Monday, July 25, 2011

This is some of the best pain I've ever inflicted upon myself.

I have a headache.  My lower back is killing me.  So is my upper back, and pretty much all the middle part, too.  My shoulders and neck are stiff and my legs are sore.  In general, I have that feeling you get the day after a minor car accident.

Of course, I wasn't in a car accident.  I just went running for the first time in over a year and a half.

I used to run fairly frequently.  I liked to get up early and jog around my neighborhood in the quiet semi-dark, enjoying a few moments to myself before I had to start my day.  I took a break from it while I was pregnant, but once my son was born and I was feeling recovered, I started back up.

Sadly, that didn't last long.

I had only been running again for a few weeks, but was really enjoying it again.  For some reason, getting up early and working out actually makes me less tired throughout my day (than if I just slept in).  So one Monday morning, I got up, did my little jog, and then went in to work.

Towards the afternoon, I started to feel a terrible cramping in my stomach.  I thought maybe I had food poisoning, but I didn't get sick.  I stuck it out through my shift, though customers kept asking if I was all right.  Once I got home and got off my feet, I was able to ignore it a little better, especially since I was off the next day.

The next day, I ended up calling my husband around 2:00 in the afternoon, asking him to get off work to come drive me to the hospital.  This being a very uncharacteristic request, he immediately complied.  At the ER, it didn't take long for them to scan my abdomen and locate the big ol' dermoid tumors giving me all the trouble.  And that started my long bout of surgeries and treatments and medications.

It also effectively put a stop to my running, as every attempt to exercise kept getting met with unbearable pain.  At one point I was using a cane just to get around.  When you can barely walk, running is out of the question.

But, aside from the occassional flare-up, my pain has been getting exponentially better for months now.  And I've started to get more active, not just with chasing my own son and his cousins around, but my preschool kids at church, too.

So, yesterday I decided to put on the old jogging clothes again, and try a run before church.

It felt amazing.  I'd forgotten how much I'd loved the dark and the quiet.  I was also pleasantly surprised to discover I wasn't as out-of-shape as I had feared I'd be.  (I guess all that disguised exercise wrangling toddlers paid off.)  I did a long loop around my neighborhood and came back home, sweaty, exhausted and exhilirated.

It's not just the exercise endorphins, though that helps.  It's the feeling of taking charge of my health.  Of refusing to continue feeling (and living) like an invalid.

I didn't run again this morning because, hey, I hurt like I was in a fender bender.  And I'm not going to run this afternoon because it's July in North Carolina (a.k.a. "heat index of 110).  I also can't make myself run on a treadmill the way I can run outside.  But tomorrow?  I might just give it another shot.

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