotic bird costumes back in the day.

So tell me:

Do you ever have mental struggles when required to back off from exercise / movement?

Do you ever face comments of ignorance re: ethnicity / religion?

Are you dressing up for halloween this year? What are you!?

 

Troublemaker, People Pleaser

It’s been a minute (five whole days seems like a long time to not blog now)! I had a midterm ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Doctor’s orders. Regarding my femur, I had an appointment with the orthopedic specialist on Friday, and he told me, point-blank, “You need to get an MRI,” as well as, “Even if it’s just a stress reaction [vs. a stress fracture], I’d like you to be on crutches for about a month.”

Me: “But…can it be partial weight bearing at least?”

Him: “If you want this to heal quickly, it needs to be non-weightbearing or maybe toe touch for balance.”

Hmph. It’s not so easy being on the other side of the patient-provider interaction…

Troublemaker, part 1. Putting little to no weight through my right leg has proven to be challenging, both mentally and physically. Physically, I carry a CRAP TON of stuff throughout my day, and holding all of that with mostly my arms is like its own form of training (at least I have some alternative form of cardio?). Mentally, it seems silly because my right leg does not hurt at all when I walk short distances. So I can crutch on the sidewalks and then walk completely normally when I get home. I feel…fraudulent. But I know that it’s not about the pain; it’s about the process of healing. I do miss my usual moves and grooves as well.

I’ve been a troublemaker at times, weight bearing and walking on my right leg when I’m in class or in the Catholic center (my argument: “Doc said I can walk household distances without crutches!!”). But alllll my PT friends + John are on my TAIL about using my crutches as often as possible. As they well should be (and as I well should know to do).

People have been incredibly kind though. Strangers offering to carry my bags, people offering their seats on the train, friends walking slowly with me and opening doors for me, John helping me get groceries. The list goes on and on each day, and for that I am grateful. How can I not be happy!?

Physical therapists everywhere I turn. That was this past Saturday at the American Physical Therapy Association of Massachusetts annual conference!! I learned oodles and now have an ignited flame to advocate for PT in new and #innovative ways. PT is so much more than little Alison could have imagined when she entered into this program almost 6 years ago.

Troublemaker, part 2. Over this weekend, I for some reason felt acutely aware of all the times when I have failed others, either my friends, family, or strangers. I felt heavy and ashamed for all of the times in both the far and recent past when I have hurt people out of ignorance, selfishness, accident.

I’m a people-pleaser at my core, which is good in some respects, but my people-pleasing attitude has often been a BIG source of pride for me. Almost 3 years ago, I begged God to help me break down the walls of pride in my heart — to make me more humble. It’s been a slow and grueling process (that can’t stop, won’t stop, baby) of constantly learning humility through my own failures and shortcomings (along with all the usual embarrassments of my life). And of course, God humbles me in the best ways He knows how.

He has allowed (but not caused!) me to make mistakes and see the effects of my vices, which unfortunately results in others being hurt sometimes, in big or small ways. This has made me really dang familiar with big apologies and the sacrament of confession. But this has also made me realize that I cannot perseverate and bang my head over my failures. It’s easy for me to think it’s the end of the world if someone is mad at me or know that I hurt someone. But what ought to be the reaction? Sincerely apologize, make appropriate amends, and do better. Move forward. It’s not about me.

What does “doing better” mean to me? My people-pleasing tendency has not disappeared, but the way I view myself in relation to others has shifted… On the one hand, I understand more the effects of seemingly small instances of laziness or neglect in loving others. This brings me low in knowing my weakness as a human. On the other hand, it helps me to have a healthier sense of what loving others means. It’s not the big, “WOW THANK YOU ALISON” moments. Sometimes it’s silent refrain from certain words or actions on my part — things that the world will never notice but that are truly better in the end.

Food. To lighten things up here…

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I’ve been using leftover beer cheese dip in a lot of my dinners (perks of potlucks). On toast with an egg on top. In leftover rice with egg and sriracha on top. On a spoon.

The photo got cut off, but I tried a pumpkin mochi muffin for the first time with Lauren and Joy last week, and it changed my life. Gooey, underbaked-kinda-vibe that is what baked good dreams are made of. I want to make some!!

One day last week I ate, like, two bananas and 3 tbsp of PB total before noon.

Moves. Besides crutching everywhere (exhausting!):

  • Swimming with Abby. Also aqua jogging without a floatation belt — that’s WORK.
  • Upper body strength
  • Lots of yoga
  • Single leg strength on my unaffected side (my left butt is sore and my right side is just chillin)
  • I tried single leg rowing and that was doable but felt kinda weird
  • Core work up the wazoo

Whatever works!

Halloween costume? Janice may or may not have a boba costume made for me today. We shall see. If not, I’ll be a pirate or something with my crutches.

Wednesday already, what fun!

So tell me:

Have you ever had to use crutches or follow a protocol for something to heal in your body? Was it difficult?

Are you a people-pleaser? Has this affected you in any particular way?

What is a weird way you’ve spiced up leftovers?

Have you ever eaten a mochi muffin?

Do you dress up for Halloween? If so, whatcha gonna be this year!?

 

Things I Would Never Buy For Myself

Moves. Nothing formal yesterday, mostly due to time constraints (and the leg limiting my options). Just teaching hip hop to little kiddos and the usual activities of daily living.

