Monday, January 30, 2012

Pride Had Nothing To Do With This Fall!

Goshen Prong Trail - GSMNP
January 24, 2012

Oh boy, did I ever take a tumble.  But before you panic and begin sending encouraging words my way, I am happy to report that my "fall" had nothing to do with eating or was in any way related to the current success I am experiencing with losing weight.  In fact, I have yet another week of healthy eating behind me alternating between Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 of the 17-Day Diet.  It has become second nature to me and I'm truly enjoying the way I am eating, the wide variety of food I am eating and most importantly, the way I am feeling both physically and emotionally.

Nope, this "fall" was of the very real variety when one loses their footing, dances around for a few seconds trying to regain their balance and then realizes just before hitting the ground that this really is going to happen.   Every serious hiker falls occasionally.  There are just too many hazards along the trail to avoid.  I'm naturally pretty clumsy, but this was only the third time I've taken what could've been a serious tumble.  And that's in over 20 years of hiking.   

I haven't written a whole lot about the fact that I was diagnosed at age 28 with Acute Rheumatoid Disease.  My original diagnosis and years of pain while finding the proper treatment plan is fodder for several posts, but the miracle is that with the advances in treatment options for the disease, mine has pretty much been in remission for several years although I have been experiencing some pain that started early last year.  HOWEVER, for someone like me, falling can have major consequences that don't show up immediately.  A jolt to the body can easily trigger a major flare which often leads to full blown disease progression.  

All that to say, for obvious reasons, I try to be extra vigilant while on the trail in order to avoid falling.  I am so grateful just for the fact that I can hike since for about five years in the late 80's, I could barely walk, much less do any form of physical activity other than work.  Some have told me I shouldn't take the risk, but to me, the risk is in NOT pursuing the things which benefit me physically and mentally.  

Looking back, I have no idea what caused me to fall and that's the way it often is.  The trail was relatively flat, smooth, not rutted or rocky.  In hindsight, it is likely that I looked up or around at something that caught my eye and just stumbled.  And I hit the ground!!  First my knees, then my elbows, then my nose and lastly, forehead.  And I saw stars!!  Scared my hiking bud to death.  But there was no blood, the stars cleared pretty quickly and although I knew my right elbow was injured, it wasn't bad enough to turn around.  Nothing broken, all teeth still in place and no knot on forehead.  I was lucky.  Very lucky!

This happened on Tuesday.  By Friday, the swelling in my elbow had returned to normal and I had all mobility back.  Both elbows, knees and chin are bruised, but not badly.  The only thing still sore is my upper arms which probably caught the brunt of the fall as I tried to catch myself.  Mr. B and I actually returned to the hiking trail yesterday and enjoyed hiking together.  He did, however, have to help me lift my pack onto my shoulders because my upper arms are still so sore.  

Why am I telling you all this?  Because it was a vivid reminder to me that life is all about falling.  We will all fall.  We live in a fallen world and our lives will always be impacted by the ways in which we personally fall as well as the "falls" taken by people we love.  They will also be impacted by the "falls" of people we've never even met.  

So what do we do?  We get up.  We check for injury.  We sit still for a moment to allow the stars to clear.  We hold out our hands for help getting up.  We move on.  We live with the consequences.  We handle the pain.  We wonder if we could have or should have done anything differently.  Sometimes we cry.  And one day, the pain from that particular circumstance is gone and we put it behind us.  Until the next time.  Because there WILL be a next time.  

It had been almost two years since the last time I fell, but mostly likely, I will fall again.  

Whether we are talking about a faceplant 5.5 miles in the backcountry of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, an epic fail in the kitchen, a conversation we'd love to retract, angry words that should've been left unsaid, or an eating binge of  monumental proportions, we are fallen human beings and we will continue to fall as long as we live on this earth.  





  1. Yikes! Sorry for your fall. I'm glad everything seems to be getting better. I love your attitude and am glad you're doing so well on your new diet plan. Keep it up!

