“Numbers do not feel. Do not bleed or weep or hope. They do not know bravery or sacrifice.” ― Amie Kaufman, Illuminae
Today, I am at day 369 since my left hip revision and, honestly, part of me feels like it was a blink of an eye. Of course, it is easy to feel that way when it is in the past. So, this week I was focused on having Jeremy, my Personal Trainer, tell me how many days or weeks until I would be completely at my baseline for strength, weight, muscle versus fat ratio etc. Before the assessment, he "guesstimated" that it would be another four weeks. I was set on that. We had measured my “data” a year ago and watched it vary through this last year of having both hips done and a "smallish" spine surgery. My weight did not fluctuate that much, mostly on a downward trend after each surgery and I struggled to maintain the ideal weight for me. I did not want to look frail since one of my friends used that word to describe me as that after hip number 1. I knew my muscles were definitely softer in my legs, glutes and even arms, but I tried to focus on the recovery. It was “temporary” I kept telling myself. I will be back to those numbers again.
Drum roll, please. The numbers actually came back and showed that I was better than baseline! What the heck? They had revealed that I had lost one pound and gained ½ pound of muscle. From a year earlier, I had increased my wall sit roughly from 45 seconds to a little over 2 minutes and was able to demonstrate 20 push-ups on my toes as opposed to my knees. So, overall, I was very pleased. I am a year older and my body has been under surgical assault! I shared my news with Olivia, my favorite yogi. And she asked the important question, “How do you feel?” I thought about it and I told her, “I’m very proud, but also on the verge of tears.” I did not realize, at that moment, that her question would actually evoke any type of emotion. I then realized how much emotion there was to recovering that I had pushed down.
And that, my Hippie friends, is when I had a deeper thought. Okay, so great, your “numbers” look good. "How do you feel?" How do these numbers reflect your overall health – mind and body? What lessons have you learned? How has that changed the way you look at things? There is a bigger picture than just the weight on my scale or the number of minutes that I could do a wall sit. How do these achievements translate into other areas? Is that important?
Of course, it is important. We are not just numbers. We have areas of weakness and areas for growth. I have always struggled with going down the rabbit hole of “what ifs”. The difference now is that I can yank myself out of that rabbit hole much easier and earlier. I am able to calm my anxieties and focus on the here and now (most times) – not the future. One of the lessons that I have learned is to honor my body at that moment. Who cares if I wobble during a Warrior 3? I got on my mat and I tried! There are days when my hips are still pissed off at me and other days they may be just pouting. I respect the fact that my body can feel differently each day and it does not signal the end of the world for me. But my biggest lesson really is to allow others to help me with my struggles. There is humility in that, but even more than that – it signals strength. The kind of strength that cannot be measured by a timer or a scale.
I am stronger than I was a year ago, both physically and emotionally. Now, I am open to trying new things to provide that overall healthy body. More importantly, I have become an expert at stepping outside of my comfort zones. I was talking with Melissa Singh, Ayurverdic practitioner, the other day and she asked me what my long-term goals were. My response was essentially – I want to be that 80-year-old that has a sports car and whose grandkids say, “Slow down!” I want to be able to take care of myself so that I can continue helping others.
What lessons will you learn through your struggles? Will you let others help you? Will you honor your body? Will you be able to slow down and smell those roses?