What a PAIN in the A$$

When I was pregnant, 7 years ago, like many women my body changed in a lot of ways: my feet grew, my nose grew, EVERYTHING hurt, I became a tiger with beautiful stripes (haha) and I also was introduce to Sciatica. Sciatica is where you have inflammation of the sciatic nerve and usually have pain running down one or both of your legs.

Over the past 7 years I’ve had my run in with flare ups. Some were mild with 4 or 5 out of 10 pain running down my leg while others were terrible with 10 out of 10 debilitating pain. I can remember a few times walking around like a hunch over 100 year old or once being carried into Urgent Care by a guy I was dating and another time crawling around the house because I couldn’t walk.

All the while, I accepted it as something I had to live with due to having been pregnant, having degenerative disc disease and being an athlete.

Well, that all changed November 2017. I’m not sure if the car accident I was in caused the beginning of this journey, but it all started around that time. It began like any other flare up with the pain shooting down my leg into my calf. This time, however, my typical treatments didn’t work. I started trying new things to remedy the situation but to no avail.

I started Year of Fear thinking by the time I got around to the physical goals in the summer I’d be fine. Then the Universe laughed! It started with medical issues in January and then a new job and then life… all the while I was pressing forward assuming the issue would soon resolve. Fast forward to May when I had my first Power-lifting meet. If you read that post I mentioned I was in serious pain before dead-lifts but that goal had been carrying me through the pain. After that meet my coach and I sat down to review my goals and objectives for the summer and number one on the list was to resolve my sciatica.

Maybe my general pain tolerance waned after the meet or maybe it was my mental strength, either way I couldn’t tolerate the chronic pain any more. I made an appointment with my Orthopedist (of over 10 years) and scheduled an MRI. Low and behold we found the problem: I had a herniated disc (that looks like a penis) pouring out into my spinal canal and pressing on the nerve.

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My MRI – showing the herniation between L5 and S1

I was relieved in some ways to know what the problem was but also concerned that I wouldn’t be able to continue my training. I started down the path of minimally invasive therapies such as yoga, chiropractic therapy, massages etc… None of those worked so I signed up to receive an epidural steroid injection. Again, no luck. I continued forward hoping something would work because surgery was my ABSOLUTE last option! I kept pushing and hoping that something out of all the crazy things I was doing and buying would relieve the pain.

Braydon started first grade on Aug 2nd and as I slowly limped through Open House I was brought to tears from the sheer pain of moving. Of course, my mom was my first call and on the other end she assured me she would come to Georgia ASAP to help with Braydon but she urged me to get surgery.

I felt completely defeated. I couldn’t play with my son, workout how I wanted, achieve any of the Year of Fear goals or function in a normal way (walk, lay, sit, stand etc…). I was just a shell of a body going through motions to ensure a pay check and nothing else.

I talked with my doctor and urged him to give me a solution: stem cell treatment, a witch doctor, voodoo, shoot I’d even stand on my head and sing Yankee doodle if it would work, but please, not surgery!! But, there was nothing left to do.

After 9 months of severe chronic pain and trying everything under the sun I’m finally going to have surgery to remove the portion of the disc causing all the issues. I will be going into surgery next week with my mom, extended family and friends all supporting me in my decision and recovery process.

I’m appreciative of the experience I’ve gone through so far this year. Yes I didn’t get to achieve a lot of the goals I set but I did find my tribe along the way and have had amazing people supporting me at work, in random interactions, at school and in my day to day life.

So for all of you out there with chronic pain. I love you! You are a warrior! And you are not alone!!!

For anyone who prays (to whatever form of a higher power) please keep me in your thoughts this next week! I look forward to getting my life back and am hopeful that I’ll be able to come back stronger than ever!

Always with love,

Tracy

Goodbye Apartment

Time is all relative. A minute can seem like forever when you’re doing planks but like a flash of lightning when you’re with someone special.

It’s crazy to think I moved into my apartment four years ago with only my Dad and Mom helping me, oh and little Braydon too! I had all hand me down furniture from friends and family and a hodgepodge of random pretties I managed to string together to make “decor.”

