Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Annette, aka “Verse,” so named by my health mentor, Chris Omni. I love the name. It connects me to poetry, music and the Bible. I’m excited to begin this blog! I look forward to sharing what I’m learned, thus far, in my quest to make my body and spirit F.I.T.
This year found me overwhelmed by consequences of morbid obesity which I’ve carried most of my life. In May, I weighed 338 pounds. My arthritic knees needed to be replaced and my back remained weak despite a fusion surgery. My mobility was so limited, I found myself approaching a need for a motorized scooter. Walking more than a short distance caused shortness of breath and severe joint pain. I hurt so much that even walking from the handicapped parking at my job was too far. After swallowing my pride and asking, I received approval for a “prized” close parking. It was far more an embarrassment than a perk.
Every activity I planned or was invited to was subject to how far I would have to walk. The misery of physically getting to an event usually outweighed my enjoyment. Still, I maintained my smiling game face because I wanted to hide how immobile I had become. As my mobility declined, my secret misery increased.
Then, on the morning of June 1st, my spirit was stirred. The stirring was a request for me to begin a quest—a quest to attain a level of health I’d never known. I responded, “I’ll try.” It was a Monday and I decided to launch my quest when the noon tornado sirens blew. Their sounding be a symbolic announcement something powerful was about to happen. I listened to the sirens very carefully that day. They’re usually considered a warning and, truly, that day they were a warning to my multitude of obstacles—they were about to be removed! The health success I had sought my entire life, was getting ready to blow in—like a tornado. As those sirens sang, I felt myself do two things which may sound contradictory—I suited up for battle and I surrendered. I wasn’t clear why both battle and surrender would be essential, but I trusted the process.
I realized, Day 1, that movement would be absolutely vital. The problem was, chronic pain makes a body say, “Don’t move!” It felt counterintuitive to move joints that howled in protest—joints overburdened for years by the crush of massive weight. How could I ask my tired, pained body to move more? But I did ask, and this body, though weary, consented. I discovered my body possesses an innate desire to better itself despite pain. No matter what it costs in discomfort, my body understood it has to move. So move, it did. That movement began in what has become an ally to me—water. With encouragement and support of friends, I began water-walking at a community center. I quickly discovered movement in water was not only possible for me, it was enjoyable. The zero entry pool eased me into an experience that taught me the benefits of being among supportive people. People of all fitness levels walked there—from the very fit to the painfully mobile—like me. Thus began my transformation from a sedentary life, to one filled with additional intentional activity. That is what “exercise” is for me—additional intentional activity. I’ll share more ways water and support have impacted me in the next blog. Until then, each Monday, may the sirens signal something powerful for you.