Hello from what feels like the tail end of winter already!
I hope this brief update finds you catching up on some rest post-Olympics, gearing up to cheer on the Canadians at the Paralympics, and finding a good balance between winter activity and moments of Hygge! (Hygge: a fundamental quality of Danish culture, Hygge cannot be translated using a single word. Rather, it includes many of the pleasures we associate with everyday living - relaxing with friends, enjoying good food, and creating a cozy evening by lighting a candle or two.)
This update will be mostly the facts (and less emotion) as I really don't feel like diving too deeply into anything right now. I'll let some Paulo Coelho quotes bring the perspective for me. I did promise a mid-winter update, and owe it to everyone who has helped me in this journey to keep you updated...especially when sport is fresh on everyone's mind after this past month of excitement in Korea.
"Things do not always happen the way I would like them to happen, and I had better get used to that." - Paulo Coelho
As many of you know, my racing tour this winter was cut off almost as soon as it began when I dislocated my shoulder very badly at the Open European Championships in January. It happened on the start line; couldn't have been more public, more painful, and more strange - though I'm told shoulders usually dislocate in funny ways/weird angles once they're susceptible. My right shoulder was out of the socket for 90min because it's illegal in Italy for anyone but a doctor to put it back in, and the patient must be under a sedative. I quickly flew back to Canada to meet with the medical team here and plan the surgery to repair it; I'm very lucky they could rush me in and have the surgery booked for March 7th at the Banff Orthopaedic clinic. They have some of the best surgeons in the world: remember the Canadian XC, biathlon, and most importantly for reconstructive surgeries, ALPINE teams work from there....Because I've dislocated my shoulder once already, and sublaxated it a number of times now, I have to have the labrum (cartilage) repaired to tighten the joint up and hopefully prevent it from ever coming out again. It's actually a fairly common surgery amongst high-impact sports; those who dislocate their shoulder once are at at 92% chance of doing it again, which I quickly did within 2 years of the initial injury...but those who get it repaired surgically after a few dislocations, as I soon will, only have a 2% chance of ever dislocating it again..IF the rehab goes properly - it's a rather positive change in odds!
After my first dislocation I was smart and careful with the recovery, and have been doing my strengthening exercises religiously. Unfortunately, the numerical odds of a reoccurrence were not in my favour when it comes to an unstable joint and thus, (as I wondered the first time if fate had already determined it), I am finally going under the knife. Not much you can do to change cartilage, ligaments, or tendons once they're damaged or stretched, no matter how strong your muscles are or gritty your attitude is...
I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather; to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature. - Paulo Coelho
Though I was not one of the 5 women on the Canadian Olympic Biathlon team, it was difficult to watch from the couch; not finishing my international races, and not even able to ski and shoot right now to prepare for the final tour and races of the season. However, I know there were one hundred other girls from other nations on both the IBU Cup and World Cup watching too, wishing they were one of the 90 in Korea.
Right now, my only plans are to be as strong and prepared for the surgery I can be, and take the full 3 months post surgery to "win" at recovering and rehabbing to the very best of my abilities. I am not sure what my future in sport is; we will need to see how the joint, my head, and my heart feel after 3 months. At that point, in the late spring, I will make some decisions; I can already foresee them being tough, but I am hoping that giving things time to unfold will bring clarity. In the meantime, I will hit the spin bike/lower body strength/walk in the sunshine lots; undertake an Academic Writing Course; and continue my work for Fast and Female, all from my laptop...I'm looking forward to being more ambidextrous by the end of this! I'm so grateful and so blessed to have a wonderful family and friends willing to help me out and literally "be my right hand" for a few weeks while I'm fully immobilized post surgery (likely 4-6 weeks before I can start using my right hand much - thank you Mads!). I snuck home to Ontario for a short visit and to work/train carefully before surgery, as I won't be travelling much for a little while during the recovery. I'm very happy that I can walk from my condo at Windtower to the gym, my physio, and my sports med doc...as well as be in the snow and sun and enjoy the mountains, even if I'm not skiing!
You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. - Paulo Coelho
Obviously, I am so disappointed to have had this happen when I dreamt of much more positive things in the winter of 2018, ever since I was young and watching figure skating on TV. However, I recognize that in the grand scheme of life, it's just another small blip to overcome, learn, and grow from...and yet another time to recognize the amazing people I have in my life and incredible opportunities I have been graced with. I do know that I absolutely do not regret any of the decisions I've made, paths I've taken, or things I've done in pursuit of mastery in biathlon. This is an hugely difficult and complicated sport, and I have always done my utmost best and put forth 110% effort. There are things we can control, and things we cannot, and at the end of the day what is meant to be, will be. People keep telling me that what needs to happen will unfold - not necessarily what we think we want.
Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream. - Paulo Coelho
Through it all, through the 7 years now I've been undertaking this epic journey on skis with a gun on my back, I have suffered hard on the race course...because that means I'm pushing past my perceived limits... but no where else. Everything I have done has been because it has brought me joy and challenged me enormously. At the end of the day, that's what counts.
So, you'll be hearing from me again in June, once I've hopefully tightened up this %^&#$ shoulder for good, re-gained a little fitness and upper body musculature, and definitely found more clarity. I can't thank you all enough for your support, words of encouragement during my (short!) race season and now rehab season, and interest in a journey that seems to be full of many plot twists!
All the best - enjoy some spring skiing, chopping vegetables, hand writing, dominant palm reading, well-pressed Aeropress coffee, and arm wrestling on my behalf over the next couple of months 😉
Thank you ❤
I can control my destiny, but not my fate. Destiny means there are opportunities to turn right or left, but fate is a one-way street. I believe we all have the choice as to whether we fulfil our destiny, but our fate is sealed. - Paulo Coelho
What I'm ....
Listening to: "Run" by Amy Macdonald, and the Pitch Perfect 3 Soundtrack. No shame.
Rapping: still Macklemore's newish album.
Eating: Smoothie bowls. Morning dark chocolate with coffee.
Drinking: Matcha lattes. And Emily's Booch/weird apple cider vinegar stuff.
Wearing: No sports bras, hard-to-pull-on shirts, or ski boots...
Reading: Endure and Molly's Game.
Wishing I was better at: dancing without my upper body, running intervals (hello sore hamstrings), and entertaining the dogs.
Rocking right now: Spanish flash cards on the spin bike
Missing: skiing and shooting; spring flowers; the warm beach in Ostional
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!