Just Call Me Waffle

After recovering from my hormonally induced haze I started thinking clearer.  I’m sticking with TKD for now without a break.  A few things have helped me decide this.  Firstly, I have pretty much given up jumping and running.  I can do a fast walk for warm up laps and I’m fortunate that my gyeokpa (board breaking kick) doesn’t require a jump for this belt (did I mention I tested and passed this weekend?  I didn’t?  Well, I’m now a Purple Belt).  It does however leave a possibility for a broken toe or two since it will be the first board break using the ball of my foot compared to the heel.

Giving up the running on top of the jumping seems to have done the trick.  My foot has been feeling much better because of it and I hope in part to rehab.  I get to do a host of stability exercises that make me feel like a total idiot, but work fantastically.  Also, in three short weeks I test for brown belt and get to drop one of my private lessons a week.

I also couldn’t quit.  TKD, I can’t quit you!

Also seem to be moving in the correct direction for getting my shit life in order.  I’m creating a family and personal mission statement, a family schedule, and decided to write out a class summary after my classes.  Grandmaster has a tendency to switch things up every two months or so, and as a result, I’m often confused as to what is expected of us in class.  I figured writing down what we did in class is a way of reviewing what went well and what didn’t and learning how to do better.

The microwave is beeping at me, letting me know my Lean Cuisine is ready, I’d better get to it before it gets too cold.

Being Athletic vs. Being an Athlete

I probably shouldn’t be making any decisions in my monthly hormonally induced insanity, but I’ve been doing a LOT of thinking the past few days and was searching for answers. I think I found one, but I seriously don’t like it. I’ve done more weeping in the past two days than I’ve done in the past 2 years (I’m very, very tired. If I didn’t schedule in sleep, I probably wouldn’t get any).

After my test on Saturday, I think I’m going to take a month off from Tae Kwon Do. Writing that right now was painful. TKD has been what has kept me sane, no joke. But I’ve been running through scenarios in my head regarding my injury or whatever you want to call it and I really think time off is the best decision I can make. I think I’ve been in denial a bit about what’s been happening. I’ve been treating it like it’s a bruise that will magically get better on it’s own. I’ve been thinking and behaving as though I’m still 20 years old.

Reality is, I’m not. I don’t heal as quickly as I used to. My joints complain sooner. I know I sound like an old woman right now, but I need to see the truth. Worst case scenario is that I don’t back off, I don’t really heal, and sometime in the next month, or three, or whatever, I rupture a tendon and get a forced break or less severely, am in therapy indefinitely and go bankrupt and still can’t perform at 100%.

Best case scenario is that I take some time off, do no jumping, running, twisting or whatnot on that leg, stay off of high heels, and hopefully heal fully, then slowly work up to the level of training that I’m at currently.

I’m sure to most of the three of you reading this, it sounds like a simple decision. It probably is, but it is twisting me up. Firstly because of the sanity issue. In the 9 months I’ve been practicing TKD, my mood and confidence is at a place I’m really really happy with. Secondly is the great unknown as to what happens later. Does it flare up again no matter how slowly I ease into it? Thirdly is that black belt testing only happens twice a year. I’ve got fantastic momentum going and I’m terrified of breaking it.

There’s also this feeling I have (I think it’s denial) that my injury isn’t that severe or serious. I do have one more therapy appointment this week before my test, and I might talk to my PT to see what they think and what input they can give. I want to ask what can happen if I don’t let up or if it doesn’t heal completely, and if I do take time off, what a timeline might look like to getting back to my current activity level.

I realize through all this questioning that I went from someone who is doing something athletic to someone who is an athlete. The difference being that an athlete is someone who finds it difficult to stop an activity even when hurt.  Or is that a moron?

If anybody reading this has ever dealt with tendinitis in the foot (primarily the Achilles tendon) and is involved with martial arts, I would appreciate some input and personal insights and experiences. What worked for you.

I swear this isn’t the “Tendonitis Blog” despite appearances

…but it sure seems to be lately.   Was at therapy this morning and the tech, who happens to also be a personal trainer, tells me I need to find something other than tae kwon do to do.  Is she out of her ever-loving mind?  I can’t imagine taking a break from it unless I’m on some tropical island somewhere.  I’ve tried to back off the jumps (although it’s turning out to be a battle between my body and my brain), and I’m going to try to NOT run as a warmup in class.   I’m hoping those little modifications will be enough to give my Achilles time to heal and stop with the complaining already.

Oh, and in the realm of sports injuries/maladies, I’ve discovered Google is SO not your friend.  Every site seems to have the same advice, something like “Totally give up what you love and are good at and what keeps you sane so your OLD and CREAKY 36 year old self doesn’t rip herself in two!”.

Now, I’m not an idiot.  Pain is the body’s way of telling you it’s not happy.  But minor to moderate discomfort seems to be a bigger gray area.  Sure it can be a warning sign of some impending doom, but it can also indicate that something is wonky in form or execution.  If I can just make it through the next month and a half, my activity level will go down a smidge and the extra day or two of rest between lessons/classes might be all my body needs to get over itself.

