Friday, December 30, 2011

Definitely WILL

"We acquire the strength we have overcome." 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Girls in the wheelchair ready for me to use!
It has been 11 days since both of my knees were operated to become "bionic".  While I know that in due time they will feel much better, I truly DO believe and understand that, I recently had a few days of "Pity Party Table of One".  The nerves of the surgery not "working", frustrations of not being able to rotate my feet and knees comfortably, angst of pain while sleeping, and the lack of endorphin rush I get from exercising were starting to wear on me.  BUT I am blown away with how great I have felt too!  The first day I could walk...yes I used the walker, but I was able to walk a bit and hold myself up on both legs. Both of my knees were operated on...that felt wild.  The nurse said in her 9.5 years working at the surgery center, she only had one other patient have double knee surgery.  To compare he wasn't able to walk on both legs for a while.  I thought for sure the girls would be pushing me in the wheelchair, as they were to eager to call me their "old mama".

The first week I had meds in me...lots and lots of meds.  I was a good patient, taking them every 4 hours as prescribed.  I "signed" an agreement with my orthopedic surgeon that I would listen to my body and not do much.  I iced every 90 minutes for 60 minutes, and still am icing, A LOT!  The icing is good since it makes me sit down and "chill" pun intended.  I hadn't felt the urge to push it and exercise; I was overly focused on being a good patient and having a strong recovery.  This is a surgery that affects not only my knees for doing competitive sports; but my livelihood being a personal trainer and fitness business owner, my anxiety through healthy stress release in exercise and my ability to partake in many of our fun family active adventures. While it seems frustrating, I know it is temporary. It is interesting though, I had friends and family asking daily how I was holding on.  They know me way to well and have been phenomenal!  They were supportive and kind, curious if I was jonesing yet to take off and "go".  I felt ok until Christmas Eve.

Emerson riding to help pass out bread- She "Believes"

Day 6 had me eager to move and get out of our house.  We walked to Pappo to help at the Christmas Eve soup kitchen.  The girls rode their bikes and I was able to walk holding onto E's bike's handle bars.  We had planned on helping out for a long while and knowing it was only 1 mile to Park Street, I thought I'd be ok.  It felt SO GOOD to be out and helping other people.  TO help those in need and give them a smile. I may have been hobbling a bit from table to table, but the girls enjoyed it and knew they were fortunate.  While I may have been healing from my surgeries, I knew that we healed from being supported by family through jobloss related relocation or Makenzie's long term hospitalization last year.  Those we were helping aren't so fortunate and many, the girls found out, don't have families to love them. Yes it hurt when I got bopped while turning to pass a plate, or squeezing by a family to sit down.  But the message of how blessed we are was needed by all of us.
Icing in the office at Pappo- small price to help others 12.24.11

After Pappo my knees were a bit sore so I pulled back my walking. Christmas was full of fun, presents, painting and enjoying family.  I stopped the intense pain meds since they were to much on my system. Thus I enjoyed some needed wine.  Dad's wine tasting was much more appreciated because yes, it did help with some of the pain. We celebrated how far we have come and grateful we all are for the little things, with my brother, Tyler, throwing in some funny and lame comments of course, but  reinforcing again that the double knee surgery is temporary.

Day 10- feeling pain.  My post - op appointment was  rescheduled by Dr. Z on account of jury duty and is now scheduled for January 4th.  The eagerness to move has started to grow. Reading all the Facebook posts by my peer personal trainers to their clients, mapping out my own goals for my clients and the desire to focus on New GOALS for 2012 has started the bubbling to burst even bigger in my belly to train hard.  And yes, I do have a little belly now from not exercising for 11 days over the Holidays. Your body can shift, remember that peeps!  Use it or lose it!  This little tummy is temporary too, I do know, but the excitement for training has me excited and nervous.  Thus...the words Definitely and Will.  

