Friday, January 3, 2014

Shoulder update

Since my surgery, I've been struggling to stay active. A friend pointed this article by Scott Adams out, and it says a lot of things I believe - namely, that exercise shouldn't be a struggle based on willpower. You might use willpower to get you through mile 22 of a marathon, but your entire program shouldn't be based on it. That's why I do capoeira and yoga and hike, because 9 days out of 10 I'm excited to go to class.

But suddenly capoeira and yoga were off limits for me, and my hiking was limited to hikes that didn't involve scrambling or require a backpack. I tortured myself with a few spin classes, frustrated myself with a few samba classes, and did a moderate amount of walking. (But walking in the same place every day - boring!) The end of the semester didn't help, as it never does. While visiting family in Oregon, I was forced to confront how out of shape I'd become. I determined to get back in shape when I returned to New York, so that when my shoulder was finally ready for the activities I liked, the rest of my body wouldn't collapse.

(Yes, I know it's New Year's. I haven't made a resolution in years. If it makes you feel better to call this one, go ahead.)

Then I found out insurance was done paying for my PT, which means fewer visits since my pockets aren't so large. Yesterday at my appointment, I asked my therapist about when I could return to capoeira. She wouldn't give me a time estimate, but she said we would need to really push to make that happen. I had hoped January, then February, and now I am afraid it may be even longer.

I probably shouldn't be surprised. While my body fights off infections like a champ, I heal from injury slowly. Whether it's a simple cut or bruise or something more complex, I'm not on the bleeding edge. I also build strength slowly. While my sister can walk by a gym and burst out into a six-pack, my muscles grow slowly. My body was designed for endurance, not strength.

There are spots of bright news in there. One, my PT is very happy with how my flexibility has returned. It's not 100% of what it was before, but then I was very, very flexible before. Two, she said I could try wearing a backpack - no backpacking through Europe, mind you. Three, my schedule this semester is much more flexible than in the fall. The two activities I have available to me now - pilates and hiking - can be fit in with much more ease. I don't love pilates, but I don't mind it. If I'm going to be out for a long time, then I'll start looking at things like ballet, but I hope it doesn't come to that.

It's a struggle to remain upbeat about my shoulder some days. I'm not naturally a patient person. But, this week I've gone to pilates twice and done two hikes. Today, I'm going to do nothing at all, because my body needs a rest. Nothing, that is, except my PT exercises. Gotta uphold my part of the bargain.

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