I’m Going to Tell You About the Time I Almost…Quit

Borrowing lines from Denzel Washington films is a new low, or high depending on your perspective. The actual line is, “I am going to tell you about the time I almost died.” In the movie Fallen, the demon Azazel cheats death by finding salvation in the form of a cat as he plays Washington’s character in a high stakes game of chicken. Sorry for the spoiler on this one. If you haven’t seen it, it is a highly underrated horror film. I recommend it.

But I digress…

I have been walking quite a bit as July gets underway. I can't wait to start running again.
I have been walking quite a bit as July gets underway. I can’t wait to start running again.

I turned 46 six days ago. I’ve had my moments since starting this fitness and weight loss journey two and a half years ago when I thought I would give up. Each time it seems like the urge to quit grows stronger. I am two months removed from back surgery and I grow increasingly frustrated with my recovery by the day.

After undertaking physical therapy for lumbar spasms in February, and consulting my surgeon, I decided to take what I learned from the physical therapists five months ago and just do rehabilitation on my own. After a couple of weeks of body weight only exercise I started lifting weights again within the past week. I am trying to listen to my body and I took a day off after a couple days straight. I am trying to walk at least three miles every day.

So, between stretching, core strengthening, weight lifting and walking, plus recreational swimming, I have been very active and I am getting plenty of exercise. I even got one of those monitor stands at the office so I can work standing up. I have upped my protein intake. I am not quite back to my pre-injury protein levels but I should manage to get back on track this week. My birthday weekend and the 4th of July holiday weekend threw me off track a bit with my eating. I still have 24 days until I can run again. I am sure I will have to start of with Couch to 5K to get back into it.

That should catch you up.

This is how I am going to end up taking my pills.
This is how I am going to end up taking my pills.

I sure don’t sound like a defeatist, do I? Well, don’t let my chipper demeanor fool you. I can’t get through the night without a prescription painkiller. I take Naproxen or Ibuprofen during the day more often than not. And frankly, I am sick on taking pills. I have been on everything from Hydrocodone to Prednisone and I am sick and tired of popping pills like so many Tic Tacs.

My hip aches. My lumbar muscles are sore. My surgery area burns and stretches when I bend over. I am sick and tired of all of it.

Am I better off after surgery? Did surgery fix what’s wrong with me? Why do I feel like I wasn’t told everything about recovery time and rehab time? How much time is this supposed to take? Am I doing the right things? Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? Why won’t my body just heal?

I feel like I still have more questions than answers. I have wasted six months dealing with back injuries. I have goals. I have things I want to do. I want to run a 5K in September, I want to develop my physique, and I want to run a 10K at some point.

You may ask what is stopping me from doing all of these things. Nothing really, nothing except excuses. I just turned 46. For some reason I have this internal clock that is telling me that I am running out of time. The busiest stretch of my work year is coming up. Six- to seven-day workweeks, travel, 14-hour days…August to January running and working out will be sacrificed when conflicts with my profession arise. That’s not a complaint, that’s just my reality. I love what I do for a living.

So, what’s my point? I have been feeling sorry for myself lately. I get many compliments from people who admire my dedication and stick-to-itiveness. Quitting is not an option. I hope pain-free is an option in my near future.

I am just angry and frustrated. I don’t know what to do except what I always do…power through.

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know I like movie and TV references. I looked to Fallen only for a title for this entry, but the more I think about it, there are many things I can take away from that film that apply to me. Perseverance, albeit from a demon, John Hobbes tries to defeat the demon with poisoned cigarettes (I smoked a pack a day for 18 years), and perhaps the most important takeaway – the Rolling Stones songs that underscore the film – Time is On My Side and Sympathy for the Devil. Time really is on my side and I will get no sympathy.

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