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I am heartsick at how the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was rammed through the House of Representatives this past week—on the National Day of Prayer, no less. This cruel piece of legislation was approved without the representatives even taking the time to read what it does, without their listening to professionals in the medical fields AND insurance companies, without their hearing the pleas of people all around this country who are in need—in short, without caring. The word “care” in no way belongs in the term “Trumpcare.” The message of “I don’t care” is being shouted throughout this country I already considered great—and is reverberating around the world.

And to add to my utter despair are the words that were spoken by people who voted for this travesty and by those in other positions of power.

Despite what these people would like you to believe, we do not always get what we deserve—sometimes we get more and sometimes we get much less. There is no perfect formula that says, “if you do this, then that will follow”—especially in our health matters.

I’m here today because when I was four months old, the citizens of our country still believed that when an infant falls ill from a congenital birth defect, it is our duty as a society to provide her with healthcare, and in a manner that does not bankrupt her parents.

As I grew into my teens—with no lingering effects from that early life-saving surgery—unaware that I had exercise-induced asthma, I fell in love with running (once my father stopped smoking). I would run 14 years—including four years of high school track and four years of college track—before being diagnosed with that breathing problem in a routine physical. And, yet, the only cost associated with my condition these days is for the inhaler I use to pre-treat before I do cardiovascular exercise—if I were sedentary, I would never need an inhaler, but I doubt my blood pressure numbers would be nearly so good either.

Another pre-existing condition—one leg shorter than another—something I’d been told didn’t matter when I was a 15-year-old high school athlete—turned out to make a big difference after decades of running. In my late 40s, I was so much healthier than most people my age and have the numbers to prove that from tests that were performed for buying life insurance. Most weeks I ran three times, practiced yoga three times, did Pilates once, and danced at Zumba twice—that was every week. My bulging disc came out of nowhere and was not at all related to being sedentary, as the literature our insurance company sent me seemed to imply.

I was devastated and did what I could to get better: chiropractic, physical therapy, and the exercises I’d been prescribed. At one point I was doing those exercises for an hour a day—in addition to the yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and walking I still did during the week. A good proportion of the costs associated with my healing fell on us—for every $50 copay we paid, our insurance paid the providers an additional $10 to $20.

While it was challenging for us to pay those costs and for me to take the time to work on my healing, it was not impossible. Many people must live with their pain or stop working because they cannot afford the care or to put in the focused effort to heal. These days I still put out additional money to make certain I remain healthy—I pay for neuro-muscular massage and we have purchased a new, fairly expensive (to us) mattress that also makes a difference. Not everyone has these types of resources.

When members of congress state that people earn their pre-existing conditions through bad habits, it is really insulting—both to people like me who most certainly were not poster children for the condition I developed and to people who do not have access to the resources that make it easier to stay healthy. That type of statement ignores the randomness of how disease and injury can enter the lives of anyone at any time—such as when I came into the world with a congenital defect that would try to kill me within months of my birth. It’s hard not to think that what these people are really saying is that people should just go ahead and be “selected out” if they can’t afford to treat their own medical conditions.

And then when a wealthy, older man such as Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, states that older people will need to pay higher premiums because they use insurance more and cost more, my first thought is that with his money, he can afford his health care, and, second, that We the People provide his health care—unless our level of coverage isn’t good enough for someone like him. There’s no denying that people my age and older are more expensive to cover, but do we really want to be a society that cares for only the strong?

That is an immoral position, but that’s the sort of position that creates these types of legislation and the policies behind them. When your main concerns for managing government are about determining who is a winner and who is a loser, and then making certain that you never are required to pay anything for anyone you have deemed to be a loser, then society is the real loser. What’s so great about that?

Let’s not forget that “the first shall be last and the last shall be first” thing. Besides, none of us knows the future. Just remember, “there but for the grace of God go I.”

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

Had a facelift yesterday. OK—not really, but somehow I look younger for having my cranium, of all things, worked on in order to help reduce my hip pain.

I’m at the point in my pursuit of healing where I’m chasing down subtle treatments—well, subtle in that it’s not always obvious how something such as the head’s placement might affect the hip. Not so subtle in the treatment—which was fairly intense and involved working on the connections around bones in my head with names that mostly escape me. But, trust me, the painful work on my mandible (the lower jawbone) had me realizing just how much I had to trust my neuromuscular massage therapist to let her do this.

