Practice Patience!

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The concept of patience is important to remember when trying to change, move forward, heal, and see differences. Two years ago today I went for a run, which I had been doing most days for over 10 years, when I felt something snag in my big toe. I came home unable to really do anything with said toe and endured pain and swelling for a few months. If anyone has had foot problems you know that when your feet are uncomfortable you’re pretty miserable. I tried resting, wore only tennis shoes, and made an appointment with a podiatrist to see what was going on. Fast forward three months and I’m with the third podiatrist/orthopaedic surgeon after I went through a month of physical therapy where I didn’t progress much and a walking boot that just made my hips hurt.

I still remember when I found the doctor who cracked my big toe case. It was concluded that I had most likely ruptured my flexor longus hallicus tendon. I asked him what my options were. He said that since I’m not a monkey using my toes to do things like swing from trees and peel bananas, I didn’t really need an intact FLH. One thing he said that I think is important to note is “surgery doesn’t fix you it just makes you different.” I wasn’t willing to gamble that the way I’d end up after surgery was worth scar tissue, crutches, and an even more sedentary lifestyle so I went with option two: rest.

As a fitness professional I was kind of annoyed because I felt like I had been resting for three months and all this rest was starting to interfere with my job. I asked my doctor, “exactly how much more rest are we talking?” When he replied, “sometimes it takes one to two years to feel like you can resume running and other high impact activities” I was in disbelief. One to two years? What would I do to stay in shape? How would I de-stress and burn energy? I’m embarrassed to admit that I wondered how I would stay in shape since I am again, a fitness professional, who advises people who despise running how to achieve fitness and weight goals doing things that don’t involve running. So I had to do a mini consultation with myself (silent, in my head of course) and abide by his advice to rest until I felt I was back as good as I’d ever be.

Fast forward to December 17, 2013, two years after my tendon rupture and guess what – I feel as in shape as ever and my foot hurts 5% of the time instead of 95% of the time! I’m more flexible than I used to be since I started doing different activities and made stretching a priority (thanks, physical therapy!). I’m also not really that interested in taking up a running most days of the week lifestyle but I have done some light jogs here and there. I no longer call myself a runner but I’m fine with that. I’d rather be able to do other activities with little to no discomfort than to run and risk being in the boot again.

So the moral of this story is that whatever your situation, be patient. The body can only handle so much and will only change so quickly. Whatever it is that you’re working on – quitting smoking, a relationship, losing weight, gaining muscle, it takes a lot of time to change, especially if the change involves a habit you’re trying to break or a habit you’re trying to make. If you’re feeling like you didn’t quite reach your 2013 wellness or fitness goals, think again – it takes time! Oh and you’ve probably done a lot better than you realize. Sometimes all you can do is do better.