November 30th marked the one-year "anniversary" of my fall. I am pretty strong-willed, so much of the past year has been my trying to work my butt off (actually it would be more like working my butt on because after 4 months of bed rest and weight-bearing restrictions w/ my lower right side, my gluteal muscles [and entire right leg] totally atrophied...I looked pretty pathetic). Surprisingly, I had a window of time this summer where my ankle pain was starting to decrease for a while, but toward the end of August that changed. The grinding and pain in my ankle was confirmed with an x-ray showing significant degeneration of the joint. Sigh....as is the case with most traumatic injury, recovery often becomes a long-range goal, with lots of inconvenient detours.
I really had not sat down and tallied all of my surgeries, but just today I realized that I am getting ready for surgeries # 10 (hardware removal Dec. 19th) and 11 (ankle replacement, in roughly three months), in addition to an L4 / L5 medial branch Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)....although that procedure freaks me out. Still, I am thankful that the worst part is behind me.
Toward mid-summer, I mentioned to Scott that I need to be somewhere beautiful, with good people and good energy (and hopefully climbing) on the "year anniversary" day. I needed a plan with something to look forward to (our first-ever mini-vacation without the kids), to celebrate getting through the tough year....so we planned a long-weekend trip to Red Rock Canyon outside of Vegas. What began as an envisioned "moving on" trip morphed into more of a "last hurrah" excursion....before getting emotionally and physically ready for another winter of being laid-up. The trip was wonderful in every respect...
- I have learned how to receive....and to be accepting of care (I was horrible at this before!)
- My/our friendships have deepened and become much richer. There are really no words to express how important this has been in my life. (and ya'll know who you are!)
- I have slowed down enough to see the little increments of growth in my children, and am amazed at their resilience. Both of the kids have thrived dispite the difficulties of this past year.
- I have developed a greater appreciation for natural beauty (because I have slowed down and taken the time to notice...more than usual), and have the desire to drink it all in as much as I can. This has spilled into a natural sense of wonder in my children.
- I have become more aware of the journey of other folks who struggle. As part of my own self-imposed spiritual "therapy" I have been volunteering in the spiritual care department at Froedtert Hospital, and have spent time with many, many folks in their pain and anguish. This experience has helped me to keep things in perspective, and has truly been a gift. It has helped me to move on through many-a-day where I would have thought of throwing-in-the-towel (only to have a heart-felt connection with another person who validates the need to keep on, keeping on.)
- I am once again, truly grateful for my husband and family. This realization has been a constant.
- I have learned how to live in the moment...and to savor it.
I guess all I've tried to do is get through, not give up, and keep believing. That's it. There really is no alternative, is there? Apparently tenacity must count for something.