By: Julia Duenes Stewart
For nearly eight years I have wrestled with many physical infirmities. My physical hardships have included a car accident, multiple ankle sprains, a herniated disk in my lower back during pregnancy and two surgeries.
At my lowest point, I was in extreme pain during most of my waking moments and unable to walk unassisted. I spent many months in bed. And the herniated disk in my back could not be treated because of my pregnancy. After my beautiful daughter was born I needed physical therapy just to relearn the basics for most people's lives; how to drive, sit, walk, climb stairs. My ability to do daily tasks again did not eliminate the pain I felt but did allow me to function.
I still experience some amount of pain everyday and continue to rehabilitate my back through physical therapy. But I have gone beyond many of the basics, am further improving and am seeking the healthier lifestyle I once lived.
My physical therapist recommended I set a goal for myself that would enable us to measure my progress. I mentioned that prior to the start of my many physical ills I had considered and even begun training for a sprint triathlon. He suggested I work toward this end.
I have spent many months struggling to build up my muscles, endurance and flexibility. Even if I finished last, I felt determined to finish and hoped I would be able. It won't mean my recovery is complete, I still have a long road ahead. But finishing will stand as a milestone in my rehabilitation reminding me that I am on the path to becoming a whole, healthy and active human being once again. No pressure!
I am proud to say that I successfully completed my first triathlon at Pacific Grove, and will continue to grow in my recovery.