After two weeks of not exercising, I'm kinda relieved to see my weight not balloon.
That being said, omg, why am I eating so much bad food for me?

See yesterday's Baja Fresh burrito ultimo with shrimp. 860 calories for lunch AND cheesburger with mac & cheese for dinner.

I do this to myself, I know it.

I get injured and get depressed. I need to change the mentality of "well, fuck it, I'm injured anyways" to "I might be injured, but I can still pay attention to my diet."

See that I see.

Robert Francis once wrote (in "Summons") that sometimes we need someone in our life that won't let us miss a beautiful moment, even the moment that is in the process of being created.

First, a disclaimer and apology to any family members that might one day read this when I'm ready to share this journal and its contents with them.

A few years ago I had the most extraordinary of lovers/"fuck buddies."  I find the term "lover" to be too saccharine and "fuck buddy" to be too stark.  He wasn't a one-night stand, nor was he a boyfriend.   He was part psychologist, part explorer, part sexual surrogate, part fantasy, part reality.  He was comforter and conqueror.  Years later, I'm struggling to find a single word for him and for what he was to me.  But in thinking of the Robert Francis poem, I can say what he did:  he summoned me forth.

He didn't let me hide from myself, or from him.  More than just letting him touch me, I let him see me, and he didn't look away.  He taught me to give up control and give trust.  He allowed me to sink into a pillow and grasp at bedsheets.  He encouraged me to bring joy and friendship into sex.

He once asked me to stand on my bed-- clothes off and lights on.  I turned around, modeling my nakedness to him.  As I turned around full circle, he was looking straight into my eyes.  I pulled him close to me, his head resting on my most embarrassing of body parts--my stomach.  My fingers ran through his golden hair, and I whispered silent words of gratitude as I sank into his body.

He's moved on farther than I have, but I miss him, his capable hands, his perfect lips, but most of all I miss the gift of what he gave me on those nights -- not only himself, but the gift of myself.

Broken, but good. Yeah, still good.

I went back today to the Dr today, as I will be for months, to re-learn how to use my body as to not hurt it, and I told him I had reconsidered his question.  My new answer wasn't something he could necessarily address, but that the rehabilitation could answer.  You see, I had been talking with a friend who has a chronic disease that is hard for people to understand.  After this conversation I realized my one, all-encompassing goal was to not feel broken.  I don't want to feel delicate, fragile, or unable.

I think a large part of this change was in thanks to Aimee Mullins.  In her TED talk she says the only disabilty is a broken spirit -- and that everything else is about how we meet adversity, not necessarily how we overcome it.  I feel that for a while my spirit has been broken. I have allowed myself to feel broken down and my dreams discarded.

It's not that I feel sorry for myself. It's more like for the past 3 years has really caught up with me.  When I was fighting to get doctors to believe that it wasn't in my head, I had a very clear goal:  convince someone, get better.  And then I had not just one but many doctors understand that something was wrong, but also so many different views about how to make it better. I went with the most conservative plan -- physical therapy, avoid surgery, manage pain -- with the hopes that I would be able to keep mobility and flexibility in my lower back. On the days when my mobility is limited, I question my path, and on the days when I'm feeling well, I'm thankful I didn't have a spinal fusion.

But I've never been able to escape the notion of feeling broken, irreparable. And who wants a broken, irreparable person? Setting aside all of my other self-esteem issues, this is what has broken my spirit.  I don't want to be anyone's burden, but I so desperately want to belong to someone at the end of the day.  In my mind, he holds me in his arms and that little bit of joy makes the pain go away. I think about that moment and feel that anything I have to endure to get there is going to be worth it. My spirit is broken because I know how flimsy that fantasy is. I know that it's not a guarantee. My spirit is broken because for the time being, I'm the one who holds myself at night, and sometimes I just don't have the strength to do that.

So more physical therapy. More rehabilitation.
But most of all, patching up the holes where my spirit and fight have escaped me.
If I can do that, I know that no matter the outcome -- whether I'm running marathons or forced with no other option but surgery -- I've fulfilled my own promise to myself:  To be tenacious; to be bold, to be as whole as anyone can ever be, to see the humor and the grace in all things.  To be flawed and celebrate those flaws.

Still broken....

I'm going to an chiropractor that specializes in exercise mechanics and structural anatomy to figure out what I can and cannot do in terms of exercise. Last week we met and discussed my injuries, my treatments, my history... all of it.   I got very emotional. I mean, it's hard to really think I've been dealing with this for 13 years or so and still hurt.

