Just now, sitting in my kitchen, looking at the cookies i’ve made for my friend’s BBQ, I am so grateful to have reclaimed my Summer. I have had many people ask how my rehab is doing, so I thought I would write an update! I have progressed a lot since my big post on pain!
I was nervous in April and May that I wouldn’t have enough strength to take part in the epic Summer adventures I wanted to do. But after a lot of days in the gym, and hard strength work, July and August have been amazing! I am not bagging peaks, but i’m perfectly happy with the activity I can safely do at this point!
I started biking in July, and not only is it incredibly fun, but it’s really good for all the muscles I still need to develop. Mostly my quads. The only catch with my bike is that I need to learn to mechanic it better…i’m useless! Even after working at MEC for three years, I am still not comfortable getting a flat and being able to change my tube myself. I’m hoping it will come easier the more I practice. My derailer hanger also snapped off, and I needed papa Mike to come rescue me. Luckily my friends at MEC fixed it right up for me, and I was not off my bike for long! I also clipped in on my bike for the first time! Everyone was scaring me and telling me that I was going to crash, but funnily enough I fell off my bike the final time I wasn’t clipped in. No pain no gain I guess, but that fall really reminded my why helmets are necessary. Every time I see people cycling without them I think “YOUR WHOLE LIFE IS IN YOUR HEAD!!! PROTECT YOUR BRAIN! Idiot.”
My Summer has basically been just rehab and fun activity! I cycle 30km every other day, followed by a hike or walk. On the days I don’t cycle, I go to the gym in the morning and then a walk or hike in the afternoon. My garmin clocks me in around 16,000-20,000 steps a day! I remember last Summer when I could hardly do 4000 steps without a big knee flare up, and I count my blessings and pat myself on the back for all the hard work i’ve put in. I’ve really been loving the sun, seeing my friends, and moving my body. I finally feel back to my regular self, and my pain is quite low, though it’s easy to overdo it!
I also vacationed on Vancouver Island with some of my family, and we took my kitty Scout with us. We did some hiking because I decided to make Scout like my favourite Insta cats BoltandKeel. It is going okay, I figured out pretty quickly that Scout hates lakes, rivers, oceans, and water in general. We have some work to do.
It has also been so amazing to hike with my family, the people who have seen me go through what i’ve gone through the past year. My dad was heartbroken that I couldn’t ski with him last winter, so us hiking together has been great for both of us. It’s really what we bond over. He also made me a sweet tent, which i’m really itching to go out and camp in! I’m hoping i’ll be able to do an overnight hike at the end of August. I just need a little more strength. SO close!
It has been an amazing time for me this Summer. I’m so lucky to have been able to take the time off school and work to fully heal myself. I didn’t need to just heal physically though, mentally, I needed to feel happy again. For me, activity isn’t just a small part of my life- it gives my world colour. Without being able to use my body, everything I did felt…half…it’s hard to describe. I would get an A in school, but then think “this would be so much better if I could move around the way I wanted”, so everything was really tinged by melancholy for me for a long time. That melancholy probably only lifted in June, when I was seriously able to start getting back into things and my rehab really picked up.
I’ve really learnt a lot. I’ve learnt what I need to be successful in my life. I need happiness, and I need activity and the outdoors. Some look at how i’ve done the past year and are critical, believing that taking a semester off school “hindered my academic career”. But in all honesty, while for some, healing from an injury may have been a good time to be chained to a desk, for me, it was not. I need activity and exercise to be happy enough to do school well, otherwise I can’t sit! When I told my profs and my counsellor that I was taking time off, they were nothing but supportive, knowing that I wasn’t the kind of person to drop out and not finish. They had the faith in me that it was the right decision for me! Their faith in me really buoyed me up, and the time from January till now that i’ve taken off have been the most important months of my life. I have healed and built up my body, worked on myself, and started having fun. Now that i’m a happy person again, going back to school and finishing up in September will be a breeze! After this, I also just don’t care so much about the things I used to care about. I have realized that all that matters is your health, and without that, you have quite little. I would be happy living in a van and driving around hiking, climbing and camping as long as I have my body!
I’ve received so much love, support and empathy from people around me. However, amongst the supportive lie the critical. Sometimes the most sharp judgements can be from people who you thought would love and support you no matter what! I am such a sensitive person, that others’ criticism really gets me down. I especially think that what has happened to me over the past year is confusing for a lot of people, so they react negatively to the choices i’ve made such as putting off school, or taking the Summer off to have fun again. I think all I have to say to them at this point is that life is about so much more than putting our heads down and working for tangible success, outward milestones such as degrees and qualifications, and building up our resumes. We should be happy and passionate in our lives! I also find that truly happy people are so much less judgemental than those who aren’t. If you’re comfortable with yourself, why would you inflict judgement on others? I’ve also learnt that you do not have to justify yourself to ANYONE! If you feel like you’re doing the right thing, and you have the love and support of the most important people around you, you are GOLDEN! I feel like i’ve learnt so many life lessons over the past year, lessons that are so much more meaningful than an academic fact stored in the back of my brain.
I’ve seen so many people I love this Summer, and most importantly, i’ve had the time to see them! Special shout outs go to my second parents: Jack and Syl and York and Sandy, you have been so supportive, loving and understanding. My oldest friend Haley got engaged! Which is amazing and exciting. I’ve also been hanging out with my friend Mo a lot, chilling and drinking tea. Fraser has been so supportive and helped me so much with my bike (thanks!). I’ve also seen a few old friends from MEC which has been amazing. My friends, the Robertson-Sterry’s, have also been there for me through everything.
It has also been extremely gratifying to see the heights my blog has reached. I know numerous people who have sent my post on pain to members of their family, or friends, who are suffering. If I can give hope, or support, I will do so whole-heartedly. There is so much negativity and fear mongering on the internet. We need some positive change, hope and real information out there so people can get the right help when they need it!
If you’ve read this, thanks so much! I hope you have an amazing Summer as well!