“Don’t focus on what you can’t do. Think about what you are doing.” ~Kari Tomashik
Nine days after my second shoulder surgery I found myself in my usual Saturday morning yoga class. I felt compelled to go even though I was in a sling and was still very fatigued from my surgery. I went because I just wanted to keep riding the momentum I’d built prior to learning that I needed to have my shoulder revised. When I arrived I was pleasantly surprised that the class was being taught by a guest that morning; she was my instructor’s instructor, Kari Tomashik. I’d heard wonderful things about her, yet never was able to attend any of her workshops when she came to town. So, this coincidence was an unexpected treat!
The quote above is one of the things that Kari said as we were doing the first few poses in our practice. I introduced myself to her before the class began to tell her what was going on, and that my primary reasons for being there that day were for my mind and spirit since I knew I was physically limited. I wasn’t sure if she said the statement above for my sake, or if it was something she would have said regardless of someone showing up with their arm in a sling. In any case, her words struck a chord and lit the fire within me. I felt my energy building as the practice progressed. Granted, I wasn’t able to do everything that the class was doing, but I did what she said: I focused on what I was doing, and let my limitations fall by the wayside for that hour and fifteen minutes. I left class that morning feeling the best I’d felt since surgery. I’d recommend this philosophy to anyone: always live in the present, and be mindful and grateful for what it is that you can do.
I am now sixteen days out from surgery and feel fantastic! I never took any pain pills after this surgery, except for the one that the nurses insisted that I take while I was still in the hospital. I am not allowed to take ibuprofen due to its potential to cause bleeding, but even if I could take it I wouldn’t because I don’t need them. Last September, I could tell immediately after surgery that something wasn’t right with my shoulder because of the extreme pain and the way my arm sat in the joint. Now, I can tell that all is right with my shoulder. I couldn’t be happier! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a complete bummer to be back to square one, but it is the square one I was expecting after surgery last September. So, to turn lemons into lemonade I can say that I am now on the path to recovery that will get me back on the water.
I want to take a moment to count my blessings. I am incredibly thankful to have the means to travel to Vail and work with Dr. Millett. Everything about his practice is world class. He and his entire staff are making this process much easier. And, I have the most amazing husband anyone could ask for. That poor man…he had no idea what he got himself into when he took his vows for “in sickness and in health.” He’s certainly done his time with the “sickness” aspect of that vow! He was by my side the entire time in Colorado, he makes sure my ice machine is always ready to go, and has religiously helped me through this preliminary (yet critical) phase of physical therapy that requires someone to move my arm for me. I wouldn’t be where I am without him.
Resetting My Goals
In my Athleta bio I laid out some lofty goals for my 2012 ski season. I certainly hope my goals weren’t perceived as arrogant; I sincerely felt the goals I set were within my reach. I think that is an important thing to be mindful of when setting goals. You want goals that push you to be your best, yet don’t set you up for failure. Looking at the goals I set for this year I believe that I could have achieved them if I’d had an entire season to prepare for the World Championships this August. But, as of now I’ll miss out on almost half of my season so my preparation time will be minimal. At this point, my original 2012 goals are set aside for another season, and my primary goal is to participate in our U.S. Nationals and the World Championships this year. I don’t have to worry about posting scores to qualify for the World Championships because my scores from last year have already qualified me in all three events in the senior (35 years+) division, and in two of the three events in the open division.
Never be afraid to reevaluate and adjust your goals. It is far more important to be honest with yourself about where you are at than to set unrealistic goals that lead to self-defeat. I am not one bit disappointed with the new goals I’ve set for myself. I love participating in the U.S. Nationals because I get to see all the members of my barefoot family from around the country. It’s always great to see how far each of them has taken their skiing and watching them achieve their own personal goals. And, simply participating in the 2012 World Championships is a huge accomplishment for me, particularly since I missed the 2010 Worlds that were held in Berlin, Germany due to my neck. I can’t wait to ski at the World Championships! Nothing makes me feel more proud than wearing red, white, and blue and representing my country at the world level. So, my goals may be significantly different than what they were earlier this year, but they are still significant.
Currently, I am taking physical therapy one step at a time. My range of motion is good, and I get out every day and walk with my three Labradors, “Dallas” (not pictured) and “Bare” & “Foot.” (Bare is chocolate, Foot is black) Dogs have an amazing way of helping you heal. It’s hard to ever be in a bad mood when you wake up every morning to three crazy mutts who are ecstatic to simply be alive! My dogs are a huge part of my therapy on a mental, spiritual, and physical level. They definitely teach me lessons about how to embrace life.
That is all for now — I’ll update you again soon!
TERI LARSON JONES wasn’t an athlete until she reached her mid-30s. Today, her sport of choice is barefoot waterskiing, widely considered to be waterskiing’s ultimate challenge. She started competing for fun in 2003, but it wasn’t until she skied in the 2009 Senior World Championships held in Otaki, New Zealand, that she became serious... more »