Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Jagged Battle of Recovery – Concussion Be Gone!


September has arrived with a vengeance. Where did my summer go?

I have mixed feelings about having the fall just around the corner (although you wouldn’t believe it given the heat and humidity outside right now!) Part of me is excited because that means that I’ve put in more healing time and maybe my body will be ready to get back to business soon, but part of me is sad that summer is nearly over! But regardless how I feel, it’s here.

The recovery is coming along - not nearly as quickly as I would like, but that would be the story of my season. It’s important for me to keep reminding myself that despite what I want to believe, recovery is not a linear process. At the end of June I made a large step in recovery, now I’m just waiting for another.

There are some days where I feel great and almost “normal” (like when I went shopping in London!) and then there are days where my head hurts, my ears ring constantly, and I’m happy to sleep most of the day away. The good news is that those days are becoming fewer and are farther apart. The bad news is that I’m not at a point where I can realistically resume training as I had been planning.

Each day is a bit of a game. I’m playing jump rope with the line of what I can handle. Sometimes I win. Other times I don’t! Through this tedious process, I have deduced that it is primarily my visual processors (yup, super technical term) that tire the easiest and consequently give me the most grief. This means daily activities such as driving, where you are constantly making visual calculations of speed are tiring, while fun endeavours such as video games are out. Too much of anything and I find myself sleeping over 12 hours a night and headaches are still a far too familiar frustration.

Still I keep up the hope that the next big health step will come. I dream about riding my bike in the near future and savouring every minute of it: the wind on my skin, the spin of my legs and the plain freedom that it brings. In the meantime I try to remember to take care of myself. That as one friend put it, I’m not doing “nothing”; I am “recovering”. How do you keep your stress levels down when doing nothing is a stressor? Hopefully I will take away new general relaxation and recovery techniques with me into the years to come of my cycling career and life that lie ahead.

As for the impending arrival of fall? I really do love September – and not just because it’s the month that harbours my birthday! It’s traditionally the start of new and exciting life things, Starbucks rolls out the Pumpkin Spice latte and it brings a bite to the Ontario air that reminds me of home in Calgary. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will also bring the start of training for my 2012 season – but I know my body will tell me when it’s ready!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know how you are feeling because I have two chronic illnesses which make me stop in my tracks in all kinds of areas of life. The patience to let your body heal is not easy, especially when being a competitive athlete. A concussion is serious business. I can only recommend that you are taking it easy because if you start training too early, you could end up having cognitive issue later on in life. I once ran into a 20 year old kid on the snowboard who went through six concussions. He did not take the time to heal. He was as confused as an eighty year old with Alzheimers can be. Therefore your health is the most important treasure you are navigating currently. You are not lazy or complacent. Concussions do take months to heal. I wish you patience. Try hiking -at least it will get you outside!!

Gruss B