Returning from injury
Updated: Nov 29, 2022
It's about time. I think we can all agree on that. A lot have people have commented on the length of time I've taken to recover, and yes, it's been a very long process and I envy those that have watched from afar - being able to just observe and not actually live it. I'd often see athletes injure themselves, receive the odd update on social media and think to myself, 'hmm that must be tough', but could never truly relate to what they were going through.
And now I know. It's not just constant physio sessions and trips to the gym. It was having to move back to the UK temporarily because I wasn't mobile enough to live in the snow; it was not being able to see my teammates every week; it was having to hear that my bone hadn't healed properly and having to decide whether or not to go in for surgery again. It was not showering for 3 weeks. It was being in pain constantly and not knowing how long anything would take to heal whilst answering that constant question of 'when will you be back?'. It was the loss of identity. For how long could I still tell people I was a ski racer?
It's not been all doom and gloom. In fact, I think I've been about as positive I as I could be after snapping a femur in half. I have a metal rod in my leg that goes from my hip to my knee, (which I think is pretty cool) and I named it Rodney. Get it? Rod... Knee. It's kept me entertained anyway and I like to think of myself as Faith Version 2.0. I don't beep when going through airports though - which is pretty disappointing - I thought the least it could do was set the security alarms off but I guess I'll have to make do with a few gnarly scars.
I've had a lot of advice throughout my recovery but the main thing that pretty much everyone told me was not to rush it. That was harder to do than I thought it would be. Looking back, there were definitely times where I could have been considered to be pushing too much but at the time I never really knew where the sweet spot was. Was I meant to be in this much pain? Should every movement hurt? What was the difference between 'good pain' and 'bad pain'? The constant fear of 'am I just making this worse?'.
That was all relatively early on. The worst part was probably closer to the end with the things people couldn't see. It's frustrating when you look absolutely fine and don't walk with a limp anymore but you just aren't strong enough to sprint or walk down too many flights of stairs. I wanted to get back to skiing so much sooner but there were too many little niggles and I knew I would only cause myself further damage. 'Don't rush it', I'd remind myself.
I never doubted that I would return. It was always just a question of timing and as the months turned to years I only became more determined to get back in the start gate. Slow and steady wins the race, or something like that.