It’s been exactly 2 weeks since I was released from the hospital, so I thought I would give a little update about some of the common questions I am getting from the overwhelming outpour of love, support, gifts and compassion I have received from my amazing community.
I was released with CPK levels that were still high (7000mcg/l – normal being below 200mcg/l) but the doctor and I were sure that as long as I was on it with hydration, rest and avoiding any physical activity, I was on track to recovery.
Turns out, physical activity can be defined with reeeeeaaaalllll simple things.
Trying to stand up all the way, sneezing, walking on a slight incline, carrying groceries, stepping up stairs, moving laundry from the washer to the dryer and, most painfully, curling up from a lying position or trying to lie back down again.
The first week pretty much involved me never getting out of my robe, barely stepping outside, fading in and out of sleep and pain episodes, and drinking broth and water like it was on IV.
HOW ARE YOU FEELING?
Honestly, I am finally starting to feel like it’s getting better each day, but even still, I feel like I was hit by a truck. Raw, tender to touch. Any weird movement–especially rotation–triggers a cramp that pulls from the bottom of the ribs to the inside of my groin.
The only position that feels good is child’s pose, fetal position and, whattayaknow, a deep squat.
My midsection feels simultaneously dead and like it’s going haywire. I can’t engage my core whatsoever (it honestly feels like I’ll never be able to find them again!) and if I make a sudden movement, electrical sparks of pain shoot across my abdominal wall.
The sensations feel similar to bad menstrual cramps all day long, from ribs to hips and all the way around, with some flare ups worse than others. Pain that you know goes deeper than muscular discomfort but the dull roar of deep nervous system pain. I’ve had episodes of nausea, fever and swelling, and it’s incredibly difficult to eat and digest food–especially protein! Everything I try to eat feels like it gets stuck in my throat and burns its way down. I’ll notice swelling and cramps after meals so I am primarily sticking to broth, vegetable noodle soup, oatmeal, bread, tortillas, and carbs carbs carbs. (I know, I’m on most people’s dream diet)
WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
This goes against everything I’ve ever known, but the bare minimum right now. Walking around the block, trailing up an Echo Park hill…even reaching my arms over my head reminds me that I am at Square One.
Luckily, Everyone around me is literally forcing me to take a break and telling me to take as much time as I needed. Of course, this comes with its own emotional rollercoaster of guilt for seeing everyone I love have to pick up and work harder to make up for my slack. It seems unfair that they have to spread themselves thinner so I can put myself back together.
So I am really trying to make this matter.
As a Type A, analytical problem solver, I’d previously ask myself, Okay…What can I DO?!
Stretch this, strengthen that, find the root, identify triggers, remove obstacles/adhesions, bla bla bla
Don’t get me wrong, finding actionable tools are imperative in creating longlasting lifestyle changes, but I am starting to realize that
SOMETIMES DOING NOTHING IS JUST THE THING TO DO.
I hate to sound dramatic here, but my body is traumatized–a shielded up defense–and that wall isn’t coming down unless I can earn my bodies trust again.
Your bodies internal “off switch” lives in the parasympathetic nervous system, the “yin” branch of the Autonomic Nervous System which regulates all bodily actions that happen without conscious thought.
When the PSNS kicks into high gears, it is responsible for the bodies ability to preserve energy, slow down the heart rate, turn on digestion and waste removal processes, and even create sexual arousal. Its counterpart is the Sympathetic Nervous System. This “fight or flight” response kicks in when your body senses danger or stress. Your heart rate elevates, your blood pressure rises, your pupils dilate so you can see clearly and make fast decisions.
But the kicker is that your body can’t multitask.
It’s impossible for the parasympathetic nervous system to turn on its healing powers when your body continually senses danger.
Instead of poking the bear in an attempt to “hurry up” the process, I am just trying to get out of my own way. Sit back (carefully of course) and help create a peaceful environment for my body to let its guard down and do its thing.
WHEN WILL YOU START TRAINING AGAIN?
Not sure. Like I alluded, I have this movement PTSD where I am super afraid to do too much. But I can tell you that I will definitely wait to train until simple things like laughing, sneezing, and sitting myself up are no longer daunting and painful tasks.
Once you get Rhabdomyolysis once, you are way more susceptible to getting it again. One of my super badass coach friends got it THREE TIMES over the course of 2 years. There’s no telling how long it will take for my abs to heal, but I can tell you that I definitely can’t return back to Emylee-Full-Throttle.
So after a week of nothing in the hospital and another week of nothing at home, I have slowly started to introduce what Return-To-Play looks like for me.
But first, I had to run an Audit of my Lifestyle.
What got me here? And now that I’m at Square One and can begin again, what daily choices can I make to make sure I never end up here again?
It can’t just be something I recover from, move on and get right back to burning the candle at both ends…I feel this weird pull to make an example of myself.
It is an opportunity and invitation to figure out what “health” looks, feels and performs like on a day to day basis.
How can I match my hustle with enough self care?
How can I honor my limits while still pushing to be better?
And then how can I pay it forward so we can all have a chance to perform, function and feel our true best?
When life gives you Rhabdo, make Rhabdonade…
SO LET’S START WITH MY MORNING RITUAL.
The only real treatment I received in the hospital was FLUIDS. Everyone knows the importance of water, but it was powerful to realize that the only thing separating me from recovery and dialysis was how many fluids I could pump through my system.
So I’ve traded in my morning 4 cups of coffee for a morning 12 oz bottle of lemon water that sits on my bedside table, ready for me to drink as soon I open my eyes. I continue to drink a bottle of water every hour I am awake, totaling up to a gallon of water a day.
I take Turmeric, SAM-e and Green Vibrance, a superfoods blend of greens, sprouts, probiotics, veggies, antioxidants and micronutrition that doesn’t taste great, but ensures that since I am not eating a lot, I am still getting the nutrients I need.
I’m trying to start my day with checking in with myself before I check in with work, news or anything else. So every morning, I carve out 5 extra minutes to either write morning pages or sit with myself in meditation so I can get in tune with where my body is at at each moment.
We often shortchange our needs and hide behind being “busy” but ultimately, when your life literally depends on it, you figure out a way to clear your schedule, lighten your load, and prioritize what matters.
What are some of your morning rituals that help you stay connected to yourself and motivated to set a positive intention for the day?