02 August 2012

Coming Back to Life

bare pepper
This was my two-year-old pepper plant at the end of May. I thought it was a goner. I was going to dump the old soil and plant something new in the container. I set the container on the porch, fully intending to get back to it the following day.

pepper madness

The following weekend, the formerly bare pepper plant was sprouting tiny leaves. Now it's loaded with more than half a dozen peppers. My lovely plant will be coming back inside before the first overnight freeze, and hopefully it will live to see another summer!

This is what most of my garden looked like when we returned from Ride the Rockies. I spent the entire next day replanting, re-aerating by hand, watering, trimming, pruning, nurturing...

mint gone wild
This is what my garden looks like now.

more than a handful

The Bear Pile
This is what I spent the next five weeks doing. Mostly in bed. Because I couldn't move the day after all the garden work.

The pain grew steadily, just like the garden. My doctor took me in on an emergency basis. He put me on all kinds of medication, which I couldn't take at work because it put me to sleep. When I wasn't working, I was sleeping.

Finally, test results were delivered.

An injury of old has come back to life, perhaps aided by a little bike wreck back in March. Possibly fueled by inadequate training for a hard six-day, cross-state ride. Likely pushed on by too many hours spent sitting at a desk at work sans breaks and stretches. Oh, and with legs crossed: "No, no, no! Feet flat on the floor!"

And by golly, no more lifting. "You hear that, Young Lady?!?"

Do you suppose I should tell him about the company softball game??? The one they asked me to photograph for the company newsletter, the one we would have to forfeit if they couldn't find/convince one more female to play? ("You did WHAT?!?") ("Hey, I hit the ball! I didn't make it to base, but I hit the ball!")

We likely will never know precisely what ignited this outburst, just as when the bone chip came out of nowhere in 2004 to floor me and result in a two-inch scar in the middle of my lower back. What we do know is that it robbed me of my 17th month in my 60-mile-day streak. What we do know is that it rendered me incapable of wearing my prized High Roller jersey this summer.

A disc is an insulator to the nerve bundle running through the spine and a shock absorber for the vertebrae above and below it. It's 80 percent moisture at birth. It dries out as it ages. It suffers upon impact or trauma. And sometimes, it rebels. Angrily.

Because no blood flows to discs and they don't receive fresh oxygen and nutrients, they cannot heal or repair themselves. A disc can, under certain circumstances, be replaced with plastic parts. In most cases, the body balances itself out by about age 60, and the injured disc isn't as much of a nuisance. Otherwise, there is no cure.

But I refuse to roll over and play dead.

I've been yoga stretching and walking every day for three weeks. I'm keeping my feet flat on the floor. I'm getting up from my desk often, even if all I get to do is walk around my chair.

And last weekend, I got to sit in the saddle again for a test ride. It was short, but rewarding.

The bears in my dreams came to life. Well, one of them did. And he put on one heck of a show for me. About 200 shots' worth.

"I knew the moment had arrived
For killing the past and coming back to life."
-David Gilmour, Pink Floyd


  1. Hurrah for plants (and friends) coming back to life.
    Hurrah for bears, in all their varied forms. (What will you do with all of those cute darlings?)
    Hurrah for good doctors, and yoga, and feet flat on the floor. Hurrah for desk breaks. (Have you thought about a standing desk? They help me.)
    Hurrah for short bike rides, too.

    And for what it's worth, I think any month spent in bed rest for pain counts as a NON-MONTH, and doesn't count as a break in your streak. New month, New diagnosis, New rules. Same streak. :)

    Feel better soon. HUGS

  2. If you can't ride because of medical reasons then it doesn't count against you. Just like the little sip of communion wine on Sunday doesn't change my sobriety date. Chris has it right. New month, New diagnosis, New rules. Same streak.

  3. PS Your little crocheted bears are cool. Do you sell these? Put me down for several.

  4. Thank you, Chris and Bill. I'm still devastated by the end of the streak, but I'm trying to be thankful now for all the miles I have been able to pedal. I've pedaled more than most people ever want to, and I've seen such incredible things along the way.

    I plan to shoot those tiny bears for hours when my good lens, the macro, comes back from the shop. (Impact damage from the wreck back in March.) It's been in the shop since before Ride the Rockies.

    I don't know what I plan to do with the little bears after I finish photographing them. They are just something to do while I can't ride.

  5. Oh, Deb. So sorry to hear that you've been in pain and unable to ride (now I understand a certain comment about mileage envy that you made a few weeks back).

    You may have just gone through a dormant phase, but, like your plant, you WILL be back (and peppery as ever). I know you will.

    Boy, can I relate to the difficulty of sitting WITHOUT crossing one's legs! If anyone can break that habit you can, O Queen of Determination. :)

    I'm sorry too about the break of your streak - you've been a real inspiration to me in that regard. My secret cycling goal for this year (though now I guess it will be secret no longer) has been to ride just ONE 60-mile day. I've been telling myself for the last few months, "If Deb can do 60 miles on a regular basis, I can surely work up to doing it at least once." Oh how I wish I could have ridden it for you this last month! (And somehow have made it count towards your streak.)

    Your bear in the tree is very like you: climbing, going in unexpected directions, giving surprise and delight to others. And your little crochet bears are like you too: beautiful, colourful, and indestructible.

    Welcome back, dear friend. :)

  6. Thank you, Sue. Tears are streaming down my cheeks as I type...

  7. Here's to coming back to life. Here's a toast to your ferocious determination, strength, fortitude and magnificent Spirit.

    Thoughts and prayers are with you as you heal, Deb. I think Sue is on to something, here. Is there some kinda rule in the Universe that your friends can't ride miles for you and gift them to you? I think not.

    Official Proclamation: I'm gifting you my sixty mile day for August and subtracting it from my total for the month/year.

    Because I can. And you're worth every single mile.

    Hugs, Deb.

  8. cool, all of it, the pepperplant and the bears. :)

    Yoga was not good for my back. But we don´t have the same problems I guess. I hope it sill work out for you. You are a winner.

  9. Hope your body is following the example of the pepper plant and recovering

  10. Yes, the moment had arrived, and the bear heralded it for you! I'm glad that you're doing better. I love the bear photos, my favorite wild animal in the world.


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