Three half marathons in less than a year. Well, I set out to run a race and indeed I accomplished three. Country Music Marathon, Brooksie Way and Disney Princess Half Marathon. Check! Check! Check!
I can be a bit of a slow learner. Fortunately, I know this about myself and I am okay with it. There comes a time in ones life when you have to evaluate who and what are your priorities and assess what is in your ability to change and what is not. 2012 brought me back to the place where God had started me years before. The book of James.
James 1:2 - 4. "Consider it pure joy, my Tracy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because Tracy, you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Over the years, God has brought me to the book of James several times. It has been easy for me to not personalize it. It's easy for me to encourage others when they are having a hard time. However, it was time for me to make it personal. A daily choice, I might add. Humility doesn't come to me easily. I am a lot of things... funny, creative, a planner, an encourager, an organizer and a speaker. But humble, is not at all in my vernacular. Just being honest.
After God let me mourn and whine over handing over Team B.I.M.B.O., I was remembered that I love to bike. Duh. I had a nice road bike. I enjoy cycling. I had never gotten hurt or had a bad accident. I had done several charity rides that varied in length and terraine, so I signed up for the Make A Wish ride that covers 300 miles in three days. The ride was 5 months away and I had plan to get my miles in. My first ride with a group of people started off strong. We purposefully hit some hilly terrain, to help mimic the course. About 3/4 of the ride in, my neck and shoulders were hurting pretty bad. Motrin didn't touch it and I lagged behind. My ego was hurt and my body was writhing in pain.
Now is probably a good time to stop and say that about a month before this training ride, my family and I went to a waterpark. Kalahari in Ohio. It's an insane indoor waterpark! While we were there, we took a ride as a family on the "toilet bowl". It's a fun ride. Walk up 6 flights of stairs, hop on the tube, slide down the slide, spin a bit and plop out into the large bowl. Everyone was laughing and smiling. I was in an incredible amount of pain. My boys were tweenagers and teased me a bit, because they thought my whining was a bit over done. Nope!
I thought my panic and pain was weird, so I ignored it. Thought it would go away. It didn't. In the night my left shoulder hurt really bad. Like electricity running to my fingers bad. When we returned home, I made an appointment to see my normal doctor. She examined me and told me I pulled a muscle. Nope!
I asked all my nurse friends who I should see for a strained shoulder and was fortunate enough to get in to see a specialist inside of a week. By the time I saw him, the pain in my shoulder was increasingly getting worse. He gave me a shot of cortisone and thought it was bursitis. Nope!
Inside of a week, I was calling the office asking for another appointment with him. Saw him, yet again and explained that I was losing sensation in my left hand and couldn't handle the pain. He sent me for an MRI of my neck and shoulder. Ah ha! That test came back and he called me rather promptl. Hmmm... seems I had actually broken my neck. BROKEN MY NECK! I had damaged the C4-6 and the injury was pressing on my nerves that go down my left arm. Okay, Tracy. Breathe. Pray. Act.
I lead a bible study at my church and a friend's husband is a Neurosurgeon, so I called her. I called to see if they could recommend anyone to me. In my ignorance, I assumed her man operated on the brain only. I didn't realize they specialize in the entire spine. (I know now!) Her husband saw me two days later and two days after that, I had spine surgery.
The surgery was a great success and although I had a lot of stiches in my neck and obvious post surgery pain, I didn't have the sharp pains that I went in with. Very successful surgery, like I mentioned, except one tiny detail. I ended up in the ER a couple of days later, because I had an allergic reaction to the glue he used to close the wound. Ha! Second degree burn. We just laughed. Of course...
By God's grace and and my bull headed determination, I was able to raise $2,500 for Make A Wish and ride every mile of the 300, less than five weeks post spine surgery. Was a happy chick. I was sure the worst was behind me.