I do all the things we’re supposed to do to take care of our bodies. I drink moderately (sometimes moderately more), I eat a ridiculous amount of salad, I sleep the prescribed amount, and I never take the elevator.
Despite this, things occasionally go wrong. Whenever things do go wrong, I play the blame game with everyone but myself. The reason I am injured is because a waitress accidentally served me gluten. Or because I am under so much stress. Or because there was a full moon the day I ran.
The truth is, it’s a combination of all those things, including the main culprit of all my injuries and most of my troubles: ego.
That time I dislocated my ribs? Yeah, some chick next to me whipped out some pull-ups and I thought I had to keep up.
The time I broke my leg while running – who even does that? The girl who decides she is stronger than the advice of the professionals.
The time I tore some unknown muscles and things in my hip? Some Masai guys were cheering me at my morning safari workout. I have no idea what they were saying, but probably something like, “That white girl didn’t even warm up.”
There was a kind of snap-crackle-crunch. I hobbled through a few more intervals (blasted ego), then called it a day. Three months later, I’d drink snake oil if someone told me it would work.
Pain is a strange thing to endure through a chronic condition. Studies show that chronic pain (pain that lasts more than six months) can alter the way our brain perceives pain, sometimes amplifying the experience. Other studies suggest that it is this amplification that renders medications ineffective.
Mostly, it acts as a sort of underlying disturbance in the force. To survive it day in, day out, one must disassociate, not just from the pain, but from a full experience of life. In the case of injury, we might even be unable to do the things we love doing, or we suffer through them instead of enjoying them. There is mourning, frustration, and in my case, more cookies than I need.
I knew this would happen if I turned 40. My body would deteriorate and I’d take on the shape of a maple bar.
Unwilling to accept this fate, I have launched myself on a journey of exploratory healing: If I can find a single internet reference to some whacky medical technique, therapy or voodoo magic trick that could repair this damage, I’ll try it. My ego won’t let me get an MRI, though, because conclusive evidence is a reality I am not willing to face just yet.
And why would I? Those experts would just tell me to do something more ridiculous than drinking magic potions. Rest! That’s a bunch of cockamamie nonsense.
As I’m climbing up a 9,000-foot peak last weekend, gasping for air and limping, I am rattling on to my adventure buddy about all the things I have tried in vain to heal my injury. Acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, prolotherapy (speaking of increased pain perception), supplementation, rolfing, hot springs, sacrifices to the gods.
“I’ve just tried everything!” I exclaim as I negotiate myself over a boulder about 8 miles in. “I just can’t figure it out!”
I am met with silence and a blank stare. I hate it when I know the answer, but I don’t like it.
More often than not in life, if I just turn off the noise of my own voice, the solution is right there.
Ammi Midstokke can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Since she’ll be resting more than usual, she’ll have plenty of time to respond.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.