Throttling back is turning out to be a tough mental exercise though.  When it comes to injuries, I tend to want to man up and keep going.  I think it’s because I don’t want to be thought of as a fragile or dainty woman (hah!).  Plus, each month that goes by is one month closer to black belt.  You know how people say “I’ll rest when I’m dead”?  I feel like saying “I’ll rest when I get my black belt”.

A year and a half, that’s all that I’m asking, that’s all that I need for now.  A year and a half.

Personal Mission Statement

I’m in the process of creating a personal mission statement for myself.  I think I’ve got a decent start on it, and I’m certain that it will evolve over time, but I was happy enough with what I have so far that I would like to share it with all of you, so here goes:

Amy’s Mission Statement

Continually striving to create in myself a person who is:

  • Strong, in mind and body
  • Confident
  • Courageous
  • Loving, both of myself and others
  • Joyful

…allowing me to share with others the abundance of all that I have.

It’s still fairly simple and I think I like it that way, less to remember and clutter up my thinking.  After discussing it with Grandmaster today, it may change a bit, but we’ll see.

Oh, and I had my first physical therapy appointment yesterday.  Simply put I have tendonitis, it seems primarily in the achille’s tendon.  I was given some exercises to do a few times a day, was told to ice my foot/ankle twice a day and got a massage that was like fingernails on the chalkboard.  It started off fine enough, but at a certain point, the therapist starts manipulating the tendons and I can feel them kind of rolling around under his fingers and it’s not all that pleasant.  He did notice that my calf seems really tight as well and that also contributes to the tight achille’s.

The exercises are so simple I feel like I should smack myself on the head V8 style saying “I should have known that”.  But sometimes the simplest things seem the hardest to figure out.  I did a few stretches before getting out of bed this morning and it made a huge difference.  The past few weeks I would get out of bed and hobble downstairs all stiff and sore, and after doing the exercises I was able to move around without really noticing as much stiffness and it was a lot less uncomfortable as well.  I know, a total “DUH!” moment, but it was enough to motivate me to keep it up.

Hopefully I’ll be able to update this blog more often.  I’m currently feeling way overscheduled between private lessons, PT appointments, and end of year field trips and activities for the girls that I am chaperoning.  I think in the past 4 days I’ve had about 2 hours of personal time, not nearly enough.

Ankle Answer….Sort of

The good news is there is no stress fracture.  The bad news is there isn’t a very definitive diagnosis.  Doc said that the MRI didn’t show the tendons and ligaments very well, but it did show some inflammation and swelling.  So I will be partaking in physical therapy three times a week for 6 weeks.  I go for an initial evaluation next Wednesday so they can find out where I am currently and then it’s a go for Project Ankle Strengthening.

Also good is that I don’t have to entirely drop tae kwon do.  I can still do what I have been doing, which is avoiding jumps and any major twisting of that particular ankle.  I might take it a little easier on the running since that seems to aggravate it as well.  I’m so relieved that it wasn’t something that is going to sideline me.

Untwisted

I got myself all twisted up with the diagnostic limbo.  Went to my coaching session today….begrudgingly, but was glad I went.  It gave me a chance to voice my frustrations at the limits my body seems to be imposing on me and Grandmaster reassured me that if the outcome of my MRI is not favorable, he can help me do some board breaks with my elbows and fists as alternates to jump kicks.  Sounds pretty cool, and the older (70-something) black belt at our school did that as his knees wouldn’t allow for jumping.

At the end of my session, Grandmaster guided me through a relaxation exercise and I feel so much better for it.

But if I come out of the doctor’s office without a diagnosis tomorrow, I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Three X-Rays and and MRI

And I still don’t know anything.  I had three x-rays at the doctor’s office and according to the good doc they were normal, I had a sinking feeling that I was just going to be dismissed when he started poking and prodding me around my ankle.  A few inches above my outer ankle was a point of tenderness and the place where I think the pain I feel radiates from.  So I’m sent to get an MRI.  When I get there I’m told that instead of the one series that was ordered I’m going to have two.  So I scramble to get the childcare covered and I’m there for 2 1/2 hours!  I am the proud owner of a disk with hundreds of images on it that I wish I knew how to read.  A copy was sent to the doc’s electronically and I see him again on Friday to see what’s up with the MRI results.

I’m of two minds on this.  I really don’t want it to be a fracture of any sort, yet I also don’t want the results to be….nothing.  I already cancelled my private lesson for tomorrow on the doc’s orders and I won’t be going to class that night either.  That’s the equivalent to three classes I’ll be missing in one day.  Way to get behind after I just barely started.

My biggest fear is that I’m going to be written off as a hypochondriac or something.  I’m getting increasingly frustrated at the limits I’ve had to impose on myself because of whatever the hell is going on with my foot…leg….whatever.  Y’all will get an update after my doctor’s appointment on Friday morning.  Let’s hope I get some answers.