I have been called many things in my life. But one thing that has always been true when someone gets mad at me is when they announce to the universe that I’m obstinate. In fact, I might be a whole new thing that has no other name so obstinate is the best anyone can do.
As a child, my mother and father would get incredibly frustrated with a child who, as three years old, had zero problem standing up, putting her hands on her hips, and announcing, “No,” to whatever they requested. I didn’t yell it. I state it. It was a matter of fact that whatever you were asking me to do, the answer would always be no. Even if you just wanted me to move away from the sliding glass door to the deck for a second so you could go outside.
I swore constantly as a child as well. Nothing was going to stop me. Not holding a bar of soap in my mouth. Not biting said bar of soap. Not biting and chewing said bar of soap. Not even having my mother put liquid dish soap on her finger and rubbing it around my mouth. In fact, I swore and insisted on cussing up a storm until she made me bite, chew, and swallow the bar of soap and I puked bubbles for 15 minutes.
You are probably getting the picture and I am not much different as an adult. In fact, I’m probably worse.
Me? I’m the gal who will do something just to prove you wrong. When I wanted to run the Tough Mudder a few years ago, people told me I was crazy. Never mind the fact that I have played sports all year round my entire life. Nope. For some reason, the Tough Mudder was going to be my undoing. My husband said it, my friends, my co-workers. Everyone.
And you know what? When the five other people on my team dropped out and I was the only one left, I gave the world a middle finger and decided to do it anyway. Simply because everyone had told me I couldn’t.
Not only did I decide to do it, but I decided to not skip a single obstacle, even if I failed them. I decided to push myself to beat the 4 hour time I had give myself to run it. I did it in 3 hours and 32 minutes. And when my body wanted to quit and my calf was seized up and I could barely put weight on my leg, I continued to hobble and jog my way to each obstacle.
My attitude about nearly everything is life is, “Oh, yeah? Watch me.” While I simultaneously give the middle finger to anyone who told me I couldn’t.
When I developed arthritis I couldn’t walk for months. I literally could not take unsupported steps, I couldn’t get in and out of bed on my own, I couldn’t dress myself or shower myself. There were days I wanted to give up, there were days I wanted to accept life in bed as all I would ever get.
But I kept moving forward and trying. I kept pushing and making the effort and doing my PT. You can’t always give up on life just because it’s easy. And you can’t always accept your situation just because it is hard work to better it.
But last month my doctor told me I was unlikely to run again. I have developed osteonecrosis, which means some of the bones in my knee are dying. It causes a lot of pain and is a big explanation of the continued pain I’ve had. It’s possible I have it in other bones, but for now the treatment won’t change, so we haven’t explored further bone scans.
But I run. Before I woke up unable to walk, I ran at least 12 miles a week. I ran all the time. I did the Insanity workout, I walked my dogs, I jogged, I did pushups, I was active and I miss that. It’s been incredibly difficult to watch my body put on weight, unable to move, unable to walk down stairs let alone go for a six mile run through the park.
But I’m obstinate. I’m determined.
My doctor said I’d be fine as long as I didn’t do something like take up running. She has no idea the fire she started with that statement. She has no idea that my very existence is sustained by proving people wrong, by showing people what I’m made of.
They said I couldn’t maintain a 4.0 through Vet Tech school. I graduated with one. Top of my class.
They said blood draws on Llamas are difficult for students because it’s a blind stick. I got blood on a llama while it was bucking and trying to kick me away.
They said it was crazy for me to run the Tough Mudder. I bested my time by 28 minutes, failing only two obstacles, but trying all 22.
And they said I’d never run again. And I will ride my fake bike for sixty minutes a day, pushing myself each time to do it faster and longer, and go up and down the stairs and walk and work until I can run my first mile again. Because “they” have no idea what they are talking about.