2017 was spent merely trying to remain on these two feet. While I initially thought my recovery would be brief and I would be back to racing, I spent the majority of the year wondering if I would ever come back.
I saw too many drs to count, and for the most part still see a myriad of practioners daily. Neurologists, physical therapists, actupuncture, rehabilitation doctors, sports pyschologists, and the list goes on and on. The thing about chroinc pain and brain injury recovery is no one has the manual. The data and research on female brain injury patients is pretty much non exisistent, add to the mix the athlete and the data dwindles even more.
I spent the better part of the year learning about cognitive fatigue, post concussive syndrome, and headaches that could level you in an instant. Brain injuries are often called the “invisible disability” and there is good reason for that. While you look fine, you dont feel that way. The process forward is never linear and often the setbacks are long lasting. With time comes new clarity…and the opportunity to create a different life. That opportunity comes with challenges, especially for the athlete. When you carry a lot of pride about your percieved life success both as a parent and an athlete, returning to that arena is humbling. Your life is seemingly split between the “before and the after” and often in recovery, that after looks dull compared to the before.
2017 was framed with “I CANT” not that I did not want to but simply my recovery would dictate what I could do. I spent a lot of time…processing and frustrated with what I could not do. I could not be in loud environments, race the way I wanted to, or participate in the ongoing activities of our family. Recovery was often deemed as failure, which I will write more about later but I learned that the inches forward needed celebration.
It did not stop me from continually moving forward, albeit at a different pace (one MUCH slower than I would prefer). We were fortunate to cycle RAGBRAI again, this time with the kids. An amazing opportunity to spend the summer training and riding. The kids were able to cycle 20-30 miles at a time and that was a huge accomplishment. I don’t know of a better way to spend time together.
I spent a good amount of time building my coaching business. Rather than increase my athlete load, I built a wealth of knowledge in dealing with the injured athlete. Chronic pain and injury are both mentally and physically taxing. These athletes that continue to show up and complete workouts, when the situation is less than ideal continue to inspire me. Our Sonic athlete team has some of the most passionate and dedicated athletes I have ever met.
2018, I am hoping is a year of growth….lord knows our kids are growing so stinking fast. Many nights are consumed by sports, activities and events. We will keep climbing up this recovery road…and coming back stronger than ever