I have done a complete 180 since my last blog post. I have experienced a whirlwind of emotions – shock, grief, sadness, anger, fear, relief and happiness, just to name a few.
When I was faced with the possibility of never being able to lift again, I was destroyed. Trying to explain this emotion to people who don’t lift or even exercise was frustrating to say the least. Most tried to comfort me with some version of ‘you are alive and that is the important thing’.
Although that is true, lifting is my passion. My life. It’s what gets me up in the morning and fills me with happiness. My quality of life is a million times better since I became a personal trainer. I live and breathe fitness and it never once feels like work to me. Every time a client tells me I’ve changed their life, it leaves me beaming for days.
Giving up lifting would not just mean the end of my personal fitness journey, but the end of my professional career as well. I have so many dreams I have yet to achieve and I was devastated at the thought of never being able to fulfil them. As dramatic as it sounds, I did not see the point in being alive if I could not continue to live my passion.
After I posted on Monday, Rob and I talked about what I was going to do. I had two options: go blind in my left eye but still be able to lift weights and not have to live my life in constant fear of suffering blows to the head, or have the surgery and risk becoming incredibly depressed having lost my passion, job and livelihood.
I know the idea of purposely going blind so that I could continue to lift weights sounds crazy. Keep in mind that my vision is already at -7.5 (-10 is legally blind, most people are a 3 and anything over 5 is considered ‘severe’) and the retinal detachment surgery will cause my vision to drop 1-2 more notches. I’m already pretty blind here!
After our conversation, Rob stayed up until 3am researching my surgery and what it means for fitness (his efforts over the past week have left me feeling incredibly lucky!). He was hurting just as much as I was, and he refused to accept that my dreams were over because the doctors said so.
One of my PT clients is a very high-ranked surgeon in the UK. He came to visit me twice in hospital and has checked up on me every day since I’ve been out. I expressed my concerns to him about lifting and he set off calling every eye expert in the UK, coming back to me with some very good news.
I will be able to lift weights again. I will initially be banned from all exercise for one month. After that time, I will be able to lift weights up to 20lbs (I may have to take up the Tracy Anderson method – kidding, I’m not that desperate!) until my retina has re-attached itself. The only problem is the time frame is hugely variable from person to person. It could take two months, or it could take a year. But this is a much better prospect than the idea of never lifting again!!
I am a strong-willed person and I will never take no for an answer, or accept that something is impossible. The doctors have already told me that it was a miracle my body wasn’t hurt more than it was – they credit my strong frame for protecting my fall. The nurses kept asking me to squeeze their hands as hard as I could and they all told me I was going to break their hands – I don’t think I need to worry about my grip strength 😉 I know I will lift weights again and eventually be stronger than ever before.
Of course, I still have fears and concerns. I have spent the past two years purely devoted to building muscle, and I have successfully gained 8kg and completely changed my body shape. The idea of not training for months and losing all my gains scares the hell out of me. I’m doing what I can to preserve my muscle (eating a calorie surplus, getting in lots of protein, doing lots of butt clenches – ha!) but I know my strength and muscle will inevitably suffer. Oh well – if I have to bulk up for another year or two that won’t be the end of the world!
I am going in for surgery on Monday afternoon, and I will be confined to bed rest for two weeks afterwards. I am not allowed to go on the computer, watch TV or even read so you will have to wait a while for an update, although I will sneak something up on Facebook.
I just want to thank everyone again for sending me their good thoughts and prayers. A large part of the reason I am so positive today is because you all believe in me. You sure know how to make a girl feel special and lift me up when I couldn’t be lower. I can’t wait to be be writing regular posts again!