Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Challenge the Can'ts

Oh my gosh. I just did something I thought I would *never* do again. No, not eat 90 Tastycakes in one day. I walked over two miles this morning without collapsing!

The last time I walked that far was around ten (or more) years ago. I weighed in the 160's and I used to walk 3 or 4 miles every day for exercise. I'd walk to this park almost every day. It was a beautiful place to walk... nice people, beautiful scenery, cool breeze. I'd push kids in a stroller or have them ride bikes beside me to get there and let them play on the playground before walking back. Suddenly one day when I was walking, my knee started to click. Then it became an indescribable pain. Ever since then, I've had daily pain in that knee, and later when I developed severe degenerative arthritis, the pain was in both knees, daily.

The doctor back then told me I had a torn meniscus. I'd need surgery. I'd have to be on crutches for at least 6 weeks. Well, with 4 very small children (all under 6) that was not going to happen. And with no insurance, it was even less likely. So I just dealt with it, and figured I'd get it fixed someday.

Later, the orthopedic surgeon said I'd need total knee replacements. With the bone-on-bone grinding and crackling I hear on a daily basis, I also have bone spurs in both knees. Painful. He told me to limit my activity to recumbent biking, limited walking, and swimming. And in all these years the farthest I've been able to go is just under 2 miles. And I have not gone more than a mile in about a year now.

This morning, I woke up and thought, "It's nice and cool out right now. I should go for a walk before it gets intolerably hot." I thought, "Hey, wouldn't it be nice to load up the stroller and drive to that NICE park and walk there?" But then the I Can'ts started:

I can't go NOW, we haven't had breakfast yet.
I can't go because the nice stroller still has a flat tire.
I can't because I am still in my pajamas. I'd rather not...
I can't drag my child away from her favorite PBS show.
I can't because I hate putting on sunscreen.

I decided to just START getting ready to go and see what happens. I got up and got dressed. I had a protein shake. I got my sunscreen on. The I Can'ts continued:

I can't because my child is still engrossed in her show and hasn't eaten.
I can't because I don't feel like loading into the car and driving anywhere.

This is when an idea hit me. "Hey! I could WALK to that park! I haven't done it in over a decade. I wonder if I can do it?"

I can't, I'll end up in the hospital.
I can't, that's just crazy to attempt that!

I got my daughter ready. I got the junky stroller out. I told myself I would walk as far as was comfortable and if I had to I'd turn around and head home. I got her into the stroller.

I can't, oh my gosh it is SO HOT already!! I am gonna DIE.

We walked halfway down the block.

Oh my gosh, I can't do this.

Then I realized she HADN'T eaten, just had juice. I didn't bring a water bottle. UGH!

I turned around, went home, thinking, "This is nuts, it's so hot. I just can't."

I went in the house, grabbed a breakfast bar for her and a big bottle of water, and headed out again.

At 10:10am we started down the block. For about 2 blocks I was thinking, I can't!! This is nuts! But I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I focused on the nice, light breeze that was keeping me from getting too hot. I swigged water. I talked to my daughter about the flowers and trees we saw along the way. And at 10:40, we arrived at the park! I sat down and watched her play. She had a great time with the other children she met on the playground. I sat there thinking, "Wow! I can't believe I did it!" I smiled. The walk home didn't seem terribly daunting.

Except that by the time we left it was 11:40 and HOT and sunny and there was really not much shade on the walk home. It was a lot more uphill than the walk there, too. But I kept walking. I swigged more water. We looked at plants. I told my daughter about the time ten years ago when I was walking home from that park and a big fluffy orange cat ran out of someone's yard, pounced on my leg and attached itself by its teeth and claws to my ankle. I walked on the other side of the street as we passed, just in case that insane cat or its insane progeny still lived there. I poured water on my arms to cool down. And when we got home, I felt SO PROUD! It was 77 degrees but felt like 100 in the sun. I came in, made myself 2 eggs with spinach and wheat toast and iced green tea. And I sat down here to share it with you! (Here. Have a bite of egg.)

I am SO excited that I did this! I never, ever would have attempted this if I had not decided to start questioning all my Can'ts. I am so proud of myself! I plan to do this again another day, when it is COOLER... as long as I am not hobbling in extreme pain by this evening. Here's to hoping!

Challenge all your Can'ts! Who knows where it might take you :)


Anonymous said...

Yay! Good job! The power of just starting can be incredible. I am proud of you.
Enjoy reading your blog. Your post yesterday on the attitudes we absorb from our parents was very insightful. Especially liked the thoughts on the 'all-or-nothing' mentality.

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

Wonderful job! Isn't it the best feeling to do things you didn't think you could?

I still remember the first time I rode a bike after losing some of my weight. I felt free as a bird.

Jodie said...

Congratulations!! Be sure to rest some and drink a lot of water and maybe take an ibuprofen or something to help you from being in a lot of pain!

Jodie -

elife said...

Yay! This is such a fantastic accomplishment!!

Friend of the Bear said...

Hi Lyn. Great work getting that walk done! And I'm sure your child enjoyed it too.

Really sorry to hear about you not having the operations you need. I can't understand why Americans are so against having a system where everyone can get treatment. I can only think that there's a huge amount of money being made by some people in the current system and they don't want to lose that.

In Britain the initial surgery would have been done in days (as an emergency). Yes you would have to wait some months for knee replacements but at least it would get done.

I hope Obama will sort a new system out and that you will get the surgery you need.