The wise bicycling Makenzie- Age 7.5   Dec. 29, 2011
Yesterday on Day 10 we walked to the park with the girls. They rode their new bikes and for me, upon going to the park for the first time in 11 days, I felt a bit nervous.  I have felt stronger walking each day, but what about uneven bark chips. How would I hold up?  The imbalance was surprisingly ok, but I forgot I would have to say, "No I can't yet girls".  No to tag, no to monkey bars, no to pushing E on the swings, no to dinosaur tag.  So Makenzie asked me to try and do some push ups on the raised portion of the play structure.   Yes, she is my daughter and learned well.  I did. I started with 20... damn it felt good.  I did another 20 and then followed with 3 sets of 25.  I felt on top of the world and then....I felt my patellas from the pressure.  I had tried push ups a few days prior using our elevated steps to place my hands and relieve the body weight pressure.  It was too intense and painful on my knee caps.  But it was a positive physical step.  I looked over at Jack and started silently crying.  He was running, chasing a squeeling Emerson, and my heart felt heavy.  The thought of, "What if I did this surgery and it didn't work" passed through my head.  Since I was quiet I thought Makenzie didn't notice, but she did.

Makenzie's serious COACH face. "Definitely WILL"
Makenzie came over, looked at me straight in the face and pulled me to her chest in a tight hug. She released me and asked, " Mom, what is the matter?  Are you ok?". I said, "I am watching your Daddy run with Emerson and I hope I will be fast at running again. I hope that my surgery took and I will be faster at running and can race with you and your sister when you are older. I really hope so.".  Makenzie immediately grabbed my cheeks, and looked me straight in the eyes again.  She said:

" Mom, YOU know better than that. 
You replace Hope with Definite 
and So with WILL. 
There is NO HOPE SO. 

More tears now streaming down my cheeks and I smiled saying, "Makenzie, did I teach that to you? If so, you listened and great job on your timing, kid.". She responded, "No Mom, it's all from up here (pointing to her brain). But you can use it if you want since it's true." Ah, Makenzie,  what a wise soul. I feel so grateful she was a miracle blessed to my life. 

NOW, for all of you wishing to make goals for 2012 happen, think of a wise 7.5 year old. Don't ever say: HOPE and SO.  But you say, "I DEFINITELY WILL!".  

Much love and many goals and challenges to overcome to make us stronger in the New Year~ 

Erin Kreitz Shirey

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Believe & Peace

Soak it in...
Trust your intuition
Leap Fearlessly
Embrace Your Truth
Take Flight Toward Your Dreams
Feel the Abundance of your life
Collect Moments of Kindness
Do the think you never thought you could
Celebrate the gift of today
Never give up. Ever.

Monday, December 19, 2011

What are YOU waiting for?

Today is the day...Double knee surgery in two hours.  It is interesting because I am a bit nervous of course, but I am actually more calm about taking this challenge head on.  Why, you might think? Because I look at my daughters and how they have just taken every challenge that way and moved forward with incredible spirit. I wanted to pass on courage and confidence in them, and I feel when watching them that I have. Maybe a bit to much sometimes! I tease, but when listening this past weekend to the great comments of confidence with Makenzie saying while riding her new Christmas bike, "I am REALLY good on my bike, watch!".  Followed with Emerson ready to shake a rug at the Union Square ice rink, "Mom, the disco ball is my spotlight I think it's time to DANCE!".

Birthday trail run celebrating 36- 8 miles of FUN
Who doesn't jump for joy when running with awesome Meredith??
This past month my goals were to be active as I possibly can as if I was in racing mode, and take on all the time to USE my body as much as possible.  I don't know what the outcome will be after the surgery, but as Jack always says, "The negative is not an option. It WILL be better, you have to believe".  So I had long runs in San Francisco covering the Coit Tower stairs, Lombard Street, and Hyde Street hill pushing myself to go faster. I did the Turkey Trot and placed 1st in my age group and 3rd overall in a comfortable 6:55 10K pace. I made myself swim a lot on days I wanted to be a wimp because of the chill repeating the mantra, "If Dara Torres can win at 44 years old, you can get your ars in the water and move it!".  I wanted to keep pushing and see what can be done on a body so close to surgery. 

