A Better Telemark Skier

January 18, 2016

Like almost all weekends during winter, this weekend we skied both days.  It’s been a great snow year for the Pacific NW, so this year I’ve been skiing on more than just smooth groomed runs.

The last 2 years weren’t the best years for snowfall, but that worked out great for me because 2 years ago I was skiing ever so carefully while pregnant (well into the 2nd trimester) and last year I was skiing ever so carefully during my 4th through 7th months being post-partum.

Last year, my husband and I took turns in the lodge with baby in the car seat carrier.  That meant that I only did about 4-5 runs each day of the weekend.  Last year, I felt grateful for being able to do any amount of skiing and I physically wasn’t up for doing much more.

Now…this year…

I have to admit that I had some downer moments this weekend.  I usually hold my positive attitude and work with that, try to build on that.  But sometimes I just get bummed out.

This weekend I got down because I just want to be able to ski and hike and pole plant and side step and bend down and carry my gear and FUNCTION like I used to.  I’m sick of having to watch every move I make.  I’m sick of having to think about whether what I’m doing is going to make me feel worse. or not.  I’m sick of having to modify what I do.  I’m just F@&#ing tired of it.

I just want to be more of the hard charging athlete/skier that I used to be.  {{Cry, cry, cry}}

Which brings me to the “good news” part of this post.  I’m in the process of becoming a better Telemark skier, thanks to my prolapse symptoms.  Seriously!  And that IS a good thing.  It’s the good thing that I’m holding onto right now.

I feel quite excellent in the tele turn, as I’ve mentioned recently.  I do want to LIVE in the tele turn at all times when I’m on skis.  However– in order to do that, I need to improve my skiing.  I.e. I need to get back to my pre-pregnancy skiing skill level.  I need to stop being lazy when my legs get a little tired (which means I revert back to the alpine turn).  I need to get over feeling timid and I need to stop skiing overly cautious.  It makes things worse, not better!

So this weekend, I worked on doing as many tele turns as possible.  When my legs got to burning on a run, I didn’t switch to alpine turns and keep going.  I stopped and rested and then continued on in the tele.

When I encountered bumpier, deeper terrain, I started adopting my old “Spank it or be spanked” attitude (which is a line from a classic instructional ski video that we have, “Beyond The Groomed”).  Getting my weight slightly forward helped noticeably.

The more I Telemark ski the more at peace I feel on skis.  Thank goodness for that.  I’d hate to feel worse doing tele turns rather than better!  I shall focus on the positive.

I am healed.

Cramps?

January 13, 2016

Here’s yet another observation about my monthly cycles.

I’ve mentioned before that I have increased “symptoms” leading up to ovulation.  I used to feel like those symptoms were a slight worsening of my “prolapse symptoms”…i.e. pressure (that’s been the dominant sensation).

However, last month and especially this month I’ve definitely come to the realization that I’m not really feeling a bit more uncomfortable because of my “prolapse symptoms.”

(Right now it’s cycle day 9 and my fertile days this month are ~9-13 with ovulation expected at day 13.)

At this very moment, I’m almost feeling some old familiar sensations…kind of like abdominal cramping.  Mild, but noticeable.  I haven’t had period cramps in my abdomen since before I was pregnant.  Even in the year-ish before I got pregnant my cramps were super mild to non-existent.  But that’s sort of how it feels right now.

I also definitely have that swollen feeling like I described in a previous post.  But it’s what I’m calling “period pain” that is the NEW thing.  It’s interesting.

It’s a reminder to myself that things are still changing for me.  My body is still changing.  It’s not a worsening of my prolapse symptoms at all.  That gives me peace.

Who knows when I’ll enter into peri-menopause, also.  That’ll be another something new.  I am 44 years old, after all.

Keep this progress marching forward!

I am healed.

No More Exaggerating

January 11, 2016

I think I’m really good at maintaining my lumbar curve…

TOO good.

I feel a little paranoid about putting my pelvis into any degree of pelvic posterior tilt, honestly.  Therefore, I think my standing and walking posture both still have room for improvement.

Sometimes it seems like my posture is not natural, because I’m exaggerating my lumbar curve too much.  If I stand in front of a mirror to check out my side view, I can see the difference when I exaggerate vs when I keep a nice, non-forced lumbar curve vs when I enter into the territory of (posterior) pelvic tilting (I go there verrrrry briefly).

One of my dominant prolapse symptoms lately is a mild feeling of “pulling.”  Sometimes I think I adopt the more forced lumbar curve position because I’m trying to lessen that sensation.  However, for some reason my instincts are telling me that I’m going to see more progress if I settle into a slightly less fully-anteriorly-tilted pelvic posture.

I really think I need to improve my standing posture and improve my walking posture.  It’s going to take focus because I’ve developed strong new habits in the past few months since I found the Whole Woman approach.

