one step forward… two steps back

Friday, I sheepishly returned to my very favorite Boot Camp Workout. Despite recognizing nearly half the faces of my classmates, I was paralyzed with shyness and retreated to the back row ducking into my baggy t-shirt and black sweats to hide my support hose and newly gained girth. It’s an intense class with a very fit clientele– these women have muscles, toned abs and really cute workout clothes.

I did my best to keep up and quickly became giddy with the sensation of feeling my muscles work and extend; sweat pouring down my forehead. The class moves around the room and I was in the front row, reaching deep for a lunge-kick when the lady behind me kicked me square in the calf.

Are you a football player? My neighbor Matt is, so he described exactly what happened next. My calf muscle, spasmed, knotted and threw me to the floor.

With the assistance of a sweet classmate and my skills at left-footed driving I made it to the car and then home where I crawled to the couch for the rest of the day. All the kids were home from school and they dutifully brought me water, handfuls of Advil and a new novel every few hours. I watched helplessly as the room filled with clutter and debris– and I prayed, “OK, Lord. I’m sorry I complained so long about not running. Please let me walk. Just let me walk.”

Do you do that? Do you have days where you are struck with the sheer amazement of walking and reaching and sweeping a floor? And do you ache for those who cannot?

By Saturday, I’d created a shuffle-hop that was adequate to take me to 3 out of 4 soccer games and even to Costco with the three littles. But my slurred steps were filled with pain, every movement involved wincing and each misstep a sharp cry of agony. And I prayed, “Have I whined about sore muscles? Never again. Thank you God. Thank you for the freedom to fold laundry and pick up messes and make cookies in this aging but able body.”

And I pondered– as I have many times over the years– how people with arthritis or fibromyalgia or a dozen other diseases make it through each day?

At home, Erik had decided to clean all the carpets in the entire house, which of course(besides a huge mess) precludes 7 family members contracting the stomach flu the very next day. And again, I spent the day on the couch and crawling to the toilet and finding bowls for the most ill and rather impatiently bellowing, “No, I am NOT making dinner!” But I must say that illness is soooooo much easier when everyone is old enough to make it to the bathroom or a bucket– I well remember the years of toddlers throwing up all down the hall and the stairs and right in the middle of the oriental rug….

And when Erik, whose violent illness seems to require an exorcist more than a doctor, is oh-so-very-sick, I can only feel grateful that he isn’t going through chemotherapy where I’m sure the nausea would kill him quicker than the cancer.

I’ve never been one to say, “I didn’t think that could happen to me!” Because my wild imagination has considered every tragic scenario– death, illness, maiming etc– I plan Erik’s funeral every time he’s 1/2 hour late and I am still amazed, completely astounded that I and all my children survived childbirth.

But I do forget how blessed I am today. And knowing that the future night bring my family wheelchairs and arthritis and most likely, cancer, only makes me grateful for those divine nudges to enjoy every day of walking and wrestling and eating apples.

But did I mention it snowed 6″ yesterday? ‘Cause that really stinks.

March 26, 2009
April 2, 2009



  1. martha corinna

    March 30, 2009

    Unfortunately for me it often takes loosing something for me to be grateful for just the basic simple pleasures that I’ve been so blessed with.

    And I always think the highway patrolmen are going to show up at my door when Brad is late.

  2. Blue

    March 30, 2009

    holy airsickness bags robin!! i had no idea what transpired on your front after we got off the phone. i’m so sorry! are you all better now though? ♥

  3. Linn

    March 31, 2009

    Oh my goodness. That sounds absolutely horrible! You are incredible to focus on being grateful that it isn’t worse. Wow, doesn’t sound that great to me. I hope you ALL get well soon!

  4. sarah

    March 31, 2009

    OH MY!!! What a weekend you had. SO sorry girl. We have gone through the rounds of all 7 of us barfing- wish I had grown kids to know where to do it and NOT on my oriental rug (or Pottery Barn rug) I think I have scrubbed carpets at least 6 times this week. Hope you are all feeling better and that leg of yours heals quick. Nothing like a mom who can’t get around. Hang in there.

    Oh, got the CD’s on Wed. Great pics. THanks so much. My brother will treasure them forever and ever. I hope my mom has dropped a check off- if not please let me know- she tends to be a little forgetful sometimes. I will chat tomorrow with her and remind her if she hasn’t already done so. Thanks again. HOpe to chat soon. HUGS.

  5. Jeanelle

    March 31, 2009

    you poor, poor thing. I am SO sorry for all of the stuff you’re dealing with now. I wish there was something I could do…just know I’m sending your way all of the healthy calf muscles and settled stomach vibes I can.

  6. Jeanette

    March 31, 2009

    Man! I am so sorry! Yucky, no body likes being sick and I think it’s 100% worse when Mom or Dad get it! Your so fabulous to see the silver lining in it all, that’s amazing!

  7. m_and_m

    March 31, 2009

    Yuck. I hate stomach bugs almost worse than anything. I’m pretty sure nausea would kill me before chemo, too. (That was going to be one of my examples on my most recent posts at Segullah…but it would have put me over 600 words. hehe)

    Being sick and injured hasn’t hurt your writing at all, though, friend. Your posts hit right at the heart.

  8. Tracy

    March 31, 2009

    Oh sweetie – I hope you are all on the mend. Man-sick is really the worst though isn’t it? 😉

  9. Dave's World

    March 31, 2009

    Very few times in life are we presented with an opportunity like this. Please be grateful and realize we will all one day be envious.

    When crowds of friends gather, and the mood turns to story telling, as it always does, you have been blessed with a great injury story, being kicked in an exercise class…. classic. With the addition of barf, you will have the attention of everyone within ear shot.

    And we will all leave the gathering wishing our story had the following of Michelle’s. Somewhat hoping that one day soon we might experience something similar. Not for the pain of it, or even for the learning that comes with tragedy, but for the opportunity to tell a real zinger.

    Well done my friend, and with hopes of an even better story, let the barfing continue.

  10. Kim

    March 31, 2009

    Goodness – it all sounds so awful! Kurt is the same way when he gets a stomach bug – it sounds like his body has been inhabited by a very violent alien. I do hope that your leg is better soon – I can’t even imagine! Hang in there! I’m really sorry about the snow too – ours has finally melted but I know better than to think winter is over yet…

  11. Katie

    March 31, 2009

    I am so sorry to hear that the plague has swept over your house. Three of us are sick here and it stinks that I can’t open the windows to let the germ infested air out… because it is 34 degrees outside. I am not sure why I live here.

  12. Shannon & Eli

    March 31, 2009

    michelle- hey this is shannon (whitehead) staker. I have a friend looking for someone to take headshots for his acting career. He needs his updated. Is that something you would be intersted in doing? I LOVE your work and I think you would do a great job for him. Could you email me at and let me know what you would charge and what it would include? He would need some printed up and also a cd with them. THanks soo much!!! (Ps. he has been on several commercials that I am sure you have seen and also in movies with jennifer anniston. He is in I still know what you did last summer…one of the main boys! Not that that matters but just an fyi!!! Thanks)

  13. Travelin'Oma

    March 31, 2009

    You’ve reminded me to count my blessings instead of my aches and pains. Hope your hospital turns back into a home very soon!

  14. dalene

    April 2, 2009

    So sorry you’ve been so ill. Feel better soon (all of you!).

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