  2. Oh I do love a good analogy:) What's that saying? "Fall down 7 times; get up 8?" Something like that.

  3. Well, I'm glad you're okay after taking such a tumble! Oh, we do fall again and again. It's so true that giving up is the failure and not the fall.

    So pleased to read you're still on a roll with this newer eating plan. HOORAY!!

  4. Oh MY! I am so glad you weren't seriously injured. I hope this doesn't trigger a flare up.

    I appreciate your using the experience as a great analogy.

  5. This was just great Sharon! That line "life is all about falling." is fantastic. Yes, it is. And people who live their whole lives trying to avoid 'falling,' that is one of my biggest pet peeves. Because you can't convince them otherwise. Anyway, thank you for your thoughts, and I am glad you are okay.

  6. I'm so glad you weren't seriously hurt!

    Life IS all about falling. If we're never going to risk it, we're not going to do very much, are we?

  7. I'm glad to hear you're alright!
    And yes, life IS about falling. All we can do is try again. And again. :)

  8. Gravity wins out sometimes even with our best efforts. I, too, am glad you did not get seriously injured. Watch your steps, Sharon!

    I fell a few years ago on the ice and broke my leg. Believe me it would have been easy never to go out on the ice again. But, after I healed, I go out on the ice every year just because I can. Falling and then facing your fears and moving forward is all part of a well lived life in my book. I know it is in yours to. Have a great week!

    How much have you lost know with this new diet now??

  9. That photo makes me think it's springtime there - and I know it isn't. What crazy weather!
    Thank goodness you weren't hurt any more than that, Sharon. So grateful that your swelling is going down and that you didn't break anything.
    Love the analogy. Have a great night.

  10. I love that photo and I am happy to know you are okay. Thank goodness you had a walking partner.

    This story and your words of wisdom really hit home for me. I am moving on and today was day 4 on the 17 Day Diet for me. Yesterday I was really wanting some carbs but didn't. We did have dinner at a friends house so I didn't have control over the food.I did the best I could and took a small portion of the entree even though it contained beans not on the first cycle but a 1/4 cup is about all I had.

    Mentally I feel better because I am moving forward and doing something new and different!

  11. YES---we do all fall!!!!! I was coming out of a restaurant once and stepped off of a curb ---and fell flat on my face... I didn't hurt myself --but I was so embarrassed.... Yes---we all do fall.

    I'm very careful when hiking --but there was a time I did fall... It was rainy and muddy and I was heading downhill. Lost my balance and just sat down--backwards... I wasn't hurt --but was muddy from head to toe...

    Hope you are doing okay... Falls do shake up our systems for sure..


  12. To have come from barely walking, to doing the hiking you so love... I agree it's important to do that which gives you joy. I'm glad the injuries are healing well. And I really appreciated your analogy to the falls in life... so true. We WILL fall. But yes, we WILL also get up.
    Loved this post.

  13. So glad you are OK!! Really love this post! I needed to hear this today. I hope your pain subsides soon! Take care of yourself!!!

    Keep focused!

  14. So glad that you are okay and still have your amazing attitude intact!

  15. I love your writing and your wisdom girl!
    I remember this poem called The Race or something like that where this young man was racing in a race and he falls. He contemplates how it really is over and he'll never win the race now. He thinks of those words "loser" and the negative comments he may hear. They he see's his father stand up in the stands and the look on his father's face says "Get up, and win the race" And so with renewed conviction he gets up and runs his best and finished (but doesn't win). When he see's his father he apologizes for not winning but his father was so proud of him and said that winning is simply rising each time you fall.
    The way the poem was written has often brought tears to my eyes because it symbolizes so many things. Just like your post here and how you fell. We all will fall. It's the getting up and moving forward after the fall that defines our character.
    I love your courage and your strength and kindness. I would love to be a hiker... maybe I will!!
    Take care and have a great weekend, Sharon!

    God bless....