“Acceptance in human psychology is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit. The concept is close in meaning to ‘acquiescence’, derived from the Latin ‘acquiēscere’ (to find rest in).”
Let’s be frank… I suck at this! It’s July 31th 2012… I am 38 today, 18 months post-op and was pain-free on an off between Jan and June of this year.
In May I started swimming again for real and I REALLY am pushing myself in the pool. This morning I moved up to the longer work out – 2 miles in about an hour and 15-20 minutes….
It’s hard thing to do, I spent so many years NOT pushing at anything that my default is to sit, to rest, to stop. I am so very very very tired of doing that. It feels like giving up. Giving up what you ask… yeah I don’t know what. The right to push my body to its outer limits? The right to compete at a level that I miss and my soul longs for? I read all these interviews with the Olympic swimmers from my days and the emotions they express…. ” I want to go out on MY terms” I wanted to see if it was possible… I longed for the competition…. Janet Evans, Dara Torres… they both speak of these emotions and demons that drive them. I was never that good, but I get it. My soul gets it and not just in the pool.
I finished my first semester of 5 in my PTA program.* I had to jump through some hoops to assure the program that I would be fine getting through clinical…. we worked on lifting patients this summer. It wasn’t fun. I am fairly certain that I sprained something a few weeks ago while performing a lift and it is reproducing some of my original pain. I have tried very hard to not lean on any of my medical crutches ( my physical therapist, or my massage therapist) since I started working harder in the pool and lifting people I shouldn’t be lifting….
I have a group of friends that I can go to in my moments of sheer panic and say AHHHHHHHHHH it’s all crashing down, it’s falling apart ,it hurts!!!!! They calmly remind me that this happens every-time I step up my “living”. So when does that end? When have I stepped up my living that I am content with where I am… that I am willing to accept that my body does have limitations if I want it to be pain-free? The idea that I could accept without wanting to change it seems.. impossible to be me. Do I want to be pain-free again – yes! yes I do…. the threat of pain in my rear end was enough to cause insanity in my head and I almost dropped out of the PTA program in a panic.
I can’t find rest in the idea that I should STOP trying things. I can’t accept that. It just feels like failure – it feels like settling. It leaves a bad and angry taste in my mouth. I have fought long and hard to get where I am. I continue to seek out ways to improve my physical being, to learn how to swim safer and better and faster. I WILL finish this PTA program and make a difference in that field – even thought I don’t think I will be lifting people in and out of wheelchairs all day. Is that me accepting a limitation? I’m not saying I’ll never do it, I am sure I will have to. But I certainly won’t seek employment at a hospital or in a neuro unit where I’d be doing it all day everyday. I won’t stop swimming… I can’t. It beings me untold joy. Seriously, I hate getting up early, I hate being sore, I hate not being able to breathe, I hate my heart racing at 210 beats per minute while I can’t seem to get enough air into my lungs….
But I love the feel of the water against my skin, the feeling of strength and power I get as I pull though the water. The feeling I get when I look up at the clock and see I am pulling down respectable times for a woman my age and “out-of-shapness”. I see potential again. I see the hope of swimming a race in the fall and NOT being dead last. My own Olympic come back. I wonder… what CAN my body do. What AM I capable of.
With all those questions that tumble in my head in and out of the water how can I accept that maybe any of these things are too much for me to handle….. much less all of them at the same time.
What if acceptance doesn’t mean I can’t do them?
What if acceptance means I will be ok if I have to grab ice, or the ultrasound machine, or the kenesio tape again for a time as my body adjusts to the new demands? My heart rate slows when I think of it that way. I can breathe through that idea. It doesn’t suffocate me. I don’t need to try to change that, I can be ok with that. Heck, I read today that 27-year-old Micheal Phelps was going to have himself an ice bath after day 4 of swimming…. How is what I need any different?
Maybe acceptance means we work with what we have where we are, and we be ok with that, but we never stop trying….
* All comments about the PTA program or anything regarding my education is a reflection of my opinion and my opinion only. ( Yeah I had to sign a social media policy for school- lest you think the school’s opinion and mine are the same- trust me, they are NOT.)