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Last week I had reached my limit; I was done. Everyone has their breaking point and I just discovered mine…….
It has been about two months since that fateful day I decided to go to the doctor about my foot. It feels like forever since I have slipped into my gi, tied my faithful white belt around my waist and bowed onto the mat. I miss the way the mat felt under my bare feet and I long for the feeling of weightlessness that I felt as I flew threw the air. I had to go back…..
Tuesday evening I showed up with my gi bag slouched over my shoulder. When sensei saw me downstairs with my gear, I was greeted with a smile. I went to the changing room and found myself quite nervous as I began to change. I'm not sure why I was so nervous, but part of it must have been because I wasn't sure exactly what would happen. Was it time for me to step back on that mat or was I just being stupid? As I walked upstairs, I figured that I would soon find those answers out for myself.
My main goal for the class was to slowly wade myself into the waters and see exactly how deep I could go before getting overwhelmed. Each time I felt like I had waded in just a bit too far, I would pull back. Unfortunately, I knew that I wouldn't know my limitations until I pushed them too far. Turns out the class went well. Tuesday evening is a beginner class, so I knew that it would be a good class to test out my foot. One thing I discovered that I'm not quite ready for yet are forward rolls. Putting all the weight on the foot as I come up on that side is still a bit much. Luckily, I was able to find this out on my own during ukemi warm ups in the beginning of class, so I was controlling everything at that point.
Sensei kept an eye on me and about fifteen minutes before class was over, sensei came up with the pack of frozen peas I am all too acquainted with and told me to sit out the rest of the class and ice the foot (as I was staying for an additional hour of tai chi class after aikido). I sat off on the side, icing my foot and watching the end of class. As they lined up to bow out, sensei motioned me to come back on the mat so I could bow out with them. I was ecstatic to be back and as I walked downstairs to change into my sweats and hoodie, I couldn't help but feel like I had made the right decision to come back.
Wednesday I showed up again for more. First class was a weapons class. It went alright I suppose. After an hour of working with the bokken, I felt this stinging sensation on my hand and was more then surprised that I had taken a chunk of skin the size of a pencil eraser off of my left palm where the pinky pad is (just below where the pinky joins the palm). How could this be!?! Has two months off of class really softened my hands up THAT much? Sure enough, as I examine my hands, the calluses I had built up were no longer there. After class, I put on a bandaid and wrapped some athletic tape around my hand to keep the bandaid on.
Second hour, sensei showed up to teach. As I looked around, the class consisted of three white belts and three yudansha. This was the class that I knew I would have to be careful with. This class is usually more vigorous and sometimes you can get tossed around rather hard. Turns out that this class would turn out to be more difficult for me then I anticipated. For this class, we mainly worked on henkawaza, (sp?) which was fun because we don't really work on this too often. For the most part, my partners were rather considerate and would ask if the pace was okay for my foot, which was most appreciated.
At one point, I went to attack my partner with a shomen and next thing I knew, their elbow bashed me right in the face right below my right eye. Everything went black for a second and as the colors came back, my eyes began to get all watery. I honestly have NO idea how they bashed me as they came in for ikkyo. I stumbled away from them when it happened and tried to compose myself before going back. For the rest of that class, I could NOT get my nose to stop running…. I guess they whacked that sinus pretty good. This same person also whacked me in the face a couple other times later in class during iriminage, but some of that was my fault. Then another yudansha stepped on my foot as we were working on shomenuchi iikyo to shihonage.
By the end of the class I was sucking wind and felt beat up. I could definitely tell that it had been two months since I stepped on the mat. I felt sloppy, my ukemi wasn't quite as soft and my endurance SUCKED! As I changed in the darkness of the changing room (I prefer to leave the lights off if it's just me as there is enough ambient light from the hallway), my emotions overcame me. I was a mess and found myself quite upset. As I cried quietly to myself, I tried figuring out what it was that was upsetting me.
Was it because of my poor performance? Was it because I got bashed in the face several times? Was it because I was happy to be back? None of these seemed like the reason for my tears. I let myself shed a few more tears before pulling myself back together. I went out to the sink and splashed cold water on my face and looked in the mirror to see if my husband would be able to tell that I had been crying. Luckily for me, I looked a mess. My face was red from the exercise I had been lacking and the cold water helped decrease some of the puffiness.
As we drove home, my husband noticed I was really quiet and asked if I was okay. I told him I was sad, but wasn't sure why. He then left me to my thoughts, which was exactly what I needed. By the time I got home, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. Despite all the pain, my foot felt alright! I mean, there was a little soreness, but no real pain! In the end, I was happy with how my foot held up. Now if I can just get the rest of my body aikido ready again…….now onto the doctor portion of this entry.
Last week I went for an annual checkup at the doctor and was surprised to see that I had gained ten pounds in less then two months. My weight has always been pretty constant, so it caught me off guard. I guess going from near daily two hour exercise sessions to none really threw my body for a loop. It wasn't getting the exercise it was used to, yet my appetite was still in overdrive.
I was constantly hungry and fueling myself. What I didn't realize though, was that I went from needing a 20 gallon tank to needing an 8 gallon tank to get me through the week. Obviously, the extra fuel I was putting in the tank had to go somewhere….. Although I am not happy about the weight gain, I am not too worried about it. I know that once I begin training again, I will lose the weight once more. In the meantime, I have been grabbing the fruits and veggies as snacks and eating more whole grains for breakfast, which is keeping me satisfied till lunch.
Yesterday I went for my third appointment with the podiatrist regarding my foot. The appointment took all of about five minutes. He asked how it was doing, to which I told him it wasn't really that much better, but not worse. He then told me that he thought I could go back to my daily activities. He told me not to baby it anymore, but at the same time, don't go all out with it either. He gave me an example saying that if I used to run ten miles a week, start off with two and add more each week. He told me that if the pain gets worse over the next couple of weeks, that he would consider giving me a cortisone shot. I found that statement odd because he told me previously that a cortisone shot would NOT help my injury. What the hell is going on with your wishy-washy-ness?
Either way, I was pleased that he gave me the go-head to train again and do all the other activities I used to do. I guess me jumping the gun and training a week earlier really wasn't such a bad thing after all. He then said that this would be a test to see if my foot really is getting better, or if the anti-inflamatories and rest have been masking the pain. He made me an appointment to come back in a few weeks, but said I could cancel it if it is doing just fine.
As I headed home from the doctor, though pleased, I still had this nagging thought in my head. I feel like he was looking at an eight ball before he walked in the room, and that the answer that floated to the top, is what he used to diagnose and treat my problem that day……