Two and a half years ago I was training for my first 10K, when I was told I couldn’t or shouldn’t ever run again. My metatarsal bone was sawed in half and screwed back together so that my big toe joint could move properly again. Three inches of scar later I had resigned myself to a life of walking and swimming, and letting Arthur dictate my exercise.
Sometime around March my knees started swelling badly. Going up stairs at the end of the day became nearly impossible, and I had so much fluid in them I could hear squishing noises in my body.
So I did what any logical person would do. I started running again.
Now when I say running, I mean it started out as more of a slow winded hobble. Compression braces kept the swelling in my knees from growing exponentially, and Frozen Peaz ice packs returned my knees back to a reasonable size.
I started slow – walking for a quarter mile, then jogging for one tenth. I’d walk a little, and jog a little, slowly pushing myself to do just a bit more jogging in a row, and a bit more distance overall. I didn’t care how slow I was moving, because I was moving.
I quickly found that my knees seemed to be loosening up and the daily swelling wasn’t so intense. After reading some articles, my dad and I theorized that running was flushing the fluid through my joint, not letting it stay stagnant, and providing better blood flow.
I have felt so weak since that surgery – a feeling I haven’t enjoyed. My muscles have slowly begun to wake up, and on a recent run I grinned from ear to ear the entire time as I could finally feel my muscles propelling me again!
Now, this isn’t to say any of this has been easy, quite the opposite. Some days – all right let’s be real, a lot of days I just feel like I can’t do it. My back hurts, my knees hurt, my head hurts – you name it. But I remind myself that every time I finish, I feel better than when I started. Not to mention the overwhelming sense of pride for kicking Arthur’s ass! I’ve even been able to stop a couple migraines in their tracks. Who knew?
So I took the next logical step and joined the Racing For a Cure team created by the Arthritis National Research Foundation. This gives my running purpose. Because now, every step I take gets us all closer to a cure. How you ask? I keep running and entering races, and I raise money* along the way that goes directly to the ANRF. A whopping 91 cents of every dollar goes directly to arthritis research! How’s THAT for motivation?
So when I have a tough day, I remember this: each step I take is a step closer not just for myself, but for all of us. And I’m not the only one! I have been amazed and relishing the support of other rheum runners and team members**.
Now I know we can’t all run, or even walk, but maybe if I do then we’ll all be able to again someday.
I encourage you try something new. Whether that be swimming, gentle yoga while seated in a chair, or playing frisbee with your dog. The point is to move. All we can do at the end of the day is try, and if we try hard enough, chances are we’ll reap the rewards. As an old family doctor of ours used to say, “Motion is Lotion.”
*Want to be my hero and donate to my Racing For a Cure page? Click here! Thank You!