I had a light bulb go off yesterday, while I was busy complaining to a coworker that I can't lose weight because everything I do hurts my knee. She is all of about 100 pounds, and she started running when she saw me running my first 5K for a company fun run. She claims there is no way she can run an entire 5K, but I told her that the only reason I can is because I am actually running at an even slower pace than I walk. It definitely feels different, walking vs running, and although I still have mental issues to get over about not being ABLE to run without extreme risk of reinjury, I've come to the conclusion that the running isn't worth the extra effort and risk. I did what I did for me. Now, I'd be happy just to be able to go for the interval walks I used to love this time of the year. Then it hit me, once my knee was damaged, I was still walking some mornings, but I always had it protected a bit; either wrapped in an ace bandage or with the "sleeve" I got when they thought it was "just bursitis". That was when the light bulb went on. Since I have less pain now than when the cartilage was torn, maybe that old sleeve would give me some relief. Last night, just hanging out, there was a gigantic snapping/cracking sound in my knee (all I was doing was walking a few steps across the room to get something) and before I straightened up and put my foot back down again, I was dreading what I was about to feel. I really thought I somehow re-injured my knee and was preparing for pain. Then, nothing. I felt nearly nothing when I put my weight on the leg. No pain, no stress, no pulling or grinding. Just a normal, pain-free knee. And this morning, when I routinely compared the size of my two knees, I was delighted to see that, for the first time in about a month, they were the same size, no swelling in the "bad" knee. I wanted to shout out loud.
After taking a few steps around my room, I was seriously thinking about going for my walk without the sleeve, but I ended up deciding that its best to be safe. I don't want to aggravate my knee or push it just because it is better for one day.
I walked about 35 minutes, and it felt pretty normal. I tried to focus on my leg muscles, and switch up my stride every once in a while. I did feel some strain on the opposite hip, more so in the buttocks area, there is a pulling and tension, the tendon is catching on my sit bone, but once I got it to snap, it was fine. I even got to a moment when I felt something I haven't felt in so so very long. It starts as a fleeting fluttering in my gut, that radiates to my chest. It is hard to describe. Pride? Belief in me? Drive? Joy at the fact that I can control the outcome of the story? Whatever it is that originally pushed me to keep going; to puff up my chest and move on despite everything whirling around me, to extend my middle finger to the things that try to keep me down, that was what that little flutter was. And that moment was big. I don't feel helpless anymore. I know I can own this body and it's challenges and reverse some of the damage I've done while making excuses and complaining, and (the most damaging) believing that I COULDN'T change this, that I didn't have the tools or strength or drive.
But the important message is here: I never would have gotten that feeling from my bed or from slowly waking up with coffee and a stretch. I have to move in order to realize that I CAN. Point taken, universe!