When you have a chronic pain disorder you unfortunately tend to miss out on a lot. I was excused from Gym class at a very young age, so I never had to do the beep test or climb ropes (not that they climb ropes in Gym class – I wouldn’t know for sure, but I think that is only in movies). My parents also sheltered me from a lot of the more dangerous activities, such as ice skating (hockey was definitely out), horse back riding, water skiing, snowboarding and skiing, etc etc. The only sport I have ever really played was baseball, and even then I would get so tired and fed up with the fact that my energy was low and my legs were sore that I would sit down in the outfield and play in the sand.
Missing out on contact sports was all for a good reason though. My body isn’t built the same way that everyone else’s body is built. My knees and ankles aren’t in-line, and I do have like a kazillion more bones then most people and my doctors were never quite sure what a break would do to. They didn’t know how I would heal from it, and therefore they advised me to stay away from anything even remotely dangerous.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to go horse back riding. I wanted to take lessons and go to the week long camps they had for riders. A week of riding a horse on a trail sounded perfect to me. But horse back riding takes a lot of leg work that I just didn’t and don’t have. My parents were afraid that I would fall off and hurt myself, so I never did get to take those lessons.
I can remember clearly watching my older sisters learning how to water ski up at the cottage and feeling envious because I wasn’t aloud to try it. Even then, I knew that it wouldn’t exactly be the best idea. Sure, I could do it – I am completely aware that I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to – but I would surely suffer and most definitely get hurt.
I was also envious when my sisters all went snowboarding and skiing together. It looked like such fun! I know that it is practically a death wish for me to attempt it, but I still always have wanted too.
As I think about all the stuff that I have held back on doing because of my MHE, I feel remorse and sadness. I’m worried that when I am an old lady I’ll look back and not reach integrity in the Integrity vs Despair stage of Erikson’s theory. I would like to try all those things, but I know that it isn’t safe for me to do so…I could very well end up in a wheelchair. That would seriously tick my sister Shannon off, who is getting married in April.
I am not angry about any of it, I’m just trying to figure out a way that I can get around the MHE and actually do these things safely without harming myself badly. If anybody has any ideas, then feel free to suggest them!