How did I know that getting my jaw worked on would help my hip? I didn’t—but I had to trust the process based on past experiences with the practioner and the healing she’s brought me so far. I absolutely believe one of the bigger problems with seeing a physical therapist or an orthopedic doctor (which I haven’t done but my daughter has) is that those professionals see the body more in pieces. For those of us who didn’t get injured from an event, perhaps knowing how to fix the ache won’t be enough to prevent it again, if nothing else changes.

Am I a case in point? Possibly. My trigger-point-dry-needling and exercises from the PT—along with time—definitely healed me from my bulging disc. I felt good after I healed, but I didn’t want to do therapy exercises just to feel good—I wanted to do those exercises so I could get back to doing other activities I enjoy. And that isn’t the craziest thought since I do not have any major musculoskeletal damage.

But what about my biomechanics no longer allows me to do my activities as I’d choose, even with a fairly regular maintenance exercise routine? This, my friends, leads me to an even grayer area than that of how to treat initial lower back/hip pain. If you think all the different types of professional experts have opposing opinions about how to treat such pain in an acute situation, just try to get treatment for that pain in a chronic situation. You can find all sorts of valid scientific research to point you in a treatment direction, but so little is absolute in how such treatments will best bring about healing in your particular lower back/hip.

No, I’ve done yoga long enough to realize that all those pieces of our bodies are connected. My slight understanding of physics tells me that change one part of the body and another part will respond or act in a different way. By now I’m aware that a holistic approach as to why a certain section of my body isn’t working well very likely will include some other section of my body, but I have to admit I never really thought my head might be that section damaging my hip. (And for today, not even going to go into depth on the mind-body connection which adds a whole ‘nuther layer to the holistic approach.)

Just so you know, the practioner didn’t just start yanking around on my head. She measured quite a few sections of my body, looking for quantification of discrepancies. Who knew that a pair of levels could be used to analyze how various bones in my body compared side-by-side? Turns out I’m not as crooked as she expected and the crookedness I demonstrate is focused in a few crucial areas.

Sometime during the post-measurement massage session I realized my hip was not screaming quite as loudly as it had been—and not just because other body parts were receiving more focused attention. When I finally stood from the table, I really did feel the shift.

And last night? I slept better than I had in ages and woke more with the stiffness of a good workout than from the stiffness of chronic pain.

I know enough to understand that my body can shift back again. I still have to train it to learn these new alignments, just as I have done with other changes made over my lifetime from wearing orthotics or doing drills at a track practice or practicing yoga or being treated with dry needling. Muscle memory is both what holds me back and what may save me with intention and practice as I attempt to teach my body new memories.

Once again we’re back to the head—and the mind-body connection. All I know is for today I’ve got a good head (straight) on my shoulders—which may yet bring the crooked (back and hip) in line.

(See Neurosomatic Therapy.)

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

When I gave birth to my twins, the experienced moms from my running club’s board gave me a bath gift set. At first I thought, “I never take baths. And when will I ever have time for one now? Are they crazy?”

But they weren’t experienced moms for nothing. In those days of the too-muchness of early parenting years, there is often too little time or money to do big things for oneself. Sometimes the easiest way to take care of yourself is to create a little retreat time in your own home while the other parent makes certain you won’t be interrupted—even if such times rarely happen.

I think it took me years to use up that gift set. I barely had time to sit down let alone to soak in a warm tub by myself, but the few times a year I did sit in the tub really helped me to keep doing all those things I did when I wasn’t sitting down.

I never really developed a bath habit until much later when aches and pains from skiing or a particularly hard workout would chase me into that tub. Even then I wasn’t very consistent with hot soaks until I encountered the chronic pain of injuries that did not heal nearly as quickly as I hoped.

Oh, thank goodness for the decent size of our 1940s bathtub. Lucky for me most of those aches and pains really do fit into that space of healing.

No, I’m still not a bubble bath, spa kind of a woman in the pampering sense. I’m more of an Epsom salts bath devotee seeking to keep those physical therapists out of my life, or a post-traumatic-massage bather.

By now I’ve learned that time in the tub is not wasted time—it can get me moving after a tough night when my body refuses to allow pain-free sleep or it can get me back out on the track when I’m more than a little stiff. And if I know I overdid it on said track, a quick post-run bath can alleviate the likelihood of another sleepless night.

If there were an Epsom salts bath council and it ever needed a representative, I would be that person. These days I believe in baths, I really do. Health, sanity, whatever—baths keep me on track, one way or the other. After ducking into a bath, I always feel just ducky.

