I’m taking a break from wrapping presents, and getting ready for my ballet school’s Nutcracker to write a little. It often crosses my mind as to why I chose to go ahead with a Nutcracker this year knowing I would be recovering from surgery. Pulling this off was already stressful beforehand let alone trying to do it in the state I am right now. I had such wishful thinking that I would be back in all my classes 9-10 weeks after surgery and that keeping everything as normal as possible for work was important. I keep telling myself to just get through this week and I’ll deal with Sunday when it gets here. Hopefully Sunday won’t set me back too much and I’m going to try my best to not overdo it.
Will turned 4 last week and had a Star Wars themed Birthday party. My eyes fill up with tears when I think about how fast my kids are growing. Life is so chaotic with 4 kids and some days you wonder where all the time has gone. How are they already 12, 7, 4 and almost 2? How is that possible? Is there a way to freeze time? Before surgery I was filled to the brim with guilt over putting my kids through this whole process and not knowing how long it would take to feel like myself again. I cried every day I was away from them and the first 3 months even at home. I felt like I was just an absent non existent mother. So much of why I push myself to get better is so I can be there like before. In the grand scheme of things, a year is just a little blip on the map of life. It sure sucks that year had to happen while my last baby is a baby, and I feel tremendously sad that this is how it all happened, but I try to think about all of the fun things we can do once I am feeling better. And let’s face it, not having to change anymore diapers and wipe poo off of butts is a pretty good trade off. Although, there will probably be a day when I cry about missing that too.
Last week, on Will’s birthday, it was also my 5 month post op appointment. I had a long list of questions and concerns and I was extremely anxious. These appointments always make me nervous and give me anxiety. While in the car on the long drive there, I can’t help but think about everything that happened and how it is going to affect me for the rest of my life. The feeling of these long rods screwed into my spine will never go away although hopefully get easier to forget about over time. I will never be able to bend my back or twist or bend side to side EVER. I still get asked this on a daily basis. The answer is never. Then, I have to continue to be cautious and not slip or fall or do anything that could cause a screw or rod to break and hope upon hope that these rods and screws can last the duration of my life without needing to be replaced. I already know somewhere in the future I will need another surgery to fuse the last few levels to my pelvis and boy am I already dreading for that day to come. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer. I guess it’s hard when people think because I am back at work, or can drive Will to preschool or wrap some damn Christmas presents that I must be “better”. Anyways…..my Doctor said that my bones are fusing. One side is fusing better than the other, but she is hopeful that the other side will catch up. She thinks that the first few months and all the added stress on my body prohibited me from really recovering until just recently. