This picture was taken exactly seven days ago. I had needed some fresh air and my back was bothering me as it has increasingly over the past few months. Even before the move I knew it was getting worse, and now stress of the move and lack of consistent exercise was taking a toll. I knew I needed to move my sore joints so I hiked up a small mountain a few km behind our house. What’s remarkable to me as I look at this picture today is what has happened since. The day after the hike I spent in intense pain and by evening couldn’t hold up a book. I spent the next several days mostly in bed (thankfully Ryan had a stretch of days off so parenting could happen) with a brief jaunt out for physiotherapy. Today is much, much better but I’ve got some work to do.
Having AS (or ankylosing spondilitis for short) for the past eight or so years, there is a cycle I’m fairly familiar with. I feel good, am exercising fairly regularly and start pushing myself a bit more (ie: half marathon last winter). Start doing things around home that I maybe shouldn’t (usually involves some sort of heavy landscaping work project). My pain increases, maybe I see physio a bit or back off a day or two, then continue to do more than I should until I can’t ignore it anymore. Unable to do much of anything, I feel sorry for myself, get very scared that it’ll be as bad as in beginning (long story), and book all sorts of appointments I’ve been putting off (to my credit I’m not nearly as stupid as I was in the beginning). I blame it on not having my trusted physio on hand (or in province) and the stress of moving. Or, if I’m honest it’s that I’ve been so darn pleased with what my body has done for me this past year I thought I could ignore it telling me to slow down. I mean, a half marathon? Really? Running is on the ‘no fly’ list for AS and I didn’t weekend warrior that thing, I trained (ie: ran a lot). And if I can do a half marathon, a half Ironman is just around the corner and then…
Well, turns out I still have AS and actually need to take care of myself, listen to what my body (and Ryan) is telling me (‘someone else can lift the heavy boxes Kerrie’), and most importantly; do something about it. A dear friend wrote recently about realizing she needed to be kind to herself. Simply put, but so very difficult for me.
Right now my body needs some kindness and I need to re-work my expectations of my physical self. It’s my silver lining in all of this; a forced time of rest to evaluate what is possible and what is not, what is important now and what can wait, what is worth pushing myself for and what is not.