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

Boy, have I been blocked this month. I’ve started a few posts I have yet to finish and tried other times without getting any words down. My main technique for getting unblocked—getting moving by doing something purely physical such as exercising or performing chores—has not worked. Maybe it’s time to look for a writing prompt.

But today I finally have something to say—and I wonder if the loosening of the block is related to what is happening to my longtime physical block. After the last really tough physical therapy treatment didn’t yield nearly enough relief as I had hoped, I thought I ought to try something else before the next PT appointment.

At my age it’s pretty easy for me to know other people who have been dealing with injuries and/or pain—and some of them have even found relief. Those are the people whose advice I seek out for better possibilities. Thanks to a referral, on Saturday I got the hardest (deepest?) deep tissue massage I have ever had—which was just as planned. I went in seeking short-term pain that might be able to relieve the less intense but long-term pain I have been experiencing.

A big part of me is into traditional western medicine but another part of me acknowledges that sometimes the difficulties can lie more in the realm of the unexplained. That’s when seeking a whole body approach to why something hurts in a specific location might work better. Just what about those old emotions and/or experiences might be keeping logical solutions from working?

Though my lower back and hips have been crying out for attention, I was not unaware of the possibility that maybe something on the front side might be torquing that back side into those painful knots. Suffice it to say, I believe now. After the massage therapist reviewed my surgeries and accidents, she chose to focus on areas in my abdomen and groin rather than where the most recent pains have occurred. I don’t think I cried during the session, but to get through the worst moments, I definitely used that yogic breathing I’ve been practicing for years. The crazy thing is that when I stood up from the session, I knew I was better. My shoulders were more relaxed and I didn’t favor the achy side anymore.

Yes, those relaxed feelings were just the calm before the storm of aches I knew I faced. You don’t work tissue that deeply without moving toxins throughout your body. I went home to a hot Epsom salts bath, then drank and drank as much water as I could as well as rubbed (lightly!) Arnica on the most abused areas. Sunday was incredibly painful—more water and Arnica followed.

But today? Today I woke up feeling much less one-sided than I have felt in almost a year. Plus, I didn’t need to wait a few hours for my body to loosen this morning. And in yoga? So much of the resistance was gone. I could work hard and not really feel so obsessed with the areas that have been so prominent for so long. The cries for attention were almost inaudible to me—and that’s even though I am still very sore from the massage.

I’m sure it’s too soon to know if my massage has really chipped away as much of this block as I think it has, but I know something in me has shifted. Stop the world—I want to get back on again.

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

Though I’ve been quiet for awhile now about running difficulties and physical therapy—because those topics are so darn frustrating and BORING—I am still busy running (short distances), doing my (mostly) daily exercises, and getting physical therapy. By now I have two physical therapists, plus one who is on medical leave but advising my current PTs—as you can see I am a real trouble-maker.

I can walk, run, dance, and do most activities in my life with ease—what I still can’t do is sleep well. Unfortunately, what I’ve noticed is that when I’ve taken breaks from running, my sleeping pains have diminished. That insight does not please me and so I haven’t considered stopping again after I’ve worked so hard to get to run once more.

Both my active PTs have stated to me how I’m a really committed runner so I started arguing about how that couldn’t be true. I don’t run far or often—partially because I’m getting messages from my body not to do so—but maybe because I wouldn’t anyway. But the thought of giving it up? That—I’m too stubborn to do. So I realized, maybe I am strongly committed in my own casual way?

When our kids were infants, Sherman’s parents invited our family, his brothers and family, and my parents to spend Christmas in the mountains with them. As such we went to Christmas Eve mass with his family—even if we didn’t quite make it out as late as to attend Midnight Mass. Christmas brings a variety of semi-straying sheep back to the fold, including those still in their ski pants in ski resort areas. What the priest said that night has stuck with both Sherman and me. The priest said, “To the world—even if you only go to church at Christmas and Easter—you are the Christians.”

If you think about it, that same logic can be applied to anything we do—religiously, so to speak—even if we don’t do it enough to be considered committed in the same manner as people who dedicate their daily lives to a practice. Compared to those fast women in my running club who put in miles and miles on the roads, trails, and/or treadmills all year, every season, in all sorts of weather and lighting conditions, I am only dabbling at this activity.

