This was a post that I waited to write for three weeks… I wanted to know for sure whether this surgery was a definite thing.
As always, Evgeni Plushenko is trying to be optimistic about his situation, but the fact that he’s skipping competition this year suggests to me that there is no avoiding another spinal operation.
I had hoped that when he broke the news to us it would be in a video… with a Russian and English version. It would be asking a lot from him, I know, but it seemed more likely than him getting the gold medal at Worlds in Boston- even if he was healthy enough to go.
But his long heartfelt posting on Instagram had the same effect: Reading/hearing him explain everything in his own words would/will put me at ease about his situation. And I will know what to expect from him- when he says he can’t do something, I will believe him. Compared to all the naysayers that say he shouldn’t, the ones who don’t come from a place of love and admiration.
I give him a lot of credit: he took his recovery after the last surgery very seriously. He didn’t rush back to the ice. He didn’t rush to compete right away. I felt like he did everything right and that his return was inevitable. But that was just me believing in the clichés that occur in every sports movie ever made… life doesn’t always work like that.
Looking forward to this upcoming figure skating season had a lot to do with his return… I’m not going to lie about that…
I made the analogy a few weeks ago that Plushenko is my Edward Cullen [I’m not sure if Russians are familiar with “Twilight”- the book or the movie series] and Team Jacob is composed of all the other male skaters… I enjoy getting to know the other skaters and they helped fill the void that he left behind… but there is only one Evgeni Plushenko… and I imagined him coming back and it would be as if that void never existed.
Nobody will be able to take his place for me.
…and if not for that tiny possibility of him making it to Worlds, I probably never would have thought to calculate whether or not I could afford to go since it was in the United States this year- on the east coast, no less… the answer being that I really can’t afford it.
But it was another good challenge for myself, doing something I wouldn’t have thought to do before, even if I didn’t follow through with it.
The moment I heard the possibility of another surgery, I went back to learning Russian and I felt like I had my first real break-through. Granted, I only understood maybe 15% of Plushenko’s Instagram message, but that’s better than I would have managed without the aid of translation a few months earlier.
masterrussian.com has a section that has 1000 of the most common Russian words and I got halfway through the 2nd page when I was there a couple weeks ago. I felt like it helped me crack the code and more of the language is coming easier to me- being able to recognize more words.
Being able to read and understand of his own words in his own language was not just a victory for me that made me feel good about my studies (however inconsistent they may be)… but I feel like it helps me get to know him better than I would have just reading the translation his official news team posted on the forum.
I can definitely understand his thinking- waiting until March or April for this upcoming surgery. He committed to a lot of skating shows and it would be unfair to his fans that have been looking forward to seeing him.
But there’ll be no quads for Plushenko for a while… maybe not even the triple axels… as good as he’s gotten with them since he injured himself doing one of those jumps, that might even be too much of a risk for him.
Yeah, he said that to compete in the next Olympics, he is willing to do 12 more surgeries.
I can only guess that this next surgery will be to implant another plastic disc in his back to replace another one he fractured doing these difficult jumps in Japan… my thoughts: I hoped he didn’t injure himself trying to add Quad Lutzes to his show programs.
It’s a sad irony: he promoted quads in the sport but they will become the reason he is unable to compete with the younger skaters. Doing anything beyond the quadruple toe loop is just too dangerous. I had my reservations when I heard he was trying Quad Lutzes and Salchows again because I know that’s what led to his first back operation…
A while ago, I wrote a blog post about my own experience with back surgery. in Plushenko’s case, his surgery is less common and there is more risk involved. Plus, he’s someone who needs to have a healthy spine to do what they love.
For me, my surgery was simply straightening my crooked back with titanium screws and rods. It’s the most extreme measure to fix scoliosis- compared to simply getting a back brace- but compared his surgeries, mine was very routine.
For the past three days, I’ve felt pain in my back. My upper back on my right hand side. Usually, it is my lower back that feels the pain, but it’s a very stiff type of pain. The pain I’ve been feeling, Sunday night, it made it hard for me to sleep because there was no comfortable position to lay in bed. It hasn’t been as bad since then- but I feel some sharp pain and some stiff pain.
Because I don’t need my back to be healthy for me to do what I love [and what I love most is writing], I am willing to accept the pain if it means that he doesn’t have to endure his own.
If anything, the pain I’m going through is just down to muscle and resting too long in the same position. It’s something that will go away on its own. It’s not nearly as serious as he’s going through.
Roughly a month from now, I will go back to watching figure skating all the time- with the beginning of the senior Grand Prix season.
I also have a YouTube montage to finish [and possibly another to begin].
I also started a “Snow King” inspired story that I need to finish- and I’ve been playing around with the idea of a sequel to a story I wrote while he was recovering from his last surgery. And at this point, it looks like it will just play out a fantasy that could never take place- like I said, neither of us will be going to Boston next March/April.
The timing of his next surgery will also prove interesting… by that point, I’ll probably not be watching any more figure skating until the following season… which means that the next time I watch any skating, it will be the next time he returns to the ice… if only to train.
As far as things to look forward to, I plan to spend this weekend watching all the other test skates at Sochi (which he was unable to go to)… and hopefully the footage of him with Miyu Honda will be posted on YouTube on Sunday…