As I’ve reunited with my doctors, Therapists and Trainers here I’ve been bracing myself for explaining the last few months and there have been moments when I’ve held my breath and thought, Don’t make me say it, PLEASE don’t make me say it.
From 388. Vespers
2 weeks after I wrote that post, I said it. I went all out. That’s when I made the transition to what I call “the full disclosure model” with my Trainers, and then I published these posts on my blog:
On Monday I said how gains come at a physical cost in RecoveryLand. When I wrote about the ups and downs of this past summer and that if given the choice, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat, this conversation (I called it my “Goal Reset”) is what I had in mind. It was the biggest gain I’ve met with this year apart from going back to Oregon. Gen and CMD also know my whole story now. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to not have to remember who knows what. I had been trying to ease everyone into this situation (since it’s a lot to chew on for all parties), but the time was right this summer. I took a real hit from the stress that came with sorting through and verbalizing these ideas for the first time, but now we enjoy a freedom of communication that is so easy for me, and healthier for everyone. Bottom line: It was more than worth it. As J told me when she came to the Running Gym a couple weeks ago, I can tell you feel really comfortable there.
My Trainers knew nothing about me when I met them. To remind you: Trainer D is a Personal Trainer with a neuroscience-physical-therapy vibe that is getting me kicked out of Rehab. Coach R is an Athletic Trainer trusted by professional athletes and Olympians to get them stronger, and to take care of them when they are injured. Thank the Lord that Coach R (the Traffic Cop) was there when I found a local AlterG. I told him I was diversifying my trust portfolio. This was code for, Now I don’t have to be alone with Trainer D!
They just saw that I have mobility issues and was plucky enough to seek them out and ask for help. Based on what they observed they immediately bought in to the idea of helping me Recover. As I sought non-prescribed assistance for the first time I entered these situations cautiously, giving them an opportunity to tell me to please go home and sit down, but I quickly ascertained that they knew what to do. I like people with plans.
It was enough that I walked into their gyms and asked them to help me. But when I told them (several months later) that the fact that I got sick is only half of the story they became even more committed to my Recovery. I’m big on loyalty. It’s a two-way street.
I decided to take the plunge and tell them the whole story bc I need their help with the following things: (1) Cardiovascular Health – feedback indicates my voice is improved! I know it’s bc I’m using the air I’m breathing more efficiently. This helps me speak to people in every context. Also it helps with stamina, which is already improved in that I’m able to exercise the mental acuity necessary to plan and hit time targets in more formal settings. (2) Core Strength – My public interface is almost normal. It’s part of my job now to be approached from any angle and to meet and greet appropriately. This takes balance and coordination so I don’t step on people or fall down (yes, these are concerns).
The fact that I framed this conversation in the context of physical goals was right up their alley. My reasoning was that I had to address this situation head-on since I had been in increasing levels of distress since I met them, but now that I had gone to Oregon I was settling down and signaling that I’m ready to work. Although they have extremely different demeanors, these guys are cut from the same cloth – that’s why I keep them around. I gather that they’re used to more robust athlete types and although they are careful with everyone thy train, my situation automatically requires a different kind of vigilance. I suppose it doesn’t help that I email them things like, I forgot to tell you – I have a hole in my head where they didn’t replace the skull…I do not expect to fall on your watch, I’m just saying that in the event that I do, I’m supposed to NOT fall on my head, k?
🙂 I like to keep things interesting for everyone. You’re welcome, guys.
I told them my “spectacle” analogy about being lit on fire and jumping off a bridge into a roaring river. When I test drove this idea on my friends they required about 30 minutes of explanation on my part. My purpose was to make sure I was not overstating the case, and they were a great focus group. At the end they said they were happy to hear me speak so definitively, and were like, You gotta make that bridge super high!!
My Trainers, on the other hand, accepted the premise without question. It has since occurred to me that they are not used to hearing anyone (certainly no one in a situation like mine) make such bold assertions in an extremely matter of fact tone. It was to them that I said, The only reason I’m able to look you in the eye and talk about this with confidence is not bc I’ve been untouched by this situation, it’s bc I’ve already decided.
It was important to me to make sure they understood that although I like to laugh I do feel the full weight of my loss. It’s bc I’m convinced that I stand to gain so much more that I can laugh – it’s not a pretense, it’s living joy that comes from an external power source.
Based on how people (people I know, people who know of me, and perfect strangers) respond to me now, I realized that I’m no longer waiting for “something” to happen. When explaining this to my Trainers I summarized it like this:
I’m not an injured player trying to get back on the field. This IS the field.