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I take a deep breathe and exhale slowly as I step out onto the ice. My breathe rises into the chilly air as my legs begin to move in rhythm with my heartbeat. The glassy surface of the ice glides beneath me as I lean into my turn. I'm balanced and feeling confident as I pick up speed. I pick up the pace and do a mental check to ensure that my body is streamlined. The sounds of my skates on the ice and my heartbeat are the only sounds that I take note of.
I push myself to go harder, faster as I race around the rink. My confidence shatters as my left skate begins to wobble with wild abandon beneath me. I desperately try to regain my balance as I careen towards the wall. The wall seems to run towards me in greeting and crashes into me. I bounce off the sideboard and collapse to the ice in a spinning, sliding heap.
Before I even have time to assess the damage, tears fill my eyes. It was my body's preemptive strike, as if it knew that pain was on its way, but I was just too shocked to feel it yet. I lay there, resting my cheek on the ice, watching my warm, salty tears fall from my face, creating a tiny puddle on the glassine surface. The pain slowly sinks into my awareness as I begin to take note of what hurts.
I push myself up to the seated position. Not only am I sore, but the cold ice is making me more miserable. As I attempt to gain my footing and stand, I wobble once more and nearly collapse to the ice again. What the hell? That is when I realize that my blade came loose. The reason for my fall was because my foundation, the blade of the skate, was compromised. Without a proper foundation, you have nothing to stand on.
The same can be said for aikido. Without a proper foundation, you have nothing. Since I have only been training for two years, I am still working on my foundation. I am constantly becoming more aware of the weaknesses. I go back and try to caulk up the cracks and sometimes, I need to just redo that entire section.
The other day, I was made painfully aware of a few of my weaknesses. Saturday morning, I discovered that my foot may not be healed enough for me to continue training the way I am. An hour of iaido already made my foot sore and aikido just aggravated it more (additional info on that a few paragraphs from now). I was already in a low to moderate level of pain and my movement was compromised. In aikido, I was made aware of yet another weakness; ukemi.
While working on tsuki soto kaiten sankyo, I was not able to keep up the pace with nage as they brought me around. Try as hard as I may, I constantly found myself unable to stay close to them and found myself frantically running in a large circle further away from them. This of course made it feel like my wrist would be ripped off at any moment. I was working in a group of three people and I was ecstatic whenever I had the chance to sit out and rest my wrists.
Somewhere along the way, between the foot pain, the wrist pain, getting hit in the face, my stupid nose that wouldn't stop running (hello allergy season!) and the emotional duress I was in, it became too much. It was as if I careened into the sideboard at the skating rink and crumpled to the ground all over again. I found myself fighting back tears that kept trying to force their way out. One person asked if my foot was okay and if that was why I was crying. They said if it was pain, that I should stop, but if its emotional, to keep training. I told them I was fine and kept training. I was determined not to let my failed attempt at a kool-aid impersonation get the best of me. Sometimes, crashing into walls is part of training. I know that one day, I will break down those walls and will come out on the other side yelling "OH YEAH!"
By the end of class, I had pulled myself together, but was still in a fragile state. I helped run the mats with the rags and then went downstairs to change and head home. I have given it much thought, but I have yet to come up with a reason for why I am so emotional. I never had this problem before I left for my injury hiatus. All the feelings I have now: frustration, pain and determination, I had before I took two months off. So… why now? Why am I becoming such a big baby?
Well, as you know, a couple weeks ago the doctor gave me the green light to add my activities back in. He wanted me to do everything that I did before. I made it clear to him what I was doing and he said EVERYTHING I did before, to begin doing again. Well, I was training twice a week for a couple weeks and this week, I decided to add in a third day. Saturday, I decided to push my foot a bit. I had been avoiding suwariwaza and iaido because those used to be painful, even though I was told I could do them again. Since I had an appointment in a few days, I figured if it got worse, I could keep it and if was fine, I would cancel it like he said.
Well, as you know from above, the activities I did hurt the foot. I iced it after iaido and I remember going ouch a few times doing all the suwariwaza in the beginning of class. Pivoting on that foot and doing rolls during ukemi can also cause pain. Earlier in the week, I felt pain in that foot, but it didn't make my foot terribly sore the next day. I can't quite say the same thing after Saturday.
Well, despite the pain, I cancelled my appointment with that doctor. I have decided that I don't trust his opinions. He contradicts himself way too often and I'm not getting the results that I want. I realize that injuries take time to heal, but this is bullshit! I've been dealing with pain, icing the foot, taking medicine, resting the foot, wearing sneakers and limping around for over six months! I want this to be over!
Since I am headed back east for a couple weeks, that will allow my foot to rest for a bit. When I get back, I am going to resume training again and if it does indeed get worse, I have another place that I am going to call. It is an orthopedic center that has about 8 doctors on hand. Each one specializes in an area (spinal, upper extremity, knee and pelvic, foot and ankle, etc). I can send them over my x-rays from my current doctor and if I need an MRI, they can do it on site there. My husband went there in the past and a coworker of mine went there for an ACL injury. I was told that you leave with a plan and various options you can take. I think that they may be better able to help me then the podiatrist I have been seeing for the past couple of months.
My fear isn't being told to rest longer, though that would suck, but not really knowing what is wrong with my foot. The scientist in me wants to know what is wrong and I want to know how to fix it. I have also wondered if PT would help with my injury, but the podiatrist I saw never made that an option for me.
This situation is beyond frustrating and I am tired of just coping. This has gone on long enough and I want to put this behind me. I want to train again without experiencing pain and be able to take ukemi or do a technique without fear of it hurting. I want my body to be able to relax and enjoy the time on the mat instead of treading on eggshells, fearful of it rebelling against itself……