Coming to terms with chronic pain was the hardest part of this for me. Realizing that there are things that I simply cannot do anymore was plain devastating, but now that I have gotten past that, I can learn how to live my life to the fullest.
I have been very athletic my whole life, I’ve done soccer, gymnastics, softball, tae kwon do, volleyball, track, and even dabbled in basketball. Even after doing all these sports I never truly fell in love with any of them, until I tried figure skating. I immediately fell in love with the sport and within a year I was competing! My love for this sport has only grown; I always feel so powerful, as I fly across the ice I believe I can do anything I set my mind to. When doctors have told me to take time off from my sport I was heartbroken, but I knew I would be coming back.
I have been fighting taking time off of skating for months now. I have taken a few days off here and there when my pain gets really bad but I realized I need to place my health as my top priority. It has taken 4 months for reality to really sink in with me, that I have limitations, and that I can’t do everything I used to. With that, I have decided to take time off of skating again. This is a different kind of break though, there is no specific timeline for when this break will end and the length of my time off depends solely on my health.
There was a fear that if I decided to take a break from skating again my friends and coaches at the rink would judge me. I have had to take breaks from skating in the past, but they were different. Either a doctor was telling me I had to take time off or at least there was a set timeline of how long I would be out and a guarantee that I would be going back. Nothing has shown up on any of my scans to say that I am in pain so I have been allowed to keep skating, whether I skated or not depended exclusively on how much pain I wanted to put up with.
I have always had a very high pain tolerance so when I was told I got to decide how much pain I wanted to push through I was ecstatic, I was sure I’d be able to skate to my heart’s desire and keep up with my life. But living with constant pain is tiring, and I have learned that I am not invincible. Even with these down days I push through and find the positive in my life. I know I can’t do everything, but there is still so much I can do.
I have faith that I will find out what is going on within my body and I will be able to get my life back to “normal”. I have faith that I will be able to get back to skating, even if it’s not competitively. Most importantly I have faith that I will get through this. I am so strong and to anyone else managing chronic pain, you are too! We are all on our own paths and wherever you are in yours I am so proud of you! Share how chronic pain has impacted your life in the comments below.