And yet to many of the people who drive by me on the road, I am out there doing this activity that they don’t ever do—and often don’t even understand why I do it—or why I would even want to do it, much less work so hard to be able to keep doing it.

This afternoon I’ll be going to the club track practice where almost all the women there run more than I do. I know that most of them are way more committed than I am, but I’m starting to understand that doesn’t mean I am not committed. These evenings at practice are sacred time to me and that track is holy ground under my feet.

In the end, it’s about me and my practice and what it means to me. I still have faith in this thing that is bigger than me, though my body—and I—have often strayed. All I know is I am not ready to commit myself to my couch—or just to giving up this particular pursuit—any time soon.

(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

Three years ago today, I was about to embark on the last of 2,600 miles in a car in one week. Did I feel sore? You bet! However, I thought that was nothing that some exercise—running, ZUMBA, Pilates, and yoga—wouldn’t straighten out within a week. I couldn’t wait to get back to my classes, and especially to my running club’s weekly track workouts.

But the bulging disc that revealed itself the day after I returned from all that road-tripping pretty much postponed any track dreams I had, even if those dreams were little more than to be on the track, running with the slower people doing the workouts.

Even then I wasn’t fast, but I was faster than I am now. And within me resides that veteran of eight track seasons who yearned to return not just to running, but to the track. I know the lingo, the etiquette, the distances, etc. The track is where I spent many of the better afternoons of my youth.

Yet when I finally did pick up running again, the process itself was slow. Very slowly adding distance, very slowly doing any distance, and very slowly telling myself to take life one run at a time. I didn’t return to track workouts last season because I didn’t believe I’d built up enough endurance to benefit from running short distances. I just kept working on my own and improving my strength, even if I felt disappointed by my lack of progress.

Last fall I gained a weekly running buddy who I knew from yoga. Although younger, Karen was new to pursuing running on a regular basis. She joined me on my once-weekly indoor runs that followed yoga class—something I did so I could focus more on form and pacing than I was able to do on the two or three outdoor runs I did each week. But, true to my nature, by running with someone, I also talked enough to forget to obsess so much about what the numbers said—which was a good thing.

Later I brought Karen to the annual membership run and meeting for the Colorado Columbines, the club that puts on the track practices. We vowed to take to the track when practices began. The time trials put her into a faster group where she is challenged to work with the endurance she has developed since she started working on her own and then added meeting with me. I aim to hit all the prescribed times for my group—which I have done with a precision these past seven weeks that reflects the track nerd within me.

Although her schedule has changed, we still meet from time to time to run together, now in the great outdoors on trails or paths. Yesterday we took off once more and, as always, talked until the exertion took away our voices.

Ever the number junkie, I looked to my running app to see how far we went and at what pace. I laughed because the pace was just two seconds below the current pace set for me by the track coach—and much faster than I had been running either on my own or with Karen.

Track works. It teaches your mind to understand how your body feels when you maintain a planned pace. It reminds you that when your endurance improves, then you can add speed to your final approach to the finish line. And then there are all those little lessons I learned so long ago from my coaches. Run past the finish line. Move to the inside when you can. Don’t collapse forward when you finish, but keep your lungs open in order to replace oxygen more efficiently. Drop your shoulders when you start to tense up. Don’t start quicker than makes sense with your conditioning level. Running on a track is about thinking first, but with practice, your body absorbs the thinking and soon you can begin to let it fly on its own.

What seems like running in circles is actually one way to learn how to free your body.

So glad to be back on track—even if I first had to fight my body to get it to remember how to feel free enough in order to seek the magic of the track and the freedom that follows.

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

Heart rate monitors, physical therapy exercises, ChiRunning, Epsom salts baths—I’m a bit frustrated with them all right now. I would love to rebel against the tyranny of thinking so hard about running, but, so far, my body tells me that only with help can it do the running it does do.

Yes, I feel plateaued. I have worked awfully hard to get where I am but right now my ego is struggling to accept that where I am doesn’t look very far to others. Heck, it doesn’t look very far to me either.

I am trying to focus on the fact that I get to do it. That I have those moments alone, just me and my feet and my breathing and the breeze flowing through my air. Sometimes that is enough.

And the rest of the time? Not so much.

You can read all the “expert” advice you want, but the truth that matters to you is how you experience something. I got a cold and took off a week from running—and I didn’t even do all my PT exercises or sleep in my own bed (was helping my daughter post-surgery)—but guess what? My back and hips felt better. Grr.

