the MISA blog tour + In Reality, part one.

Today’s Most Influential Scrapbooker spotlight is directed at Renee Pearson and Margie Romney. I have worked and traveled with both of these women and can attest to their caring spirits, spunk and humor. I consider both dear friends and champion anything they set their hearts to. Click on either of these banners to get to know these women better and enter the week-long contest for LOTS of great prizes.

I’m home (yay!)
I’m sure I’ll be in catch up mode for a couple of days, but I’m now looking at four weeks of summer sans plans. I’m very happy about this and eager to relax with my kiddos, eat well and exercise, work on back-burner projects and finalize the move to my upstairs office!

I so appreciate your response to my post yesterday.
Thank you.

I’m hoping to publish my first “In Reality” post later today.
I’ve got a meeting right now and want to get the info about today’s MISA girls up in a somewhat timely fashion.

In Reality, part one.

I mentioned yesterday that I want to shed some light on current challenges I’m facing and learning to deal with. I don’t know how long it will take me to complete this series of blog posts, but I do know that I’m still very much in the midst of learning and adapting, so I need you to anticipate more exploration than explanation.

I took a walk with my camera one morning in May.
I was trying to photograph a pair of something for the Picture Spring course at BPS.

After snapping this photo, I pulled the tree branch down and snapped these flowers from a new perspective.

I snapped both of these pictures the same week that I experienced the shift in perspective that I’m sharing today.

I’ve decided to title this series, In Reality, because what I assume is real, is really just my perspective. This personal “reality” can and does change with new information or experiences that shifts my perspective.

NOTE: As always, I love to read your thoughts and comments, but please, don’t think you have to read these long posts. I am using my blog to help me capture journaling that will ultimately become pages in a new scrapbook album, dedicated to these life lessons. If you are just interested in the summary, scroll to the bottom of the post.

For more than a year, my right big toe has been hurting. The first time I remember noticing my toe was during yoga. I was moving from upward dog into downward dog and I felt a slight tweak. I didn’t think much of this. After this, my toe would bother me for the first several minutes of a run. Several months later, I visited our chiropractor friend, who confirmed that I indeed had limited range of motion in that toe. His recommendation was to get an X-ray and cut back on high impact exercise. I ignored the first bit of advice and decided that since it was fall I would focus on yoga and limit my cardio exercise to 20-minute sessions on my ellipse-style machine in our basement.

Unfortunately, my toe and my attitude only got worse. I have loved and prioritized exercise ever since I was a teenager. It is my most trusted source of stress relief—but even yoga was becoming painful. I started a silent “why me” campaign and decided I would do what I wanted to do in spite of “my stupid toe.” I was mad, mad, mad that I had somehow injured my toe and it wasn’t getting better.

In April as the days were growing longer and my desire to be outside was growing stronger, I finally followed through on getting an X-ray and making an appointment with a podiatrist. On the first visit to the doctor’s office, I was told I have degenerative arthritis in my toe. At least now I had a real reason to be mad, but the question remained, why me and more specifically, why this toe?

The doctor asked lots of questions about possible injuries and other causes and finally said, “Is there anything else I should know?”
I told him that I had had surgery, to remove a tumor in my right inner thigh, 17 years ago and that since that time my right leg and foot has had a tendency to swell. I wondered out loud, could this occasional swelling (primarily associated with air travel) have caused this arthritis over time?

His response, “I don’t think so. Tell me more about your cancer.”
Since Parachordoma (my type of cancer) is very rare, the surgeons decided to operate again and remove all five of my adductor muscles—those immediately surrounding the encapsulated tumor.
You should have seen the doctor’s face.
“That’s our cause!” he said
“It is? What do adductor muscles have to do with my toe?” I countered.


Everything.

For seventeen years my leg has been compensating bio-mechanically and my poor little big toe has taken the brunt of this corrective attempt, which has enabled me to run without obvious incident.

Wow.

You mean my “stupid toe” really isn’t that stupid afterall?
You mean I’ve been able to jog for years because of my amazing body and it’s ability to adjust and compensate?

Needless to say, my perspective shifted and my attitude is changing.

I am now wearing orthotics in my shoes and I’m learning to run less and walk more.
I miss my long Saturday morning jogs, but I’m considering other forms of exercise (biking?) not just as temporary options, but as potential longtime pursuits.

Following my surgery seventeen years ago, I was told I would have to deal with some limitations (ie. no water or snow skiing and occasional falls when lateral traction is challenged.) Initially walking and running would feel awkward, but if I was diligent I would be able to adjust and pursue an active lifestyle.

I have, and I am so very grateful for the years of running I’ve enjoyed.

Summary

Assumption: I unfairly injured my toe
Reaction: Anger and frustration
New Reality: My toe joint has literally worn itself out attempting to compensate for years of running.
What I’ve learned: Things are not always what you think they are. I now feel grateful for the chance to explore other forms of exercise!

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