Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Looney Tunes Challenge

My second week back at work has come to an end. It is hard to describe exactly how I feel, but I'll try. Think of one of those old Coyote and Road Runner cartoons. Picture the Coyote shooting off an ACME rocket that makes a big circle and ends up coming up behind him. Imagine said rocket hitting him squarely in the keester with a loud KA-POW and then him skidding on his backside across the desert floor. The sound effect might be a Whee-ee-ee-ee.

In many ways, I knew how this back-to-work period was going to play out. The train had already been moving for a month without me. I had to try to catch up, grab onto the train, and keep going without missing a beat. My teaching partner and the substitute did their best (which was very good) to have everything in place and moving the right direction. I had done a ton of work at home so that I was as prepared as I could be.

To be sure, the first week back was incredibly tiring. Besides working full time, I had various after-school commitments that kept me out and about until 9:00 almost every evening. The second week was better. I wasn't quite as tired, and I didn't have things going on every evening. I find that people (myself included) tend to think that since I am back at work, I must be back to my pre-injury self. After all, when someone comes back to work after having the flu, they feel pretty much back to normal, right?

Unfortunately, I haven't "just" been back to work, and haven't "just" been recovering from leg surgery. For the past month, I have also been battling an infection (TWICE) that required antibiotics, immediately followed by a spell of back spasms, followed by a tremendous head cold that hit me this past Friday. Seemingly, this trifecta of challenges has left me skidding on my fanny across the desert floor.

I have not been able to exercise the way I should. Exhaustion and feeling unwell have left me making poorer food choices. I have not been logging my food and water. I have fallen away from many of the things that made my summer productive and successful.

Yet, in some respects, I am still clinging to the path. As of this morning, my weight is only up about 2 pounds from my lowest point. My husband came to therapy with me on Thursday, and he was amazed at what I am able to do in the gym now. He kept asking me if I realized how much better I am doing on the bike and weight machines. He's right, I am able to do more. I am stronger than I was before my fall, in spite of having a rough couple of months.

I think this is a critical time in the lifestyle journey. I have had physical impediments for three full months now. The first burst of adrenalin and initial weight loss has past. The time when motivation begins to wain has hit. It would be easy fall into an old habit of telling myself, "It's no use, you might as well just give up."

It seems that the intellect (Super Genius) must step in and override the emotion when the journey road takes an uphill turn. I must make a DECISION to keep going, Ever Forward, even when I feel like quitting. I must take inventory of the challenges that the past two weeks have presented, congratulate myself for coming through it, and then turn myself around again. Just like Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius, I must pick myself up, dust myself off, and start planning my next week of attack. Don't just sit there, please pass my ACME catalog...

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