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Tomorrow I’m running a 5K race. This is a significant accomplishment for me after living with chronic back pain for about 8 years. I was living with a pain level of 8-9 out of 10. Vacuuming or simply bending over could take me out for a day. I sought chiropractic care, which helped for a few days at best. Finally, four years ago I was diagnosed with a slipped vertebra L5 and S1. After all medical treatments were exhausted; the final option – back surgery. Five hour surgery with pins, rods, screws and would begin in the back and would end in the front.

I struggled reconciling with proceeding due to the invasive nature. In addition, what if it didn’t work? Five hours of surgery, really? I had no peace in moving forward with surgery. I chose to live with the high level of pain. Running became a distant memory, something I loved to do was not feasible. I passively sought other options off and on.

Until earlier this year, my oldest daughter, Ashley and I began a new venture of getting healthy. Serious healthy which included vitamins, supplements and clean eating. About 3 weeks into the healthy venture, I was realizing a high level of energy and a desire to exercise outside of the core exercises. I wanted to run however, I had to stop that 8 years ago due to the pain. So I walked a few days. I began to notice the pain was greatly diminished…I was at about 98% percent pain free. For the past 8 months, I’ve lived with occasional pain at a 3-4 level.

Four years ago, I often found myself on the couch, wallowing in the pain. Grieving the loss of an active life. I focused on the pain. It was all I could think about. Sleeping was difficult. Walking, standing, sitting, laying down, it really didn’t matter the pain was there.  It was top of mind and affected my way of life. I chose to give it the power. I settled for fixating on what I couldn’t do.

It was when I began focusing on what I could do – not on what I couldn’t do that my perspective changed. Choosing to live in hope – hope in having the life I was created for. Maybe running wasn’t an option, however, I could up level the core exercises or walk or ride a bike. Focusing on what I could do – not what I couldn’t do. Hope! And if we are what we eat, would changing my diet make a difference with the pain? Yes! It does. Bonus: my cholesterol dropped 36 points in one year, due to the changes in diet, supplements and exercise. I’m feeling 15 years younger.

Tomorrow I’ll be running the second 5K race in three weeks – pain free! Three weeks ago, I ran a random 5K with my daughter, Rachael. It was a fun, spur of the moment training run with an excellent finish – fastest 5K I’ve ever run and 10 years older! Next goal – a half marathon!

What are you focusing on? Are you moving towards your goals? What are you settling for?

Focus on what you can do – not what you can’t do!