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  • Writer's pictureKris Barling

It's ok to have a 'This is F***ed' moment

It’s Christmas Day, full of Christmas cheer, food, drinks and time with family. A day to be happy and grateful for everything in life. This morning, however, I was neither of those things. This Christmas is a weird one for me. To be honest, I’ve not been a fan of Christmas for many years. When I joined the Air Force and was posted up to Darwin I stayed in Darwin pretty much every Christmas. I used to have friends over, those who had also chosen to stay in Darwin for the Christmas break rather than going home to their families. Over the last five years or so, I’ve developed a little Christmas tradition, a big workout in the morning of some sort and then engaging in the Christmas festivities with friends. Whether it’s been a long ride or run, or making the most of owning my own gym and sneaking in for a decent session. I’ve also had the pleasure a couple of times to travel over to Victoria and see my Dad, Stepmum and sisters and spend Christmas with them, which has been wonderful. I had planned to do exactly that this year and was so excited to do so…….unfortunately, being around an eight hour drive, that was just not going to happen this year. Neither was a Christmas workout……

I’ve definitely been making progress, which I am so very happy about. I’ve been swimming twice now, using a pool buoy so that I don’t have to use my back to stabilise and also having breaks. The first time I swam 500m, and then yesterday I managed to swim 1000m. When I used to train for Ironman triathlons, swimming used to be the one thing that I always had to force myself to do. I now can’t wait for tomorrow when the pool opens again and I can get back in for a swim. Because it is, literally, the ONLY exercise I am capable of doing. I popped into the gym yesterday to catch up on a bit of admin and thought I would suss things out. Basically, everything, including the cross trainer and bike (the one where you literally sit with your back supported) are even a no go. A simple seated bicep curl is also out of the question. It’s just so alien to me, being this physically broken….. So right now, I am proud to say that I love swimming! I have decided that swimming will become a permanent addition to my training even when I am finally all better. Please, if you’re a reader of my blog, feel free to hold me to this.

So things have been going swimmingly (excuse the dad joke pun)…..but not always. Like this morning…..

I had a good night sleep. I still have to sleep on the couch because the bed is too soft and it’s too painful to sleep. I woke up feeling good. It was Christmas, I wasn’t in pain. And then…..I got up and had a shower and was in a whole world of pain again. I mentally lost my shit. Excuse the language but I swore like a trooper. Apologies to anyone who may be offended by the rest of this paragraph….. I was so fucking over being in pain. I can’t even have a shower without ending up in pain. I can’t walk, I definitely can’t run, I can’t drive to see my family for Christmas. I am so fucking sick of being in pain!!!! I don’t know if I can do this for six months. The houses on both sides of us are hosting Christmas and sounded like they were having a great time. At that point in time I wanted to scream at them to shut up and stop being so fucking happy, I seriously was over it. What I am trying to get through to you here, is that I’m not always a Positive Polly (and sometimes I have quite a potty mouth), and this situation has tested me mentally like you’d never believe. I wasn’t good. Not one bit.

So, I laid down on the couch and put Wedding Crashers on the iPad. Which I have to say, lightened my mood slightly. I drank my super greens drink, took all of my vitamins, had some plant protein, begrudgingly popped a couple of anti-inflammatories and checked out of life for a bit. The dogs were driving me nuts barking at the festivities going on around us and I was getting pretty frustrated at them so suggested that we just get out of the house. Stace and I put them in the car and we drove to an oval where they could just run to their little doggie hearts content. I did a little bit of walking around, and then laid down on the grass, in the sun enjoying the fresh air. It has done me the world of good. I’m now sitting back home, with the ice pack on my back again but in a much better headspace. After a good conversation about things I’m feeling ok again. I know I am making progress. With the extent of my injury, being able to do the things I am doing at the moment only five weeks in is very rare, so I need to acknowledge that. It is so easy when you get sick or injured to get down in the dumps and lose the plot. But I made the decision weeks ago that I wasn’t going to do that, and no matter what, I am going to stick with this. I know that not everyone can do this. But I am a stubborn and very disciplined person and I will do it. I truly believe that my plant based nutrition has been the key factor in my healing.

One frustrating thing that I have found with this injury is the lack of knowledge that there is surrounding disc injuries and how quick Doctors are to suggest surgery. With most other injuries, there is a general expected healing time and a great deal of knowledge around this. This sort of injury is one where there is so much unknown. Being the closet nerd that I am, I have done as much research as I possibly can and have found that there is a serious lack of information out there about healing a Disc extrusion. In fact, disc injuries are one of those things where it’s a case of, how long is a piece of string? At the end of the day, I have come to my own conclusion that it’s just like most other injuries. It’s about being patient, focussing on your mindset and filling your body with healing nutrition.

So, I’ve shaken the Christmas Grinch off my shoulders and it’s time to enjoy the afternoon with friends. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, however you’re choosing to spend it!


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