I should probably mention that I have a therapist.
I’ve gone back and forth on divulging this, mostly because of the stigma associated with mental health care in this country. But I fancy myself as sort of an advocate of being mentally healthy (particularly in my job in the healthcare field), and as such, I should be forthcoming about that. That and she might get a mention here and there, because she tends to say things that are very reasonable and would actually occur to me on my own if I took a minute to stop freaking out.
I began lamenting to her about This Hip Thing on Thursday (she doesn’t allow me to lament for more than a few minutes, which is good, because lamenting isn’t actually all that productive), and I could immediately tell that she wasn’t going to be able to relate to me on this one. She has kids my age, and has been wonderful in terms of relating to me about motherhood, school, work, relationships and just about everything else I’ve told her. So anyway, I don’t fault her for not empathizing about This Hip Thing in the way I need her to. I have found, in telling a few others about this, that people who are athletes or who just love to run, or bike, or challenge themselves physically, have been more able to understand what it is about this that’s weighing on me.
What if I’m never the same again?
I mean, I know that I won’t be, in the structural sense. And I also know that I probably won’t ever run again (at least not the marathon distance, for sure). I know some people who have run after PAO surgery, but the surgeon who is going to be re-constructing my hip isn’t keen on running. That’s fodder for another blog entry, though.
My body has always done what I’ve wanted it to do. I played women’s tackle football. I’ve run 3 marathons. I was a competitive swimmer for many years, and it’s always been my intention to train for an Ironman triathlon at some point in life. This body that I’m proud of has never failed me in this fashion, and although I think I knew that it would happen at some point, I didn’t think it would be at age 35. 82 maybe, but not before that.
I have begun ‘fluffing up’ my support network – with women who have gone through this experience, mainly. And they all definitely get what I’m feeling. I think about stupid things like whether or not my football friends will view me the same way afterward (you know – like if you’re in a reptile club and you suddenly no longer own reptiles, what is there to talk about?), or if I’ll fall down the stairs the first time I try, or if my leg is going to be too numb for me to take up cycling.
It’s all a matter of processing. And some days I’m doing it much better than others.