Not a very scientific experiment, but it’s also hard to avoid the results I experienced. Started up running again—slowly—and got back on the personal PT exercise wagon—and the aches came back. Actually, they came back stronger than before I stopped, a time period when I had been experiencing relief from both my own practices and from my visits to the PT.

True, I haven’t been back to the PT for awhile—still trying to recover financially from the previously mentioned surgery in our family. Of course, the symptoms are getting too strong for me to think I can just do the exercises I already have and all will be well. Will be calling for an appointment next week and sharing my observations with the professionals who have more statistics and experience than the N=1 I have.

Meanwhile my running club’s track practices started again a couple weeks ago. I was about two months into the track practices three years ago when my injury happened—I have craved returning for so long. I didn’t bother last year because my speed and distance were too slow and too low. I just kept plugging away for this year’s return.

The thing is, though I’ve worked really hard to be able to return, I’m not certain anyone can tell that. Part of the reason I don’t run more is because my body seems to tell me not to do so, with its post-run aches. And, according to my heart rate monitor, my pace is about as rigorous as it should be. Seems as if I’m running in circles, just not well enough to run on the track.

Something’s got to change—just not sure what, yet. Guess I’ll ponder that thought when I go out this afternoon on my short, slow run. Yes, I can pout and put my feet to the pavement at the same time. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the temps are warm—and I still get to go.

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

(c) 2014 Trina Lambert

Say what you will, but I already like 2014 much better than 2013 because last year I rang in the year with the flu. Pretty much anything I’ve accomplished this year so far beats such feats as watching all of season 2 of Downton Abbey in just one day or discovering that the shampoo I was using in my flu-induced feverish state was actually conditioner. Sometimes it’s just good to celebrate the new year by being able to do ordinary, everyday activities without disruption.

It seems that aging is teaching me that one of the best goals for any year is to feel gratitude for whatever I do get to keep doing. Oh, who doesn’t want to do more of what you do better or faster and with a healthier body? Of course, I want to improve, but if the best I get is that I get to keep moving, then I will keep moving as much as I can and still practice gratefulness.

Another thing aging has taught me is that there are times when pushing through an obstacle is more a sign of the weakness of my own hubris than a strength. At sixteen I thought I was tough when I didn’t stop running even to remove the pebble from my shoe—until I realized that not removing that pebble had caused Achilles tendonitis. My injury slowed down my conditioning more than stopping for a few seconds in the middle of a training run would have done.

True strength comes in sensing what my body, mind, soul, heart, etc. needs most and then having the courage to tell my ego to step aside enough to allow me to modify my actions enough to protect myself in the long run. What I have learned the hard way is that being strong in the wrong moment can keep me weak for a much longer period of time—I have to be strong enough to slow down when it makes sense to do so. If there’s ice on the path, I reduce my speed. If my heart rate monitor tells me to take it easy, I try to listen. If I get the flu, then heavy exertion will just have to wait. And if the only way to keep moving is to alternate workout days with rest periods and focused therapy exercises, then so be it.

Learning to be strong enough to accept my weaknesses has been a hard journey—a journey that I am sure will continue until the end of my days—but part of that journey has also been coming to understand that the doing is so much more important to me than appearing strong or fast to someone else. I can choose to mourn what I can no longer do or I can celebrate what I still get to do.

That’s why on a cold, snowy January day—along with my husband who has had his own “strength” training of the aging kind—I started out this new year on the right foot by running a race. From the back of the pack, the two of us just ran our own paces, grateful for another chance to celebrate the ordinary in that manner.

The race coordinators later posted the results with a mea culpa that cold and wind might have affected the accuracy of the data. I’ll say—the weather elements had shaved a full three minutes from my finishing time! (I laughed, but my ego smiled to think this so-called strength had been preserved online.)

Then a few days later my ChiRunning phone app—through some GPS snafu—added distance I didn’t do to a run, which consequently then shaved two minutes off my pace for each mile. Right.

It’s as if the recorded data is conspiring to convince me I’m stronger than I really am—which I’m starting to believe. By running a slower pace these days, I stay stronger and—with any luck—able to do this for the long run.

But, if I start to sense my body is strong enough to speed up again, then you can bet my ego is going to take that feeling (and me) and . . . run with it.

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert Forsythia delayed by spring snows and cold.

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert
Forsythia delayed by spring snows and cold.