Being honest, I lived in the apartment for four years because I feared the pain of moving. We all know the routine; you go on a crazy person dash looking at multiple places and try to remember all the differences. Then you cross your fingers that it’s still available when you apply. You get a bit of relief when you secure a place but as you pack you lose your mind. I mean, I don’t know about you but I know I have hair ties or that shirt that’s perfect to wear but good lord I have no idea what box I put it in!

Moving causes so much disorder; all my things are not in their places and those places don’t have their things and I feel CHAOS… Not only chaos but also insanity and nostalgia as the home is readied for “Move-out inspection.” Which, honestly reminds me of preparing for a Formal Inspection back in High School; except this time, I’m not hiding contraband in someone else’s room or car!! But, I’m still frantically cleaning the baseboards and washing ledges/corners that may have dust.

I wash away and say goodbye to many memories. The things that make it “my apartment.” The mark on the wall from measuring the little one, or the stain on the floor from spilling paint. Even the not so great things like texturing and painting the wall where I did my “needs improvement” patch job. All these moments and memories being painted over and left behind.

On Monday, July 16, I will hand over the keys to my apartment and officially add one more thing to the list that I’ve left behind in 2018!

Cheers to moving onward and upward and changing EVERYTHING!

Year of Fear!!

 

 

 

Make your dreams a reality

I can hardly fathom the right words to describe the woman that I call “Grannie V?”

There are so many memories I want to share; moments of love, laughter, odd questions, absolutely baffling statements or events, motivation, care, inspiration and more.

My Grannie was something special!

Anyone who met her could tell you the same. She may have had some unconventional methods but everyone left an encounter with Cavita with a new perspective. Some may have walked away perplexed and overwhelmed that she would spread love so generously, that she cared about their life and goals, was willing to listen, share her experience, laugh with them, give them new ideas, challenge them to dream big and achieve even bigger. Or maybe they left simply knowing she was excited about the adventure of life and they should be too.

She left ripples where ever she went. Like a drop of water in the ocean, the effect could transform into waves.

I was the only granddaughter of Cavita and thus had a pre-defined “special” place in her heart. She was raised with two brothers and then was blessed with three sons. She had two grandsons born to her oldest and youngest son and then I came along, the only girl. Having a little granddaughter to entertain and play with was foreign territory for her. BUT, that never stopped her. Some of my fondest memories from childhood are with her and the fun things we did. Like, making clothes for Snowball the cat! 🙂 (anyone who met Snowball, I think our dress-up play made her so vicious HA HA) 

My Grannie was my biggest cheerleader! She constantly cheered me on and inspired me to push further than ever before. When no one else was there, she was. When I felt my world collapsing she reminded me that I was loved and that I could do whatever I dreamed of in life. She helped me through some of my darkest days and laughed and smiled with me on the best ones! She was MY amazing Grannie! I will dearly miss our weekend talks and random butt dials!

I love you FOREVER! 

——-

I challenge you today – go to your desk, junk drawer, file system, whatever and pull out your life goals. Grannie would say, “Those are the things you will do in your life. If you have none, make some. If they are old, revise them. If they have been achieved, make new ones. Make good goals and go out into this wonderful world and be determined to make those things happen. I want you to be confident, I have done that.”

“Cavita Ruth Ebelt left this Earth to be with her Lord and Savior on June 26, 2018
Cavita was the only daughter with 2 older brothers born to Harrington & Blanche Smith April 3, 1934 in Houston Texas. Cavita was raised in rural Pasadena Texas and received her teaching degree from Texas Women’s University in home economics. Cavita taught in Houston for many years touching the lives of many young students. Cavita loved life, her family, her church, travel and fishing. She was able to travel the world with her best friend and fishing partner Earl Ebelt. Together they both fell in love with beautiful Alaska and traveled there often. Cavita believed in having life goals, a plan to achieve them and enjoying your life along the way.” 

In Lieu of flowers the family request donations be made to Deer Park Methodist Church or your own church in her name.
The Family invites everyone to celebrate Cavita’s life in a memorial service September, 22, at Addison Funeral Home 18630 Kuykendahl Road
Spring Texas 77379.

