Up One Hill and Up Another
I got my MRI results today and I could use this space right here to review it and grieve over it a bit more, but I am not going to.
At least not today.
Today I spoke briefly on the phone with an old friend who always cheers me up. We mostly didn’t talk about my back, but about love and relationship and family and life. I just felt better when we hung up.
Tonight as I was reflecting on my day, I remembered a trip he and I took together in college to Yosemite National Park. We were camped for a time by a little lake in a more remote area of the northern part of the park. Beyond the lake was a ridge that looked like it must have a great view. The first day we set up camp we decided we should go up there to see the sunset. It took almost an hour to get to the top…and we found it was not the top at all. There was another higher ridge just beyond. So we watched the sunset from there and decided to try for the higher peak the next morning.
In the morning we set out. Up the first ridge, across a little flat, up the second ridge to the top…but no…seriously. Not the top, but another peak just beyond that. No problem it was early, we set out for the next one. Get to the top and then go back to camp for lunch. Up we go. What we found there was not what we had imagined. From the top of that ridge, we faced a mountain. A really, really big mountain. All those “peaks” it seemed had just been the foot hills.
For us, on that day, the mountain was just too big. We had not prepared for it.
I started running almost a year ago. I have had challenges on many levels but this thing with pain has been an interesting voyage. It started with foot pain early on. I rested it a bit, I changed shoes. It went away and I ran on.
Then I had hip pain – same side. I stretched more, I worked on my gait. I took a bit of Advil. And it mostly went away, though there was an occasional twinge. Fine. I can have a twinge. And I ran more.
Then the pain cam in my knee and while it came and went it never seemed to go for quite as long as I wanted. Then it was on the side of my leg and I thought “iliotibeal band!” so I got a roller and I stretched more and tried more things for inflammation. And it was sort of on and off, better and worse. And I ran a bit less intensely and it seemed ok.
Then the pain happened in my calf. Ruled out a clot. Ran more. Ran 2 5Ks. Had a lot of fun.
Then the pain was in my hip, the side of my leg, my knee and my back and down my shin and a bit in my foot and my leg got weak and I could not really walk down the stairs and I definitely could not run. That was my mountain.
It took a mountain for me to figure out it was my back. Sigh.
Sometimes we get so focused on the hill in front of us it is all we are aware of. And maybe there was no way I could have known there was a mountain up there. Hindsight is, of course, always 20-20. Once I say the whole picture I was even pretty sure where exactly the problem was because I had done it before (For that story, read here: Got Your Panties).
Perspective is not the same as vision – it’s not just about what we can see directly in front of our eyes. It is about really building that greater awareness of the whole picture – not just our own narrow view, but the view of the fuzzy things just out beyond the edge of the scene. Sometimes, we have to stretch a little to do this – or even a lot.
I’m not one for spending much time on the “what ifs” in life, but I do like to figure out what I might do better next time to get a different outcome. Perhaps if I can keep expanding my view, I’ll miss fewer details – or at least see the mountain before I’m standing right in front of it.
I’ll have some time to think about that now, like it or not.
And I’ll try to keep writing about it.
And in the mean time, I am contemplating buying a bicycle.