You never know what to expect around here from year to year—especially in the spring. Last year we were about four weeks or more ahead of schedule—this year, we’re behind. I’d like to get excited about the fact the nurseries are holding sales to get rid of some of their inventory, but I’ve nowhere to put the flowers either!

This wet, cool weather does remind me, though, of May two years ago. I had such big plans for getting out and about with my new puppy and new rescue dog. And, got out I did because I didn’t want my house torn apart! But the reality didn’t quite match my dreams.

In my dreams my back didn’t get hurt driving to pick up that puppy and the initial weather back home was actually nice much of the time.

But in my reality, I still had a lot of fun with my two pups, even if it meant taking them out into the cold rain while wearing my mother’s hand-me-down chartreuse slicker and walking much slower and for shorter distances than planned. There would be other sunny days and runs ahead of us, right? And, how much could I plant anyway if a puppy might come around and dig up my handiwork?

At least that’s what I believed before I knew how long I would have to wait for sunshine and growth.

Funny how the cold rains remind me both of what I don’t want to remember and what I most definitely do want to remember. That stormy May stripped away my assumptions about what I could do and not do for my health and forced me to slow down and stay close to home. In the quiet days when I grieved my active lifestyle, I gathered my dogs around me and learned to be still—with them.

My heart, riddled from loss—expected and unexpected, had developed holes, small and large. The only way to begin to patch or fill those holes was to give in to the pet therapy offered to me, even if that also meant walking outside in all kinds of weather when I really just wanted to stay in and wallow in my pain.

All those planned hikes and runs melted into slow walks, even when the rains disappeared, throughout the summer, into the fall, winter, and even into the next spring. Healing had its own timetable, but through it all I had my dogs. When I finally began to run again—almost a year and a half later—in order to re-develop a healthy form, I had to start doing so without the dogs at my side, but still hope to include them one day soon.

This week, our dog Sam’s hiking backpack arrived for all our planned hikes. And I need to buy a new pair of running shoes—because mine are worn out from running, not just from walking the dogs. Plus, when the weather finally settles down enough for me to plant flowers, I’m not so worried about my now-grown dog Furgus eating them.

Right now, as afternoon stretches toward evening and though creeks are overflowing, the sun is out and drying up many paths—at least those away from flood plains. Turns out, there’s still time to run before the next storm. And if the dogs are lucky, the weather will hold long enough for their walk, too! So often, dreams have their own timetables, too.

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

Back is not the word I wanted to choose for today. But sometimes the word chooses the blogger—or so it seems.

My back has been behaving very nicely for several months now, thank you very much. I’ve been skiing, running (very slowly!), doing ZUMBA, yoga, and Pilates. What I haven’t been doing is any PT exercises beyond the ones I do in the shower every day.

Apparently, that was a big mistake. Easter Sunday—yes, the day my husband came down with strep for the first time in over a quarter of a century—my back just started hurting when I stood up after putting on my shoes. That it hurt on the opposite side, but in the same area around the vertebra that had been the problem last time, got my attention.

Uh, oh. I am so not going back to a life diminished by an immobile and aching back. Not if I can help it, anyway.

Just like last year, once again I was the person fidgeting in the choir loft—thank goodness I sit in the back and wear a long robe. In between church services I tried to find some exercises I could do discretely while wearing that robe and high heels. (Yes, this recent pain might be telling me that there is a reason I avoid high heels and that maybe no special occasion is special enough to break out those heels anymore.) However, when the guy with cancer seemed concerned about my back problems, I didn’t think he needed me to go on and on about my own pain.

My family at home, on the other hand, had to put up with my kvetching over my back-to-back aches. At least the dogs enjoyed helping me with stretching exercises by trying to crowd me off my yoga mat.

So after a restless night of not being able to find a good sleeping position, I called my former PT the next morning. I realize I’d only been in pain for around 24 hours, but—can I say it again?—I don’t want to go back to my life from two years ago.

He gave me an exercise to do again and again. This is the exercise that apparently I most needed to continue yet hadn’t.

Today I went to see the PT. Prognosis? Although he thinks I have not done any permanent damage, he does believe I have angered the nerve around that touchy vertebra. I’ve got to go back to doing that basic exercise—several times in the next week—and give up on any movements requiring bending forward or jarring my spine this week. If all goes well, next week I’ll be back in my yoga and ZUMBA classes and doing that turtle-like jog I call running.

And doing that one particular exercise forever and ever, amen. If that’s what it takes to get back on track, I’m in.

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(c) 2009, Christiana Lambert