As the saying goes ‘every could has a silver lining.’

I had some clouds in 2011. Whiplash, concussion and topped off by pneumonia in November/December.

For a long time, I found it very difficult to find anything positive that came out of my whiplash injury, but thought that once I was past it I would look back and it would be more clear. When I got the concussion, I was really hoping the silver lining would be that the forced time off computer and training would heal my neck (it didn’t). By the time I got diagnosed with a severe case of pneumonia, I just thought I had plain bad luck and didn’t even consider that a break in the clouds would occur.

But just when I was least expecting it, I got a very obvious silver lining to being bed ridden for almost three weeks. I haven’t had a flare-up of my trigger points since I got pneumonia! The flare-ups were a big contributor to my pain and disability over the previous year. Myofascial pain syndrome (which involves trigger points) can be really difficult to get rid of, and complete rest can actually make the trigger points worse, but in my case it seemed to really have helped! Who knew?

When it rains it pours (forgive my overuse of idioms). After that overly obvious silver lining, other positive outcomes to my craptacular 2011 are becoming more clear. I think that having that positive step forward in my neck injury helped to make me feel more optimistic and I am now creating and more easily identifying silver linings rather than waiting for them to happen.

I ended 2011 with a profane, albeit seemingly appropriate ice cream cake and have never looked back.

The funniest part was Dave explaining to Marble Slab what he wanted written on it over the phone.

2012 has to be a better year. So far so good. The month of January has been pretty good for me! To begin it started off with this little cutie.

We weren’t planning to get a dog, but when we saw pictures of 13 puppies that needed homes at a rescue shelter in Squamish, it just seemed right. Please visit the website for Canine Valley Re-Education and Adventure Centre Society and donate or check out their adoptable dogs, or obedience school. It really is an amazing place and we are so thankful to Valley for our loving pup and her work with us training her.

I am so in love with Sookie. She makes me so happy! Also she is a good project for me to focus on. Training a puppy is hard work! I’ve been reading puppy books, researching eco-friendly dog supplies, training, cleaning up after her, walking etc. It has been really difficult for me to not have mental stimulus as I’ve been on leave from my studies since October. This little puppy project does provide me something to work toward and look forward to.

Just for good measure, here are some more ridiculously cute pics of the pup.

She is a sleepy pup.

In the month of January I have also focussed on going to hot yoga or another type of yoga and using the sauna. I found that the heat really helped my neck pain but the effect didn’t last long, so I’ve been going almost every day as an experiment. Also the particular poses and the great instructors in the Yhot classes at Yyoga studios both were very helpful for my injury. I am also continuing my strength training, physio, chiro, massage, pilates, prescription drugs and analgesic trigger point injections like usual.

So it’s hard to say what helped. I’m going to assume all of it (especially the happiness the puppy brought ;)). But yeah my injury is FINALLY starting to feel better. I’ve actually been able to get back on both my Cervelos on the trainer the past two weeks without getting crazy neck pain afterwards. AND I’ve swam a few times (700m, 1300m, 1700m, 2000m respectively in volume, so still taking it easy) and can actually do a solid catch and pull through the water without much pain!! And I’ve even had a few run workouts with hardly any neck pain. This is a huuuuge positive step for me!

I’m trying not to get too excited, and I do still have pain during some workouts, and still sometimes at night and random times throughout the day, but overall there is a decreasing trend. I’m hoping that this will continue in a positive direction that will result in me actually being able to train like I used to sometime soon(ish…again not getting too excited). I miss it SO much. I am SO ready to be an athlete again. And I would REALLY like to go back to my PhD without chronic pain in May.

There are many things that I have identified recently that are positives to come out of being injured for this long. The key is that I am going to try to hold on to these positives and use them going forward from my injury.

For one, my body awareness has increased exponentially through my work with my physio and pilates instructor in doing my rehab exercises and strength training. I am committed to doing everything from sitting at my computer desk or brushing my teeth, to strength training, swimming, cycling and running with this awareness. Yoga and meditation has taught me the power of breath. I have learned how to relax and not let the affects of stress appear so strongly in my body just by using my breath. This in particular has been SO critical in my rehab from my neck injury, as my injured area (neck and shoulders) is exactly where humans typically carry their stress. This will be a skill that I hope to hold on to for the rest of my life. I envision myself looking to my breath while furiously trying to finish a paper in school, and to calm my nerves before races.

I am trying my best to turn a big negative into a few positives. It’s not as if I’m trying to convince myself that the car accident was “meant to happen,” which is a concept I’m not sure I believe in, but it’s more of a way of accepting the negative, and moving forward.

I’ve said the word “positive” more times in this post than ever before. Let’s hope I can continue to use it lots in the posts to come 😉

2 Responses to “Silver Linings”

  1. Amelia Payne

    I was having a pretty crappy week, and was thinking of all the positives that are going on. then, a friend sent me this link… so, let me share it with you!

    you GOT A PUPPY! how AWESOME is that?!?! (note: i’m working the maximum enthusiasm…)

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