We pull into the small village of Vallorcine, one of the last bastions on the French border before Switzerland. It’s snowing heavily and we know this gondola here is definitely open (as oppose to most of Chamonix which is closed due to the bad weather.) Vallorcine’s red home run is perfect for families – beautiful wide piste through a forest of trees. If no other lifts open else opens, the kids will have an epic time riding that run.
We ask a French lady de-camping her ski gear from her car to take a family snap of us. Then they head off, crunching through the snow, skis balanced on their shoulders, towards the gondola. My husband smiles weakly as he waves a final goodbye before they disappear into the white. He’s gutted too. I turn to the tiny restaurant where I’ll wait it out for them to come down. I can see, looking down, a hunched despondent figure blurred by the falling snow. It’s me.
After 4 weeks of incapacity, I’ve finally got the results of my MRI and they’re not good. A snapped ACL and a hairline fracture in my left tibia. 10 times worse than we feared. For the last 24 hours waves of tears and despair arrive unexpectedly, intermixed with huge bouts of positivity and defiance. I feel like a pregnant lady with raging, unpredictable behaviour. What’s done is done and after the what if’s and why me’s have passed, it’s time to get pragmatic and get real.
Try to see the silver lining of being sat on your backside injured – throw yourself into studying a language, start a hobby or do something (non-physical) you’ve always been meaning to do but never had time.
I’ll batten down in mountain restaurants and sip hot wine or chocolat chaud topped with a mountain of cream, until my girls return, bursting with excitement and chatter. Holed up in the charming L’Arrêt Bougnê restaurant watching the snow fall outside and listening to the gentle chitter chatter of the french language, I watch happy skiers burst through the door shaking off the snow as they arrive for lunch and write this post, how to keep positive during an injury.
1. Get real. Get it into perspective
I don’t have cancer. No-one is dying. We’re blessed to be here right now experiencing this beautiful winter wonderland. Always remember there’s someone else worse off and it’ll make your situation seem like a relative walk in the park.
2. Get out
For the last 4 weeks I’ve spent a lot of time inside blog writing & researching, in a bid for the torn muscle I thought I had to recover. Now I’ve got the full lowdown on my injury, at least I can start rehabilitation, plan my days accordingly and try to make the most of this time in the best way I can. I can’t stand the thought of spending another 5 weeks inside so I’m in a bid to find the best mountain restaurant, the cosiest cafe on the slopes or the most accessible refuges for families.
Mediation is another great way to feel focused and positive, so I’m going to be making sure I carve some time out for this. I’ve heard great reports about the Headspace app.
Of course it’s not that easy. You can’t just switch on a positivity switch if you’re feeling low. By getting into a routine, you’ll minimise moments of despair which are likely to strike when you’re not doing anything. Keeping yourself busy with physio, training (I’m allowed to cycle, walk on the flat with poles & swim front crawl, pilates, yoga), mediation and the other projects you’re going to focus on.For now I’m taking it day by day. I’m sure they’ll be down moments in the days ahead but when it comes down to it – I’m still living in a stunningly part of the Alps, one of the most beautiful places in the world and I feel lucky to be alive.
How have you coped with a sports injury? I’d love to hear your tips for staying positive.