Project: Body Restoration

I have become obsessed with the interrelation of mobility, posture, health, and pain. I have decided to use the blog feature on my new Mosaic Touch website as a tool for me to progress from a state of conscious incompetence to conscience competence as I put everything I am learning into practice.

How I Got To Here, Part 1:

I have always been very proud of my physical strength. As a child I climbed trees and excelled at butterfly on the swim team. Although I was insecure about how large my upper body was as a result of my activities, I loved how powerful I felt because of it. By college I decided that strength was simply a matter of willingness and determination. I thought most women just automatically assumed something was too heavy for them rather than try to lift it. Maybe its my independent nature, dislike of asking for help, but I always did it myself, come hell or high water.

I had natural births with a midwife. I broke my pelvis at the pubic symphysis by pulling on my knees too hard during the pushing phase of my first son, Tobin. I also suffered a third degree tear into my anus. I couldn't walk for weeks, but he was my prized tomato growing to a staggering 26 pounds by 6 months. He was 8 lbs. 13 oz. and 21" long-and he was my smallest baby! Jengo was my largest at 9 lbs 14 oz., 21" long, but his was my easiest birth. In my mind I had triumphed, I had two big beautiful baby boys and had avoided epidurals and C-sections, but I had no idea of how my hip issues would plague me.

In my late twenties, I wasn't the type of mom that baked cookies. I took Bodypump classes at the YMCA. I used the heaviest weights to squat and could bang out 100 full pushups. I worked part time in the warehouse at my father's wholesale plumbing supply and could lift the same tubs, heaters, bundles of pipe, and boxes of galvanized fittings as all my male colleagues. I had a little trouble breaking in to the boy's club because I was both a girl AND the boss' daughter. Two strikes. Many of the men would drop what they were holding to come help me with whatever I was carrying. I learned not to argue, but to just pick up what they had set down and walk behind them. Eventually they realized I could handle it and dropped the chivalrous behavior. The comradery I earned also exposed me to raunchy fart pranks and vulgar speech which somewhat prepared me for the roller derby girls I would meet in my early thirties.

My first years of roller derby were the happiest years of my life. I was adopted by an entire community of women who were as tough, and I am ashamed to say, much stronger than me. I felt a connection I never had to women and I was challenged past my perceived limits by our crossfit style training. Writing this, I literally get weepy and hear the Dirty Dancing song, "I had the time of my life..." except I substitute "...and I owe it all to Roller Derby." Yes I swear. It's the truth...

That was actually the beginning of my falling apart. I partially tore my right MCL (knee) at tryouts by landing in a herkie position and wore a brace my whole first season. I tore a chest muscle by handing a client a heavy box and got to joke with the guys that I sprained my boob. I suffered repeated acromio-clavicular (shoulder) sprains because old school derby focused on shoulder hits. Then I badly tore my right rotator cuff by throwing (football style) a bundle of 1' copper onto the racks atop a plumber's van. When my favorite orthopedic surgeon examined my shoulder he found 16 things wrong with it. I definitely needed surgery, but I wanted to wait until our season was over. We had a chance to play at Nationals and I wanted to be there. Unfortunately during our regional tournament I completely tore my right ACL and meniscus. It snapped and took a fragment of femur bone with it. My knee was too unstable to walk well, so I had to do my ACL replacement surgery first.

After 4 months of rehab I rejoined my home team's workouts and fought hard to lose the extra weight I put on and regain the strength in my legs that had atrophied from being immobile in a straight leg brace. It was a dreaded but common injury in female athletes and I had seen many skaters bounce back and be awseome again.

Not me. I ended up back in Dr. Mc Cullough's office with a grapefruit sized knee insisting it was just tendonitis from trying hard to build back my quad. He told me what I didn't want to hear. He said, "That's it. It's over. No more skating. No more running. No more squats. No more lunges. No more sports that require pivoting." I could not think of a single thing I liked to do that did not involve those things. He went on to explain that I should remain active, but I should switch to something gentler such as yoga or pilates. I burst into tears and told him defiantly, "There's no hitting in pilates!" Since my knee recovery didn't go well I had no interest in fixing my shoulder either. I pretty much lost interest in everything.

I would like to say that I summoned my strength and fought hard to prove the doctor wrong. That I was disciplined and followed a militant exercise program ala Rocky montage so that I could do everything I wanted on one good leg. After all, Oscar Pistorius accomplished olympic feats with no legs, right??? But alas, I simply drifted into depression. I slept more. I ate more. I drank a lot more alcohol. I became very sullen and irritable, and I felt very sorry for myself. Then I came up with a great idea. I decided to give myself a happy reason to not be able to play derby-pregnancy.


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