Makenzie loved skating and was trying hard...isn't she beautiful and brave?

Not the best picture but the best day! 12.17.11
Bike ride down Christmas Tree Lane- Perfect!!
This past weekend to celebrate my birthday was phenomenally fun and active to the last minute.  On Friday I taught my last Power Fitness PDX class for a while then kicked my ars spinning and lifting. I rode pulling Emerson all over Alameda singing loudly, and smiled at how great if felt to move and use my body. On Saturday Meredith and I met for our birthday run and it was gorgeous! We got in 8 miles of trails and laughs, joyful to use our bodies to push and our abs to laugh. When running we planned going to Worlds for Triathlon together.  I made some more videos for PFPDX on the trails...a year ago I might have held back and been a bit embarrassed. Saturday I thought who cares and we did them with runners swinging by thinking"WTH". We ice skated with the girls Saturday afternoon and got to teach them to push and glide, falling all over while enjoying the holiday spirit with family. Beyond grateful for my parents who taught us to have FUN each birthday and believe in ourselves...thus we were believing and celebrating with everyone! 

Mom and Dad are the BEST!!!

We got to Fugly Sweater party it up with friends, working our abs again laughing so hard.  Sunday Jack and I ran along the Marina in San Francisco planning our homes to buy when we're multimillionaires. Running  with Jack is always fun since he is competitive, even me with a little birthday hangover. I finished Sunday with blasting through an intense "Last Chance Workout"  that kicked my ars.  The feeling of sweat dripping down my back is what I needed since I know I won't be able to do that for a while. But the best was we went for a night bike ride with the girls to Christmas Tree Lane. We finished the weekend embracing all the joy of the holidays and I got to focus on moving my body.

Can Emerson be any more wonderful?? LOVE!
As I type Emerson woke up and said "Mama are you writing a story, what is it about?".  I told her it was called What are YOU waiting for? and she responded, "Mama you just have to always do it. You have to play and run a lot while you wait."  Emerson is a wise girl, very wise girl. I feel that I am ok, my knees have been incredibly kind to me thus far.  This next chapter is going to be tricky, yes, but it is a new challenge to see what else can be done.   

My goal is to qualify for Triathlon Worlds which I know WILL happen in the next 18 months.  I am not waiting, I am doing, and will make it happen.  So, what are YOU waiting for? Figure it out and go for it!!

Much love and many hugs to you as YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN! 

12.16.11...last day...

Today was my last day teaching Power Fitness PDX until February 2012...double knee surgery is on Monday. 3 days until life will be altered on this teeter totter and I will be off balance in every sense of the phrase.

Teaching Power Fitness PDX and owning my own business has given me a sense of focus, discipline, support, enthusiasm, spirit, appreciation of my own community, and appreciation of the strengths I possess and can share with others. While there have been many days this last year that I have woken up in the middle of the night with nerves about Makenzie and her health and future, Emerson's growth and her quality time with us, my marriage and how challenging having a sick child/job loss/relocation/coping with it all is very different and straining and how I just want to be present and LIVE LOUDLY(vibrantly and embracing each bit of fun and joy) and CONFIDENTLY...has to be put aside so I can support the incredible men and women who come to PFPDX.

Training the TEAM has given me a gift of focus and reason to put on my work and motivational hat. To put aside my own concerns while I help them get stronger and reach their goals. I am beyond eternally grateful.  Without realizing it, many of them have given me back the sense of normalcy I had been craving with every ounce of my being after having a hospitalized child post relocating and starting over.

Now that I taught my last class for 6 weeks I have to focus on embarking on another challenge...double knee surgery.  It is more uncertainty, but the definite I know is I look forward to February when I can put my own fears and challenges aside by starting my days  training Power Fitness PDXers.

I look forward to embracing these challenges of not teaching by using my time rehabbing so I can become stronger. To become more knowledgeable and a greater pillar of coaching to help them surpass all their goals.  The TEAM helped me so very much this year...and honestly I made it to this point more focused than ever before. I can only hope to continue and help them to this same level too...