 

Fight to Stand-up

I have sat on this post for about 2-weeks because I could not figure out the best way to communicate my adventure. The main thing that held me back from posting was that I didn’t think I really experienced “Fear” in this event.

But,

I did it!! I competed in my first powerlifting meet on May 26, and took home a gold medal!

I’ve shared in previous posts, physical fitness has always been a part of my life and I started training with a coach for Powerlifting in March. Over the past few months, I have enjoyed watching my strength increase thanks to the direction and advice of my coach.

This was my first competition so I went in with a mindset that I wasn’t going to take anything home other than experience and motivation. Well, come to the day of the event and I see all these amazing powerful women and I’m overwhelmed with feelings of doubt, inadequacy, fear, anxiety etc…

Thankfully, my fellow powerlifter, Amanda was there to help put my mind back in order. She reminded me that 1. This is my first meet 2. You’re competing against yourself and 3. You’re here to lift heavy and have fun!!

Women lift first, so we began warming up as the referees reviewed rules and schedule. As we’re in the warm-up area I think I hear my name being called to lift…. hear it again and look at my coach. Well, it was my name and I had about 20 seconds to get up on the platform and get the bar on my shoulders. WOW talk about a great opener squat!!

Honestly, though, I think it was the universe helping me not get jitters pre-lift. I was so rushed I didn’t have time to think, I just had to run up get under the bar and get set. 3 white lights (refs indication of a good lift) – done. It was like oh, ok this isn’t so bad I can do this 8 more times!

I finished out my squats achieving a new PR of 210lbs. Next up was bench press. I managed to get 3 white lights the first two attempts which I push 127 lbs. On my last lift, I was so distracted by my son being a wild banshee and my nerves that I failed to listen to the ref’s directions for the press and my last attempt at 132lbs was DQ’d. I must admit I was a little down on myself after that. How could you be so stupid not to listen to the instructions!!! But one failed lift doesn’t ruin you, so we had lunch, stretched and laid around until deadlift warm-ups.

I suffer from what I’ve been told is sciatica and degenerative disc disease, and the less movement I make the more it hurts. So after laying around for 2 hours, I was HURTING!!! I started moving around and warming up – things were looking good.

I hit my first two lift with ease. On my final attempt, my coach really upped my weight to 270lbs. In an attempt to help me with the lift I was offered smelling salts to get the adrenaline rush. WELL — let me tell you all if you’ve never tried it, don’t try it the first time right before you’re competition lift, also don’t inhale like you’ve never had a breath of air before.

I am not kidding when I tell you the aroma hit my nostrils and instantly made me question my entire life. I felt this burn, this tingle, this OMG I can’t breathe sensation.  My eyes start watering, I felt like I was going to die or pass out or something. In my head, I’m thinking well this sure is a shitty way to go out. But I remember, you can breathe through your mouth, HA what a concept! I get on the platform pull 270lbs and get all white lights!

DONE, DID IT, BOOM SHAKALAKA!!! I step off and my coach and friends are getting a good laugh at the tears running down my face from the smelling salts and high fiving me for getting my lift!

Braydon and I left after all of our team finished deadlifts, it had been a long day and a little boy was hot and tired. I assumed I wouldn’t get anything at the award ceremony so we said our goodbyes and headed out.

Of course, the boy passed out 5 minutes into driving. We got ourselves home and a little while later my phone starts buzzing away. I GOT 1st for my group!! I GOT A GOLD MEDAL!!! Braydon and I start doing a happy dance!

I learned with this experience that fear is about your perception and while I did have doubt in myself it all came from comparing myself to these other women, some of who had been competing upwards of 17 years.

With each journey, I learn more about myself and continue to find more of who I am as a Woman, Mothers, Athlete, Human, and Spirit.

 

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Moving onward and upward

Wow, it’s hard to believe that May is almost complete, school is officially out and Summer is about to be in full swing. The past 5 months have been a world wind!

