10,000 Pieces

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It’s an interesting journey, repairing the broken.  Especially when what’s broken feels more like putting together a 10,000-piece puzzle than anything else.

That’s kind of how I feel right now.

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As I shared in my last post, recovering and rebuilding from Lyme disease is proving to be an interesting and rather entertaining journey. Hitting the Hiwassee this summer has definitely highlighted this.  I haven’t gotten my tail handed to me on a silver platter, but my eyes have most certainly been opened to things of which I wasn’t even aware.

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For first time ever in my recollection, I’ve discovered what it feels like to be on the water – any water – and not want to throw up my toenails.  Until this summer, being seasick was the norm for me in pretty much any situation involving me and boats or boards. I just always dealt with the nausea because – as I mentioned – I assumed everyone got at least a little queasy.  Well… You know what happens when one assumes! My body/boat/water connection has taken on a whole new meaning, and everything just feels different: the boat, the water, even me. All the little pieces of my water world, and my life in general, are starting to fall back into place save one, tiny, niggling issue: my endurance.

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My endurance?  Yeah…  Well, it just isn’t there.  And for right now, I’m ok with that; I’m working on it. For so many reasons, I fully expect that to take the longest to rebuild.

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And then there’s my roll… Ahhh… my roll.  Hmmm…

A couple of good friends who’ve been in the whole LymeKnow from the get-go with me have graciously and patiently been working with me over the course of this summer to help me bring this skill back. Up until about three weeks ago my roll was just definitely not happening. No matter what I did or didn’t do, I simply could not put all the pieces together to execute any kind of successful roll, even on flat, non-moving water.  Maybe it was because I had my mind stuck on thinking that the issue was that the first roll I learned was a back deck roll in a sea kayak with a Greenland stick, and all the folks working to bring me back up to speed are whitewater folks… I dunno. What I do know, though, was that I honestly can’t tell you if my abs have hurt more over the course of this summer from laughing so hard at myself and the irony of everything, or if they legit hurt from all the bajillion hours of practice I put in relearning my roll.  Regardless, I can tell you that I’ve got some exceedingly patient and talented folks in my life to and for whom I am extremely grateful!  Long story short, I’ve finally got my roll back, the river feel amazing, and there’s not enough time in the week for me to spend the hours I want to on the water.

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In regards to Lyme and how the rest of my world is progressing, suffice it to say that I have a whole new appreciation for everything.  I continue to discover new things each day that I can’t do anymore but once could.  I also am surprised – and frequently caught off guard – on a daily basis by not only what comes back, but when and how things do come back.

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All of that said, my simple encouragement to you here is simply to slow down and enjoy life.  So many things can be too easily taken for granted.  For me, this includes my friends. To that, I would like to give a heartfelt shout out to my Exploration Team teammate Chris Audet for sincerely encouraging me to not only go back to square one, but to also be at peace with being in that space.  I also owe a huge big ton of my love and appreciation to Samantha Ruppelt, Allison Ware, Colleen Smith, and Terri Chapin. Each of these ladies has been a ginormous support to me throughout this crazy journey that is Lyme disease and all that it entails, and each has played a vital role in me being able to get back on the water and back up to speed. For all the roll practice, stroke analysis, and endurance training sessions, thank you. I would not be where I am today without any of you.

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To everyone else out there, now more than ever I can honestly say that I look forward to seeing you on the water.

Safe and happy boating to you and yours!

Samantha

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