In the meantime, great work that you're doing what you can do to the best of your ability. You should be really proud.

Best wishes,
Bearfriend xx

F. McButter Pants said...

I felt over the moon happy after my 1st long walk. Now I try to walk at least 3 miles a day. I love it!

Here's to cooler weather and more walks!

spunkysuzi said...

Way to go!! That's a fantastic walk :)

Hanlie said...

Woohoo! While "Can't" is still busy coming up with excuses, you're already doing it! Good for you!

Anonymous said...

Lynn...I've been reading for awhile now but never commented. I have to commend you for being one of the most honest bloggers I've ever met. I don't know that everyone can understand the thoughts that can go through an overweight woman's mind over something as simple as a walk to the park. You're self-conversation was amazingly honest. I know you put yourself out for so much judgement and I commend you. Your words touch so many people.

Taryl said...

That's a momentous achievement, Lyn!

Hope said...

Way to go! Don't EVER let those "can't's" get in the way. They are ALL lies. You CAN.

Super proud of you.


Katherine Nabity said...

This is a great post. Thank you!

As the saying goes, "If it were easy, everybody would be doing it." Well, CAN'T is easy. Not everyone decides to DO instead. Keep it up and I'll remember this the next time I start CAN'T-ing.

(I'm a first-time commenter too, but have been reading for a while.)

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

Way to can the can'ts. No room for them on the bus!

Keep up the great work.

Becca55 said...

That is awesome and so good for both you and your daughter. I hope that things go well and you do get to do this more often. Hope the pain decides to stay away this time :)

Irene said...

You are AMAZING!!! Even with your knees the way that they are that you got out there not for one mile but OVER TWO..good for you and moist important...YOU DID IT!!! and you didnt die and you proved to yourself that you can...and you won the "I can't" battle with yourself...which is a task all on its own...GOOD JOB!!

Shelley said...

Great job, Lyn!!! Sometimes it is just putting one foot in front of the other - and before you know it, you've walked 2 miles! Congratulations!!!

Tiffany said...

Good for you. Overcoming the "can'ts" is an ongoing battle...but you won today! Just gotta take 'em on one at a time.

screwdestiny said...

That's awesome, Lyn! Screw the can'ts--they don't control you!

Human in Progress said...

You CAN, and most importantly, you DID! Way to go!

We are capable of much more than we typically allow ourselves to imagine.
Hope you are still feeling great this evening!

Ananda said...

Well done my dear. Now, the trick is to hold on to what you're feeling now so you can tap into it the next time you're besieged with the 'can'ts'. Congratulations.

South Beach Steve said...

Congratulations on beating the can'ts today! I am really proud of you - two miles is just plain great!

rmslil said...

you go girl!

Tammy said...

Good for you girlfriend!!!! Way to beat back those "I Can't's", with "I CAN'S!!!!!". I'm very, very proud of what you accomplished today, and I'm glad you're excited about doing it again. :)

Leslie said...

Awesome! I loved you just GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS getting ready for the walk and doing it, all while the chorus of "I can'ts" was being cranked out by your head.

I keep telling myself I don't have to believe every thought that comes into my head. So much of that material is the habitual detritus of our old patterns. You are breaking through and finding freedom.

moonduster said...

Lyn1 This post really made me smile! :)

I suffered from the "I can't"s as well. I also suffered severe pain whenever I walked the shortest distances. It was caused by plantar fasciitis, but as my weight came down, it went away. I can do so much more now than I was able to do before.

I know that your arthritis won't go away but the effects of it will lessen some as your weight comes off too.

I'm so happy you went for that walk!

Anonymous said...

This is excellent! I love how you just ignored your excuses and got yourself ready and just did it.

jane said...

good job!

it's what you said.. just started doing something without thinking so much! i'll try it too..

also, the cat story: HILARIOUS!! (well not that it attacked you, but the way you said it and crossing the street.. hehe)

Ali said...

I have been reading your blog for a while now and thought I would post today. I really like your insight into things. Good for you for walking two miles!

I needed to read this today because I have bad knee problems. I have been in physical therapy for five months now and have been seeing little improvement. I had an MRI, and it looks like I have arthritis in both knees (yikes I am only 38!). I see my sports med doctor on Tuesday.

I am supremely frustrated with the whole thing. I have 45 more pounds to lose (I have lost about 35). This post gives me hope that others struggle with knee aches and pains and find a way to exercise. (And yes I also read Lynn Haraldson-Bering's blog so I know all about her struggles as well).

Please keep the great posts coming!

antgirl said...

You go! Sometimes the hardest thing is to find the "I cans". Great victory.

aerorunnergirl said...

Excellent post! I like to think of it this way: I'm not allowed to say I "can't" until I've tried -hard- and proven that I actually "can't" do it. Until that point, I have to simply say "I won't."

Good for you for proving yourself wrong!

wyndymoon said...

Good for you Lynn! Going for nature walks is my best way of getting a long walk in. Walking on the trails looking at the beautiful forest and chipmunks, birds, ect. Next thing I know I have gone for miles and it seems like nothing.

Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

This whole post brings to mind the Shel Silverstein quote -
"“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

Alice said...

Well done! You should feel so proud of yourself. This post has put me in a good mood, thank-you.

100togo said...

This has inspired me so much. I, too, have started challenging my "cant's" and it is shocking to me how many I've been using. For example, I have been saying that I can't walk because I don't live in town. But I can walk on my country road route .... and I am. This is very empowering: to challenge the can'ts!

Goood for you!