The little things and the big things: the hand break and the three digit kilo squat

It has been 69 days since I was released from the hospital with the prediction that I would never lift again and prescriptions to wear a rigid corset for six months, in total immobilization, no bending of the torso and obviously no lifting or exercising at all.

As is well known, I benched 5 days later. The pain was excruciating and the strength was severely eroded. Three weeks later I was nearly at 90% of my previous level, but still in a lot of pain.

Squatting began about a month ago after I met Dr. Nemi Sabeh, sports orthopedist, who told me that I could squat light and that nobody better than me to know what light meant.

The little things were still there, though. Pulling and releasing the hand break in the car, inadvertently picking up something in a weird movement, all reminded me that inside my back there was inflamed tissue, possible soft bone in recovery, necrotic disk tissue and who knows what else.

As I was leaving my parents’ house today, suddenly I realized the hand break didn’t bother me  anymore. I smiled thinking how such a small thing meant so much to me.

Until this week, all squatting had been very high volume very light lifting. I decided to go for a 5 rep three digit kilo weight. Just a 100kg. I thought it over for a few days. Should I or should I not? Too bold? Nemi’s words echoed in my mind: “light weight – she knows what light is: it is light for her”.

I had done sets of 80kg before. That is light weight, real light. What big differe nce is there to reach up to 100kg? Light weight. That is incredibly light for me. My daughter’s advice also echoed in my mind: “You are reckless to train alone at night at you place. What if something happens? You live alone, nobody checks on you.”

So today I decided to propose Hugo that I’d help him with benching and he’d help me with squatting. He’d be there “in case something horrible happened”.

Nothing horrible happened. I squatted deep and nice five times with 100kg on my back and the three digit barrier was conquered.

A part of me wanted to load more weight to the bar. Nothing huge: just up to 120kg for fives. Another part held me back: the 100kg squat was already bold enough. I am not three months away from surviving well a spinal infection that partly ate away two vertebrae.

Today was one of those days to be grateful for everything and most of all, to be proud of my indomitable will.

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