02 Dec

It has officially been 4 weeks of being botox free (yay!), which feels incredibly different from what I’m used to.  Muscles that were once ‘numbed’ are active again after 3 years in a good way and a bit challenging for me in other ways.

At dryland last Sunday, we did a circuit with some pretty neat exercise that really engaged my trapezius, elevator scapular, rhomboideus (minor and major), surpraspinatus, infraspinatus and deltoids (those are the major ones).  It was really neat to come home and feel stronger, more open and taller however, I did over do it a with the last set.  Despite only doing the 3/4 sets, I knew that I should have to taken it easier but let the momentum carry me away.

I woke up Monday to see Nicole to get some physiotherapy done and we celebrated the little achievement together with some laser work (hahahaha).  She said to continue to do the exercises I’ve been doing and she’ll see me in two weeks.
That afternoon,  I went to the pool swam 66 laps and noticed that I was having some pain in my arm and neck towards the end so I warmed down.  Oh and the most amazing thing happened!  My missing flip flops showed up!! I guess I had the same size feet as someone else and they took my flip flops about 3 weeks ago! I was walking in someone else’s shoes!

On Wednesday morning, I headed to practice.  It wasn’t a hard one, but it did require some consistency to really maximize the work out.  It was 800m x 3 sets broken down into smaller sets and I found myself stopping after 200m to breath and stretch my neck and arm a little bit.  I felt a feeling I was all to familiar with…

I tried to adjust the intensity of my swim (even though I was only going about 60%) but after just 1,600m I knew that if I continued, what was going to happen was going to be a lot worse.  There I was in the shallow end explaining what was about to happen so that my coach and lane mates didn’t freak out.  Before I could even finish my neck twisted, my face pulled, my abs engaged my arm locked – I was in a full spasm.  Despite having experiences with spasms like this before, it was as if I was having one for the first time.  I was embarrassed, shocked, and frustrated, not at my dystonia, but at myself.  I didn’t listen to what my body was saying on Monday.  Tears streamed down my face as I mentally apologized to my body.   I closed my eyes and began visualizing my body relaxing, and after about 5 minutes I was good to go.  Exhausted, but I was fine.

I haven’t had a spasm since April 2017, and when I go a long time without an episode I tend to forget that it can actually happen and then I deeply reflect on all levels, spiritually, emotionally, and physically about why it happened.  Was I distracted that I didn’t pick up the queue earlier?  What has been happening around me emotionally and energetically that I haven’t dealt with?  What stresses do I need to minimize?  Did I nourish my body?
The truth is, I was distracted with life and I didn’t take the time necessary to rest or nourish my body like I needed to.  This spasm was just building up inside and waiting to scream at me.

As Friday approached, I was sharing what had happened with my dear friend Megan.  She had just started laps swimming after 5+ years earlier in the week and was enthusiastic to swim again. (check out my Instagram and Facebook page for the post!)

“I’ll help you swim your 80 laps!”, she said laughing.
“REALLY!! OMG Meg, it’s going to be so much fun!!”, I exclaimed.

I was so pumped, the sun was shining, and my tunes were playing.  My vibe was pretty high! Then, it hit me.  I was sharing my dystonia with my friend and it was a positive uplifting experience.  I am incredibly blessed for this friendship of 22 years.  Thank you Megan for participating in the Laps of Love challenge and contributing to my lap goal.   It really means the world to me.

We made a short video with an updated lap total and I dedicated my laps to a recent anonymous donation of $50. (Thank you!)


See you in the pool,


Sumbul Zafar

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