The past few weeks I’ve been training hard for my first powerlifting competition, which is in two days!!! As well, I’ve been searching for a new home.

My son, with school complete, will officially move back home Friday (tomorrow!!) and we’ll be settling into summer camp routine! I’m so thankful for my new job and removing work travel from my life, for now.

Although I’ve not been able to fulfill my goal of posting daily I have been more conscious of the things I’m doing and I constantly try to push myself to try new things and put myself out there in more vulnerable places.

I’m hoping this Monday (Memorial Day) will serve as a self-care day for me to breath, plan and recuperate.

I am looking forward to some of the amazing things I have planned for the summer and hope you all continue to join me on this journey of “Year of Fear.” There are some really exciting things to come soon!!

 

 

Test your strength

Anyone who knows me knows that fitness has been a huge part of my life, forever! (I also LOVE food so it balances right?? HAHA)

I started working out with my Dad around 9 or 10 years old. He would emphasize the importance of daily workouts, and SWEATING!!! I can remember being about 11 and being told, “You’re not working hard enough, there is no sweat.” Now, this was coming from the man literally DRENCHED in sweat, and who also loved to give his kid “Sweaty Kisses” when we were smaller. (Don’t worry I carry on the tradition with my son!!)

But, at a young age, physical fitness became a part of who I am. And I have continued to place physical fitness as a top priority in my life, with the normal ebbs and flows of motivation/dedication. But with each year, I grow more and find myself trying new things to enhance the challenge.

This year I decided to try powerlifting. I’ve been dabbling in Crossfit and Weightlifting (competition movements — not just lifting weights) for the past 2 years and LOVE LOVE LOVE the challenge and joy it brings to my life.

Today for Year of Fear I registered for my first powerlifting meet.

Back in March my PR’s were 125lbs bench press, 190lbs squat, and 230 lbs deadlift. I plan to blow these PR’s out of the water and then train hard over the summer to prepare for my second meet!

If you’re in GA and want to come support me and my team on May 26th I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see you!!

 

Clean-up

Today for Year of Fear I am working to organize a trash clean-up.

A podcast I listened to recently talked about procrastination and explained that often times procrastination is to our advantage. The reason is that often we are not yet aligned with that activity or event. By waiting we are allowing things outside of our direct control to come into alignment.

The example they gave on the podcast was a lady who was needed to book airline tickets. She kept putting it off and putting it off then randomly she had the random feeling it needed to get done then (at 10pm at night). Sure enough, she goes to book the tickets and they had just released roughly 8 new flights for the 10 she was trying to book. Had she attempted to book the flights previously, it would have not fallen into place.

Now, with that being said, I’m not saying you shouldn’t pay your bill that is due because you don’t “feel” aligned to pay it.

But in the instance of Year of Fear, I’ve not been “feeling” compelled to achieve many things lately. I’ve started a new job, I’m training hard for a Powerlifting meet (May 26) and I’ve been working on some other things for my wellbeing a spirituality, so my energy and alignment have not taken me to working on YOF.

However, today I felt a strong pull to begin working on organizing a trash clean-up. Sure enough, I emailed an organization I was recommended to talk with and a gentleman got back to me almost instantly.

So today, for YOF I am reaching out and working with others to organize a river/trash clean-up.

Between now and the official announcement, I’ll also be working on the organization I’m trying to start that will be dedicated to promoting conservation, recycling and helping to restore our waterways and ocean.

In the meantime check out this AMAZING organization called 4ocean.

They are working to clean-up the Ocean and beaches, which is so great, my goal is the take this effort inland and hopefully, help reduce waste/trash that ends up traveling to the Ocean. Remember all the trash on the roadway ends up in a river or waterway after it rains and those rivers lead to the ocean.

Today try to reduce your waste – opt out of the straw, take your reusable bags, recycle that paper. And here is a crazy one I do – take that K-cup apart when you’re done!! Dump the grounds in the trash and pull the filter out, then throw that Plastic cup in the recycle bin!!! – It takes about 15 seconds, maybe 5-8 once you practice LOL

Always with love,

Tracy