"Not many people like to admit that, but everyone is always in the process of becoming something else. No one is ever really finished—constructed and complete."
- Alicia Cook (Stuff I've Been Feeling Lately)
Three weeks ago, I had ankle surgery to re-attach lateral ligaments that had been gone for about 15 months.
During this time, I kept running and exercising in general, because I need to physically exert myself to help keep body-mind-heart aligned. (My doc gave me the thumbs-up to continue after initial scans; I wasn't being ignorant or stupid. Promise. 😝)
The problem was that my ankle didn't get better and I experienced constant discomfort after exercise. It also started slowing me down more and more, until I finally stopped running about 4 months ago.
I picked up cycling as a replacement, but it just wanted the same. There's something about feet on a pavement that connects me to the universe, whereas on a bicycle, there is a mechanical component between the universe and me.
So I eventually had more scans, saw loads of doctors, eventually picked one and then had to wait about 7 weeks before I could get a surgery date.
Fast-forward to the day of surgery.
I hate hospitals. Whether I'm there for myself or for someone else, I'm always super-anxious.
But this day was different.
Nothing worked according to plan... 4am wake-up. My ride was late, so I arrived late. When I got to the hospital, they didn't have a bed for me. I eventually ended up in the Maternity Ward. And my surgery got delayed by about 3 hours.
All of this is normally things that would fire every single anxious neuron in my body.
But it didn't. I was okay. In fact, I was really content and almost happy. (This was way before they gave me any meds too.)
Surgery went well and without any complications.
As I woke up afterwards, I again felt this happiness wash over me. And again, it wasn't the drugs, since they had used a local anesthetic nerve block in my ankle. So no morphine or some of the other good stuff.
I lay there - light, happy and content - when I realised that I must've totally underestimated just how much my borked ankle had weighed me down. Literally.
In the weeks preceding the surgery, I started feeling the strain in the rest of my body from all of the subconscious over-compensation to protect my ankle. This became more uncomfortable physically, but this was only a lagging indicator of all the over-compensation I was doing elsewhere in my life.
I hadn't felt like me for months. I couldn't run (which is a great part of me) and could only exercise well below my normal levels. Feeling physical weak meant that I wasn't feeling super in my heart or mind either. Not necessarily depressed, but not me. Not the way that I would feel on a normal day.
As I sit here in my bed writing this, ankle elevated, one day post-surgery, my ankle is obviously not yet fixed. There is pain. I'm still on crutches for six weeks and then have intensive rehab thereafter. It'll be 12+ weeks before I can run at all again.
Yet, I'm happy. I'm relieved and feeling light, because this unknown weight has been lifted from my shoulders.
A weight that didn't make me feel like me.