How April’s medical prognosis is helping her have more fun in life.
A couple of weeks ago, I hopped to my feet to go somewhere and found myself awkward in my movements: my legs were heavy and felt like jello, I couldn’t feel them and I had a hard time getting them to move. So, I just stood there, when suddenly I became extremely dizzy and started to see spots as if I were going to pass out.
That was the first sign that something was wrong.
I’m a fearful person; I don’t play around with injuries or put my health at risk. After all, that IS the reason I got into fitness and eventually powerlifting. Fast forward to a week later. It happened again and then two days later….the worst dizzy spell yet and ten times as intense. Only this time it was an all day event and happened almost every time I got up. See, sometimes you jump up too fast and become dizzy–but that’s not what this was; I could tell that this was serious. The last instance before I decided I needed help was Monday night: all day it had been happening and I had to leave work. Eventually, that night, I decided something was bad and I was going to Urgent Care. I assumed I had a pinched nerve until I got out to my car–and my vision began to fade until all I could see was a blur of tunnel vision. Five minutes later I was back in my apartment on the floor screaming and crying at the fact that all I could see were flashes across my entire field of view–which appeared like lightning.
After about 20 minutes the flashes subsided, but it was the worst experience of my life. After the flashes came an INSANE headache for the next hour. Stephen took me to Urgent Care where eventually my symptoms faded into what seemed like a dream, but the doctor basically said there was nothing he could do for me and to go to the ER because Urgent Care didn’t have the resources to identify an issue like I might be having. Since my symptoms had alleviated I decided to wait. I spent the night in bed researching my symptoms, but I could only find the vision problem which appears to have come from an “Ocular Migraine” which I have never experienced. I never even get migraines. So this was new to me and extremely frightening because I’ve never heard of it before and of course I decided that I was going blind right then and there, all by myself, crying on the floor like a big baby. See, I’m not so tough–just perfectly human. Unfortunately, I still don’t know what the other issues are that I’m having, and am still awaiting answers.
What Do I Do in the Meantime?
I was advised to step away from my upcoming meet or any lifting at all because I could lose control of my legs or pass out and well, that would be really funny for a second, but it wouldn’t be a very good thing. It’s really hard for me to step away from competing; especially after all of the training I’ve put in, and I love competing. However, it’s smarter not to compete at this time.
To Push or Not to Push…
I would like to say that a lot of athletes believe the “hard core” bullshit and compete through injuries, train through issues, and they keep “pushing” no matter what the consequences. Ok, that’s great…however, I began training to improve my quality and quantity of life. Not to be stupid, hurt myself, and then suffer debilitating consequences forever. Sure, injuries happen, however…you gotta know when to STOP. Sometimes our hobbies can become monsters that take over our lives: they become number one on the priority list. Then, they aren’t hobbies anymore, they are children that we must feed.
Currently, I’m beginning to see that I’m feeding this kid too much. All of my time, my money, and my energy goes into what should be a hobby. Instead of growing in all areas of life, I’m just ….a lifter. I have barely roamed around Orlando since moving here, and have hardly done anything fun or different or new. I skip homework and make mediocre grades this semester, and I find that I have NOTHING to talk about but powerlifting. There’s nothing wrong with that, and you do what you want. But I want more. I like variety, I like to be a jack of many trades, and no, I don’t care to be a master of any one. I’d rather experience it all than to master just one thing. Realizing this helps me to be ok with not competing this weekend too. I’ve had people say to me before, “Oh what are you going to do? Are you going to do crossfit now?” So what if I did? All of these athletes have to act like they are limited to one sport, and I don’t believe that. I think an athlete, a true athlete supports all athletics and can enjoy or encourage others in other sports. I HATE that if I want to bodybuild, crossfit, do yoga, fucking be a competition jump-roper or what the hell ever, that I have to hear somebody talk shit. Well, when I can play golf, tennis, jazz dance, fucking hula hoop, yoga the fuck outta myself and play the damn banjo and all you can do is lift weights…I’ll be a lot more awesome.
Yes, I just said that.
We spend so much money just GOING to the gym that we never have much left to do fun stuff together. Going to the gym is all we know. And it’s cliché, but its true: there must be a balance…and well, mine is not in balance at all. I love powerlifting, and I have every intention to continue to do it. However, it’s gonna start taking a backseat to the important things that have been lacking attention for quite some time. Of course there will be people who will say “Oh she just didn’t have what it takes,” but yes, I very much do have what it takes. My life, however, outside of the gym is more important than my life inside of it. I don’t want to be that person who misses out on the fun in life because “I gotta go to the gym.” The gym isn’t going anywhere.
This isn’t a career. This is just a hobby.
Do you find yourself letting your hobbies control your life? How do you find balance in your life? Let us know in the comments section below!
April is still waiting to find out her diagnosis. We at Strong Figure all wish her well, a full and speedy recovery, and lots of hobbies to kick ass at while she gets better.
Thank you for sharing this story! Perspective is so important. Best of luck to April as she recovers and discovers what other things she loves in life.
We all seem to be finding ourselves in similar situations lately. Good for you for taking the time to realize it! My October Challenge that I started on my athlete page was dubbed, A Month of Discovery and Exploration- take on new challenges, find a new hobby, get outside and explore nature. Keep on keepin’ on, April!
I love your article! What an inspiration to the position I am currently in.
I am a runner. I recently have had to stop running due to a persistent back injury. I had to tell my marathon relay team to find another runner. I had to work through the fact that this doesn’t make me a failure, a loser or a let down to my running partner. It is an injury. I could keep running but at what cost? My health and quality of life is far more important than my next run. I am a runner – but running doesn’t define me. I am also a wife, a mother and a friend. My life is more diverse than just running and I want to keep it that way……balanced. So I have chosen not to dwell on the downside of not being able to run for a while but to dwell on the upside of I have my health, my family and a blessed life.
Stephanie Wimer says
I totally sympathize with you Kenda! I have been battling shoulder issues for years and every time I think they’re better, I do something and then end up hurt again. I just found out that I have a tear in my left shoulder and won’t be able to do certain exercises any longer. Honestly, while most people would probably be really upset, I just feel relieved that I know what’s wrong wtih me and I know what I can and can’t do. I’m fine with doing different exercises and I’m definitely fine with working more on my flexibility rather than tearing myself up further. Sometimes injuries can be a blessing in disguise…it points out all the other things in life that we can be working on!!
I love your perspective! You are so right!