I’m looking forward to moving away from the extreme position.  I need to not fear backing off from “max curve” just a little bit.  I need to trust!

I don’t know why I think this, but I feel in my gut that I’m onto something.  I can’t fully explain it, but I’m getting a peaceful feeling (Peaceful, Easy Feeling…ahh…The Eagles!)  This subtle adjustment that I’m starting to make shall further MOLD my pelvic organs into their proper alignment.

I am healed.

Skiing Down, Hiking Up

January 10, 2015

It was another ski weekend for us.

Once again, I definitely noticed that Telemark turns are the best kind of ski turns for my prolapse symptoms.  Beyond that, it feels “the best” for me physically to ski on either smooth, groomed runs or in light, untracked powder.  (That’s the best skiing in general!)

When I do standard old downhill ski turns, I feel fine, but in certain places and situations I can definitely feel somewhat of a pull, a sensation, a “whatever it is I’m feeling” in my lower abdomen region.  (More on that in a separate post.)

At this point, I’m trying not to get myself into too much snow that’s on the heavier side…or wind-affected…or bumped up with moguls…etc.  Basically, I feel best when my body isn’t having to “react” to sudden forces all the time.

And…

As for hiking with my skis, I’m doing that way differently that I used to.

At Mission Ridge (Wenatchee, WA), where we usually ski, we have to hike up Windy Ridge for ~20 minutes to get to the top of the Microwave Tower (starting at the top of the Liberator quad chair).

I used to always carry my skis in front of me, holding them horizontally using the strength in my biceps and upper back.

Now– the reality in my world is that carrying just about ANYTHING in front of me (that has any weight to it at all…think baby, laundry basket, boxes, etc) provokes increased prolapse symptoms and reminds me of what NOT to do.

Therefore, I tend to carry heavier items toward my sides/over one hip whenever possible.  To carry my skis, I’m now training my shoulder muscles.  I’m now carrying my skis over one shoulder, like everyone else does.

My perineum is much more at peace when I shoulder my skis.  I’m not going to carry them in front of me again!

This is just one example of how I’ve learned (and I’m continuing to learn) to modify my daily activities to manage my prolapse symptoms appropriately.  I can still ski, and I can still hike with my skis, but I have to discover what works best for me and what’s best to avoid.

Skiing is a sport and a recreational activity and a hobby that I’m glad I can keep doing AND enjoying.  Our 16.5 month old boy got on his skis in the snow for the first time this weekend!  I’m looking forward to many, many family ski adventures in the near (and far) future.

I am healed.

Throwing Out My Pessary

January 5, 2015

Seven months ago…that was the last time I wore my pessary.  It’s definitely time to throw the darn thing away!

It was January last year that I decided to pursue getting one in the first place.  Back then I hadn’t yet found the Whole Woman website.  Back then I was feeling a whole lot worse than I do now.  Back then I was about 4.5 months post-partum.  Now I’m 16.5 months post-partum.

It wasn’t until mid-February last year when I actually got the pessary.  February 20th to be exact.

I tried wearing the ring pessary on and off for about 4 months.  Yes, there were times when it did cut down the severity of my prolapse symptoms…a little bit.  Yet, most of the time the improvement didn’t last very long at all.  Specifically, within hours it would shift and create its own discomfort.

Eventually it was obvious that the pessary was no real help to me.  Eventually I found the Whole Woman website and I learned why pessaries are not the “answer” to the problem of pelvic organ prolapse.

HOWEVER–

I will say that my pessary did give me one good thing:

It gave me HOPE.  It gave me something to try.  It gave me a small feeling of being in control.  It gave me an option.  It gave me something to actively do in regards to my healing.

Having hope is very important for healing!  The worst thing is feeling like you’ve exhausted all of your options to heal, right?  It’s scary to think that you’re at the end of the line, with NO where else to go.

It took me ~4 months to realize that my pessary wasn’t going to be the solution to my problem.  Yet I had hope for at least some of that time.

Then, when I started following the Whole Woman approach (at >11 months post-partum), I gained a whole new batch of hope.

Now…to the present time.  Do I still have hope?  Do I still have things to try?  Do I feel in control?  Do I have more options?  Am I actively doing something to facilitate my healing?

Sure.

I am trying my hardest to live and function in the optimal posture.  I suppose that’s “all I can do,” but I am also still hopeful that TIME itself will continue to heal.  And I’m not afraid to admit that I do believe in the possibility of big progress without an obvious cause = a miracle.

I don’t plan to lose hope.  Hope keeps me positive.  Hope gives me peace.  Hope is what I’m holding onto.

Pessary, you didn’t help me much, but you did give me hope for a few months.  Thanks for that!  Now off you go to the trash!

I am healed.