Recovery is a difficult road to travel. Thankfully Amanda C. has lots of friends so she doesn’t have to do it alone! Some great insights to how difficult recovery can be not only physically but emotionally as well.
Last you heard I was so thankful for the amazing women in the cycling community and was needing surgery to repair my broken wing (clavicle). A lot has happened since then and I thought I would update you on the road to recovery.
The accident happened on a Sunday, met with surgeons on Monday, and surgery was scheduled for Friday. In the good ole deep South in times like this someone would call the “shut in committee” to come to the rescue. There would be phone calls and meetings about what casserole everyone was going to bring and if banana pudding was better than peach cobbler for broken bones. Here in Colorado the Colorful there is more of a mob boss approach to getting things done. Sharon Madison is the Godfather and Amanda Bye is her Fat Tony the enforcer. They both know me well enough to know I can’t ask for help or admit that in fact I may need it. Between the two of them I was fed (precooked, pre cut up) better than I would feed myself, taken to run all of my errands, prepped for surgery, and moved across Denver into my new digs. Life should have been extremely difficult having to get myself ready for surgery and moving with a non functioning arm and no family within 1,000 miles. Not to get too mushy too soon but in the past I may or may not have said how we were not “friends” and I still stand by that because those 2 women are truly my family. When the collarbone hits the curb they come flying in with their capes to feed me, pack me, burp me, and support me before I even know what is going on.
Friends from Naked and other teams were recruited to do different things. Sam Anderson was to take me to the hospital and get me all checked in. Melissa Langdon was to pick me up and stay with me till her relief got home from work. Katie Clifford made me a comfy spot on the couch with all the pillows and blankets in front of the tv and made sure every 4 hours (even all through the night) her timer would beep and she would get up and give me pain pills. Lanier Allen, Virginia Betty, and Ingrid Alongi came over the next day to unpack and set up my stuff in my new place of residence. Everyone brought food and more importantly laughs. Throughout the week tons of cycing buddies made sure I was fed and that I had whatever it took to recover. Every person kept saying how I needed to rest and how time heals all wounds blah blah blah. I may seem like a saint in every single aspect of my life but I must confess I can be kind of hard headed.
Surgery Friday, off pains meds by Saturday night, and on the trainer first thing Monday morning… this was the plan and no one could talk me out of it. So I did just that. I did 3 sets of 10 minute LT intervals with 5 minute recovery between and a couple 30 second sprints at the end of my session. It felt great mentally to be on the bike so soon but emotionally and physically something was off. Thankfully though after hearing my workouts and plans the Godfather swept me away to go see the Pro Cycling Challenge in Vail with her before I had time to do some serious damage. Perfect timing!
Sharon took care of my every need as usual and made sure I wasn’t doing anything stupid. I don’t like not being able to help or at least carry my own weight so I kept trying but between the Godfather and Mama Joan it was like I was being watched 24/7 by pit-bulls… I truly fear them! What I didn’t realize would be worse than having them nag me constantly was seeing everyone go for rides without me. That hit a nerve greater than the inflamed nerve in my shoulder. I was handling the pain of surgery just fine but the internal pain was starting to build in my head and heart.
What happens when you are forced in to recovery is that you have to deal with your demons that you previously had been able to hush by long rides and tough training plans. Coming from my background with weight gain and loss to where I am today has been an extremely challenging journey from the inside out. My greatest fear now is being ostracized based on inactivity (the fat kid not getting picked to play) and weight gain.
What have I done to ignore dealing with my insecurities and fears post accident… stupid things mostly. I have been like a prisoner trying to break out of my cell at every chance I get. I can not tell you all the dumb things I have done because really I don’t want to get lectured, yelled at, and grounded by all my cycling moms. The reality that I am not yet recovered happened last week, I must confess, when I went for a swim. Not the kind of swim where you float on something plastic with a fruity adult beverage in your hand but more the kind of Missy Franklin let’s go for gold kind of swim. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
During my swim I felt great but within 30 minutes of being back at home I stood up and immediately was brought to my knees in extreme pain. Swimming is a great no impact exercise EXCEPT for someone 2 weeks post op with a metal plate and 10 screws holding their fragile clavicle in place. What in the world was I thinking? Is the fear of gaining a pound and losing some fitness worth my crawl to the ice pack and medicine cabinet? Why couldn’t I just chill out? I am not recovered yet and now am set back a wee bit because I am a stubborn child. Oye vey!
4 weeks post accident I can finally say I am learning to listen; learning to listen to my doctor, family, friends, and my own body. Fixing a broken bone is simple. Dealing with your demons is extremely difficult. No one can really prepare you for what recovery looks like on the inside. A very good friend told me recently that she doesn’t fear the physical recovery but she is haunted by the emotional stuff that she would have to deal with if she had to be still and listen.
What do I do now? Sit. Relax. Learn. Deal. Breathe. I take more walks. I try to find confidence in myself that I truly am an active in shape person. I remember my friends are not leaving me behind on rides but are simply trying to help me heal. I let people know when I hurt inside and out. I accept help. I ask for help. I grow. I recover.
I have 2 weeks and 5 days before my next appointment when my suregon will either say green light or red light to returning to full activity. I am nervous but for the next two weeks and 5 days I am in full recovery mode finally. Bring on the healing shoulder, heart, and head. This is not easy friends but I hear I will be better for it blah blah blah. Don’t worry though my spirit is still intact. Waking up to rainy cold weather this morning was wonderful. If I have to be forced inside so should everyone else!