When your life and potential livelihood is tied up in exercise, lifting, competing, what do you do when you’re injured?
This is now twice in as many years that I have been faced with this situation. The first time was a torn meniscus, and now a torn rotator cuff and labrum.
My first response when dealing with pain is denial. I deny I’m injured. I deny there’s anything seriously wrong: it’s just pain and I will get over it. Then my body insists that I listen and refuses to do what I’m demanding. Then I’m forced to seek medical advice. In both cases, I did not get the answer I wanted. Far from it.
My first step was to research alternative treatments and options. When I couldn’t find a solution, I did what I normally do: denial, anger, depression. Mostly depression.
My therapy is the gym. It has been my tool for stress, anxiety, depression and angst for many years now. When you take that away, I am faced with how to deal with the emotions without my "therapist".
Let me explain: I am NOT a low key, chill person. I am high energy, high emotion. To balance that, I go to the one place I can focus, deal with life’s problems, sort them out, and chill the hell out. The gym. Lift heavy shit.
Now I have experts telling me I won’t be able to use my right arm for 3-6 weeks after surgery. Period. I need surgery. I will not be able to move my arm at all for anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks. At all. No movement. This changes all of the plans I had for this year: Video release of HIIT Hop, competing at the Arnold. Also, I’ve been told, there’s a possibility I will never be able to compete again and will have restrictions for my shoulder forever. This is A LOT to take in and deal with. A LOT. This changes everything.
So, I have two options. Wallow and give up (which I’ve done my fair share of over the last couple of weeks); or figure out Plan B. And that’s what I’m doing. I’m working on Plan B.
I’ve been told by medical professionals before that I won’t be able to do (fill in the blank) ever again; or, that recovery will take a year to two….and they’ve been wrong. So, I’m not going to take it as gospel that it will take me two years to get my shoulder functioning at 100% (or in their opinion, 70%-80%). I will take it as it comes and deal with it as I go.
I’m working on what I CAN and CANNOT do for now. When I have surgery, I will work on other things I can do, just not my shoulder or arm. For the time being.
For HIIT Hop, I will work on routines and familiarize myself with the new music written and likely enlist some help for the movements I can’t do (at this time).
It boils down to a number of things: Nothing is permanent. Plans change. Nothing stays the same. It boils down to accepting the circumstances and rerouting your thinking and plans. And that’s exactly what I’m doing now. It also boils down to realizing this is temporary. Maybe my plans weren’t meant to happen right now. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t still work toward them, just in a different way … for now.
The takeaway(s): Don't ignore pain. Listen to your body. Don't "tough it out". Practice self-care. If it hurts, it's trying to tell you something. Life has a way of changing your plans...so roll with it. Look for the next step - even if it means changing the path.
Time for Plan B.