I’ve done a lot of crazy things in my life, maybe more than my share, but do I live with tons of regret? Nope. Not even for the extreme sport injuries I’ve suffered. There are a few situations I wish I had handled differently, there are a few things I haven’t forgiven myself for. The road I’ve traveled to get where I am right now was a dirt road, covered in potholes, and I’m super proud to have made it through. I’ve also learned a lot.
One thing I’ve learned the hard way is the brutality of extreme sport injuries later in life.
What I know in my 40’s is that each and every day is precious. I am humble and grateful, forgiving and loving. I care more about the environment, and my body is a temple.
Or more accurately a mayan ruin!
For years I ate ibuprofen every day to combat pain and inflammation resulting from repeated trauma to my body. More recently I changed my diet to help eliminate inflammation.
Two herniated discs in my neck from a harsh opening didn’t stop me from continuing to skydive for several years. A herniated disc in my back suffered while riding the back of a bmw motorcycle on a trip above the Arctic Circle didn’t stop me from taking up motocross in my 30’s. Nor did a second neck injury when I was clotheslined off my dirtbike on a trail on Cozumel. It wasn’t until a neurosurgeon admonished me to “stop falling on your head because your next fall will likely result in paralysis or death”, that I looked for a low impact adrenaline rush.
Yes, there is such a thing! Freediving offers a terrific charge when you hold your breath, dive as deep as you can, wriggle through cracks in the rock while trying not to get stung by fire coral and then dolphin kick for the surface expelling the last of the air in your lungs so you can gasp as soon as you break the surface.
A few years ago the injuries caught up to me in a big way. I tried sports massage, went to a chiropractor, had cortisone injections and acupuncture with electricity coursing through the needles. For a while, I was gobbling prescription anti-inflammatory pills, muscle relaxers, and narcotic pain pills. It seemed as if that was going to be what it took to get through the day. Then I got back into a daily yoga practice and spent time each day strengthening my core. Within a few months, I was off the prescription medications completely. I was able to run and play tennis again which happily let me replace my adrenaline addiction with endorphins!
I’m so glad I got myself in such good shape because the next big adventure really took it’s toll. I got pregnant at 39 and soon added plantar fasciitis in both feet and De Quervain’s tendinitis – an inflammation of tendons below the thumb in both hands.
Please don’t try this – ever!
These days, as a mom to a fearless daughter, I’m more inclined to look back on my foolishness with a new kind of horror. Will my child, a daring girl who understands very little about gravity yet, be pulled into that world? Will I, like my mother did, get postcards describing feeding sharks in the Bahamas, decompression dives in blue holes, skydives in Venezuela, cave dives in the Yucatan? I don’t even want to imagine my daughter someday describing the rush she got doing something crazier than anything I ever did!
In the years since I gave birth to my daughter I’ve been apologizing to my mom – a lot.
So, if I knew back then the price I would pay for all that reckless fun and adventure, would I have even paused to consider it?