I can’t say that I’m a stranger to breaking points. I’m that person who goes from calm and controlled to “I CANNOT HANDLE ONE MORE SECOND OF THIS” in one fell swoop. It happens even with the littlest things. Let’s take rush hour for example. I’m stuck in crawling traffic and I’m perfectly fine the first 18 times that traffic grinds to a halt. But the 19th time that it happens, well that’s just the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. All of a sudden, it’s full on road rage mode. There is no in-between.
Last Friday I reached my breaking point with my injury. I have been chugging along, seeing slow gains and making some progress, then having another set back, but then getting back on track and seeing progress again. It’s been annoying, but annoying in the same way as those first 18 times traffic comes to a stop during rush hour. I like to call it tolerably annoying. But I hit the equivalent of my 19th come-to-a-full-stop on Friday when I had to turn around on the BCMC trail due to pain.
In no particular order, here are the factors that contributed to my breaking point:
1. It’s been nine weeks. With my age and relative level of fitness prior to this injury, this seems altogether too long to be suffering this level of pain and constant regression. This is particularly true as there was no one, clear incident that seemed to spur on this injury in the first place.
2. This is fundamentally different pain in location and intensity than I’ve ever experienced with an SI injury and I’m still not convinced that an SI injury is all that’s at play here.
3. I cannot do the things I love (hiking and running) the way that I love (steeply, often and over long distances) and it’s starting to get to me.
4. (Related to the above) My emotional well-being (read: sanity and general pleasantness to be around) hinges on my ability to do the things I love the way that I love. Just ask my boyfriend, who deserves a medal for putting up with my injury-related sulking.
5. I am doing everything ‘right’ by my physiotherapist and trainer and I’m still not seeing the type of progress I would expect. I have never had this injury persist for anywhere near this long. Seriously, the longest I’ve ever been out of commission for running is about a week, and I’ve never had to take a break from hiking for more than a day or two. Again, since there’s no defined incident that caused this injury, I find this a particularly tough pill to swallow.
7. I am over all of this. Completely. If my whole summer of season of hiking is like this, I am going to lose it.
So I had a good cry in the parking lot at the trailhead, and then a good cry on the phone with my parents, and then a good cry in the grocery store while shopping (because who doesn’t like making grocery shopping awkward for others?), and then another good cry when I got home. And I realized that I need to channel my breaking point towards something more productive by being more of an advocate for myself in this medical process.
This starts with some frank conversations with my physiotherapist about whether we’ve missed something in the diagnosis. I’m also fairly set on getting an MRI to make sure we’re not missing something. And I want to look at alternate treatment paths. Active release therapy, which has always been my saving grace, is not helping this situation and yet I keep relying on it to change things. What’s that definition of insanity again?
Long story not-so-short, I’ve hit my breaking point but maybe that’s actually a good thing. After all, breaking points are good for one thing and one thing only: being an impetus for action. So here we go with operation repair-my-broken-body-for-good.