He asked me what my goals were.  I said "to be able to sleep comfortably. To be able to sit comfortably. To be able to walk longer than 30 minutes without hurting."   I think he was surprised that I didn't say something a bit more extravagant than that, but seriously if I could lie in a bed without having to spend 10 minutes finding the right position that doesn't hurt, I'd be happy.  Like seriously happy.

On the downside, I've let this frustration get to me (as well as the joy of being around friends) and I've been drinking more in the past 2 weeks (3 nights fairly drunk)  than I have in the previous 2 months (nothing).  I think the more this progresses, the more empathy I have for my mother, who had 3 herniated discs in her lower back (same as me) as well as 3 herniated discs in her neck.  Sometimes the medicines (valium and vicodin) don't help me to cope with the pain.  Sometimes all I want is to finish off a bottle of wine, fall in bed, and not feel anything for the next 8 hours.  My family history (on both sides) suggests that this desire is a very dangerous thing to toy with.  The doctor that prescribes my meds knows how careful I am about not using them unless I'm really having trouble sleeping (In one year I used 30 vicodin and 20 valium). I try not to use them at all.

The only other thing that brings me great relief is ice and/or floating in cold water -- neither of which are addictive.

And the one other thing that brings me a little bit of comfort is that finally doctors look at my MRI and then at me and tell me how much pain I must be in.  The vindication.  A friend of mine recently hurt her back and she said "I finally understand what you've been going through."  More vindication, but she's lucky.  She'll heal.  If you've never injured your spine, you can't really understand what it's like to deal with some quantity of pain almost every minute of your life.  I know, tiny violin solo for that. I know there are worse things in the world, that there are people out there that suffer more and greater pain, but this is the pain I deal with.  I spent 10 years trying to tell people I was injured, that I wasn't weak, or lazy.

Just their saying "I understand" or "I can see where you hurt" makes it feel like I don't have to fight anymore. I just need to get well.

Self Defeat

Temptation always lurks, especially when you're depressed that you can't go to the gym because of an injury.  But doesn't temptation look DELICIOUS?

It's been 4 days and my back is still not happy.  I walk around the office like Igor. I walk home gingerly. And yes, I'm depressed because I can't go to the gym.  And the only thought running through my head is "who wants a broken doll?"  I'm fat and I'm delicate. What man wants that?

More than my constant hear of having to get a 4-level spinal fusion is having to go through it alone.  I'm 28 years old and I've never been in love, never been loved.


I've been so good this week:  went to the gym (to run on the elliptical for 45+ minutes each time) on Monday evening, Tuesday morning, Wednesday morning, Thursday afternoon.  And then last night while sitting in a chair, showing something to my friend, I just twisted the wrong way.  Few people ever get to see me in acute pain. She had no idea what to do, but thankfully she didn't try to do anything.  Breathe through it, try not to move, and then when the pain passes, ICE ICE ICE.

So no gym today. Heck, walking even hurts. Sitting hurts.
I hate it when life starts throwing curveballs.

But this is exactly what I always fear -- the more active I am the greater the chance of re-injuring my back.
I think that's the reason I think of getting a tummy tuck/lipo so frequently. I mean, how else am I supposed to lose the weight if I can't run, am not allowed to use weights, not allowed to twist.  Even swimming and yoga hurt :(


Thanks to the internet, calorie counting doesn't suck as much as it could...
But still, it's a pain in the ass to go to a restaurant (not the fast food kind) and try to guesstimate calories. Or remember that piece of candy you ate? Well, try to find its nutritional information online (as in the case of the dark chocolate reeses pieces butter cup miniatures).

A pack? A herd? A gaggle?

What do you call a group of people running together when they're not racing against each other, fleeing from or toward something, and don't have pitchforks?

All joking aside, I've been getting my ass out of bed to exercise.  On Monday I worked out at my work gym after I was done for the day. Two of my friends were there.  Yesterday morning, I planned on going to the gym, but instead I cursed at the alarm clock.  This morning I schlepped my butt out of bed and went running.  There were lots of people there at 7am.

I used to go to a gym where I'd see one or two people I knew, but it's so weird to be sweating with people who are higher up on the food chain than I am.  But did a single one judge me?  Heck no.

I think that's the point -- you do the work, you get the respect for putting in the time.
It makes you want to go back time after time.

Also, I cannot stress enough the importance of having the support to do this.  I don't have people tempting me left and right (like normal) so I know that if I get that cupcake, it's my own fault, yanno? If I drink those three vodka drinks, it's me who has to work it off. Though it's on my shoulders, having cheerleaders makes all the difference -- people asking if you're going to the gym, people asking how you're doing, etc.