Things I would never buy for myself. Yesterday I received/consumed…

  • A bar of dark chocolate (spiced with chili!)
  • A Starbucks gift card
  • “Right Rice” made of lentil and chickpea flour

All things I would never buy for myself but that have made life a little easier…

  • Dark chocolate made for a nice afternoon pick-me-up.
  • I can study at Starbucks this weekend and not depend on a study buddy to buy something so I don’t feel guilty about sitting there without buying something (because I don’t usually like buying coffee/beverages in general).
  • Right Rice is my lunch today because ain’t no one got time to thaw and cook frozen chicken breasts past 8pm this week.

Random dinner. Onions and cabbage sautéed in sesame oil, soy sauce, ground ginger, and garlic powder + toast with leftover beer cheese dip. Egg on top of both. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

FaceTime studying. I asked John at 11pm last night if he wanted to “FaceTime study,” which is just FaceTiming while silently studying our own things. I am a fan of doing this to “spend time” with people who I love who are far away or as busy as I am, and also to make sure I don’t procrastinate. John is a hard worker and his focus keeps me motivated.

Try again. So those priorities I talked about a couple days ago? 2/3 of them fell through the cracks yesterday because one of them (i.e., schoolwork) predominated. I prayed a little bit but didn’t intentionally set aside 10-20 minutes for that purpose alone. Working out just didn’t happen but that’s okay; I’ll say it was a rest day. Although I’m disappointed in myself for not actually prioritizing my priorities (I would say prayer > schoolwork; I just did not schedule myself well enough to make that happen), all I can do is try again today. Carry the cross of my own shortcomings and #JUSTDOIT – Nike / Shia Labeouf (I spelled that correctly on the first try, wow).

Have a marvelous Thursday!

So tell me:

What is something you’ve received and enjoyed recently that you would never buy for yourself?

What is the most random meal you’ve eaten recently?

Do you ever FaceTime study/work with people?

Oh, the Gift of Bipedal Walking

Moves. 30 minute yoga from Fightmaster Yoga on YouTube when I got home from class last night. I did the “30 minute HIIT yoga for core,” which just means fast-moving vinyasa intervals and more agonizing planks and chaturangas. I felt like a million bucks afterwards though.

The gift of walking. I received crutches yesterday from my friend Justin, so I started using them per doctor’s orders. Oh my GOODNESS, how often I take for granted the simple act of walking! With crutches, I am acutely aware of how quickly walking can get me places (taking public transit is the bane of my existence), as well as the weight of my backpack (my shoulders were working to support BW + 20ish lb. pack). I’m grateful to at least be on two feet still, but thank God today for your bipedal walking, friends. Your body is an efficient and marvelous machine.

Backpack contents. Speaking of heavy backpack, I should check what’s making it so heavy. I have a bunch of random crap in there – a jump rope, dry erase markers, a wallet filled mostly with receipts and cards I don’t use, like 10 folders.

Keep on keeping on. I was not a very happy camper yesterday with the crutch situation itself, but I also started to feel meh even more when I a) felt super bloated, b) could not work out all day when everyone else around me was working out, c) felt stressed with work. But I think the theme of this week needs to be, “keep on keeping on,” and, “do what you can.” Still pray, still, do the work, still do whatever movement you can, still smile and laugh.

Hope your Wednesday has been just dandy so far. I don’t know if I’m using dandy correctly – English majors???

So tell me:

Have you ever had to use crutches, wheelchair or be in a cast/brace before? For what reason?

Do you carry random crap in your backpack/purse/briefcase? Like what?

What do you think of when you start to feel poopy about yourself?

I Need Bigger Lungs

Or more efficient oxygen delivery in my body because MAN, I get WINDED when I swim.

Moves. Swimming some laps + aqua jogging with Abby on Friday morning! I was sucking wind chlorinated water, people. My lungs were not cut out for the fish life; I’m used to breathing whenever I want when I work out. I rather enjoyed the challenge though, and I’m determined to build up my swimming stamina (by stamina I literally mean not having to take a break after each lap). I even went swimming yesterday morning again by myself!

Saturday’s workout was 20 min of boxing and 3 rounds of 10 pistol squats on my left leg only (see below for reason) + 3 wall walks.

Stress fracture. I finally got it officially diagnosed via X-ray, so ya girl is taking it easy and awaiting a friend to lend me his crutches. I can walk, but I just need to lay off a little to let it heal. Hence the swimming and one-sided pistols. But hey, at least I am motivated to try something new!

Fall frenzy. It seems that everyone I know did something #fall this weekend — went to Vermont to see the foliage, went to New Hampshire to see the foliage, went apple picking, went to a pumpkin patch, carved pumpkins… I LOVE IT. I, for one, went to an Oktoberfest party at church, and that was a blast. I even made beer cheese dip as a dunk for the soft pretzels. The only occasion I will consume Guinness is when it’s in a food.

The woman I am created to be. When I visited the Sisters of Life last year (read: I maybe wanted to become a nun), I remember how taken I was by their lives of order, discipline, holiness, and just beauty. I was drawn by all the simple yet profound ways that they led their lives, and I knew that they were living life as it ought to be. They loved God, neighbor, and self, in that order. I am not thinking of becoming a nun at this moment in time, but I have been praying a lot about revisiting those virtues and ways of living that I once adored so much and for which I strived. How can I live in an ordered and disciplined way for God here and now in this season and vocation of my life as a student, daughter, sister? How can I become the woman who I am created to be right now, today?

Busy week ahead! Here we gooooo, folks!

So tell me:

Do you like swimming? Are you good at it?

Have you ever had an injury that requires crutches?

Did you (in the northern hemisphere) do anything fall-related this weekend?

Any deep thoughts you wanna share?