For about seven months I have been living with varying degrees of near-constant pain in my ass. And not the figurative my husband and kids are driving me nuts kind of pain in my ass, I mean literal honest to goodness I can’t sit I can’t stand I can’t think straight pain. In my ass.
If you’ve been reading here a while then you know that butt problems are kind of a fact of life for me. The beauty of pregnancy and childbirth has resulted not only in two amazing children, but also a whole group of visitors back there who make themselves known every now and again, usually leading up to some important trip or race or vacation or even just a long weekend where I am secretly in agony but can’t really share much about it because believe it or not, in real life there ARE topics that even I don’t bring up in most social situations. And having those issues treated here in this small town means that very often I’m lying on the examining table having my buttcheek lifted by somebody who will later turn up in a Zumba class, or answering two hundred and fifty seven questions about my poop that are being asked by someone I have partied with at an Ugly Prom. For real.
So, the bottom line is this: I had symptoms return, snowball, and eventually take over my life, make me frustrated, weepy and bleak. Even though I was going to work and taking care of my kids and getting them through basketball and play rehearsal and the end of school, even though I was walking the dogs and getting the laundry done and doing all of the things that I normally do, underneath it all I was in pain. A lot of pain. And while I should have called the doctor, because I have had so many symptoms so many times, I did what many of us do when we have a recurring health issue, I pulled out the last bit of medicine that was prescribed the last time, and tried to handle things myself.
But it got worse.
And one day I was crying and Googling and I found an article about butt problems, and in scanning the comments I realized that these? These were my people. Talking about the constant pain and the around the clock obsession with it, the fear of eating, the hours spent in the bathtub, the frustration with trying to make your spouse understand. And I realized that I wasn’t dealing with what I had dealt with before. Nope. The journey of my butt problems had progressed from THROMBOSED HEMMHOROID to FISSURE.
Yeah, I put that all in all caps.
A fissure is a tear in there where the poop comes out and basically if you eat, then you will eventually have to poop, and if you have to poop and you have a fissure then every time it passes through it basically scrapes across that tear and can make it worse, and your body wants to tense up because OH MY GOSH IT HURTS, and THAT can make it worse, and also once you have finally gotten through the actual going to the bathroom part, you also can experience this kind of spasm for hours afterward that is kind of like your whole colon flipping you a big giant bird for making it go through that whole painful pooping process in the first place, and it is just this never ending process of the before pain, the during pain, and the after pain. PLUS your bathroom ends up looking like a crime scene.
Can you see why people don’t talk about this?
Well. Once I realized that what was happening this time was different than what has happened in the past, I hightailed it to the doctor for yet another embarrassing appointment where I knew not one, but TWO of the nurses asking me questions about my poop and assisting with the examination. But whatever. By that point all I wanted was a cure. And that cure came in the form of a cream that helps increase the blood flow to the area (ummmm, REALLY? THAT’S how we cure this thing? MORE blood flow??) but I took it, and I also became the model patient in terms of hydration, fiber intake, and avoiding that which would make me constipated.
And it took a few tries and the better part of the summer, but finally after many long months and many sitz baths, I have healed. Thank you jesus. As confirmed by a colonoscopy, the fissure has mended and though there is a referral to the surgeon for a consult on the other guys, my colon is healthy and happier than it has been in a very long time.
Now, if you can believe it, that whole saga was just exposition. This post? Is about yoga. Because, while it was the medicine that healed my body, my spirit got pretty banged up through all of this. I mean, I know that there are many people that go through way worse, but for me, this was the worst physical pain I have ever felt in my life, and somehow that got compounded by the fact that it was all about my booty. I guess because it seemed kind of taboo to talk about it, or because it carried some kind of shame, or maybe because it was constant and it made it hard for me to want to do pretty much anything, it really just made me depressed.
But I couldn’t just curl up in a sitz bath ball and hide away from life like I wanted to. I had to work. I had to move. I had to be positive and motivating and encouraging and happy.
And then I’d come home and be exhausted and moody and sad.
It was hard to want to work out and eat right and do all the things I coach others to do. I cancelled on two races I had trained for. I was short with my family. I got into a pretty negative headspace. And even as my body slowly began to feel better, I just wasn’t myself.
Then one morning at the park as I was picking up after a training group, one of my clients mentioned doing yoga with her husband the day before. The words rolled around in my brain for an hour afterward.
It was like the sun coming out from behind the clouds.
By the end of the day I was a gym member once again.
In a few weeks, it will be the 8 year anniversary of moving to this town. I pouted for a good year once we got here; I didn’t want to pack up and leave my family and friends back home. It took a while to even want to open up and meet people, and once I did, it took a while to find the right people. One day something inside me steered my car into the parking lot of the Y, and in the packet of information I collected was a group fitness calendar. Even before I did Zumba or Spin or any of the classes that led to where I am today as a trainer, I practiced yoga, first in college, later in a trendy Hot Yoga studio near my hometown, and then at this little family YMCA. Several years ago, attending these classes helped redefine my outlook. I could love it for being a fantastic workout, for the flexibility and endorphins, and because my practice was my own. I could make it as challenging or as gentle as I needed on any given day. It felt good.
Yoga gave me my smile back.
So I went back to that gym to get signed up again, and to grab a new calendar. There were some butterflies walking back in, after having worked there for a while, and then leaving to open Trio. But they flew away quickly. Within minutes I was greeted with a warm hug from a former coworker, and as we talked, several others came by to say hello and to catch up. Before I knew it, a half an hour had passed, full of laughs and talking with the folks who trained me long before I got up in front of a class myself. As we chatted, I shared a little bit about why I was back; that I had gone through some heath things that had basically stolen my personal motivation, and that if I was going to keep working both for myself AND for my clients, I needed to get my happy back.
There wasn’t one person in the group who didn’t understand that in some way. It felt good to have that connection with others who do what I do, who could relate to feeling discouraged to do for themselves what they were paid to do for others.
Since that first day, I’ve gone in several times for class or to work out, and I am usually asked by someone if I’m going to teach Zumba again, or if the Y will let me bring BodyFlow or RIPPED or KNOCKOUT. While I appreciate the sentiment, my answer is always the same: my purpose for being back here is my own. I want to take some time to be the member, to be taught and trained, and to do things that will replenish the excitement and passion that became so depleted over the last few months.
It’s been a good thing, reconnecting. While there may be those who might not love that I’m working out there again, it’s okay. Everyone can choose their own experience, and mine has been wonderful. It has given me a lot of joy to catch up with people I used to see every day, to be invited to various classes, and to sweat and swear and try not to die alongside of folks who are happy to share their enthusiasm with me. We can let our personal challenges stifle us, or we can evolve, the choice is ours. I choose transformation.
At Trio, I would occasionally end a fitcamp session with a class called Train the Trainer; basically the clients would lead, and I’d be the one to DO it all. They enjoyed seeing me get my butt kicked, and I’d enjoy just getting to be the student again.
I am enjoying being the student again.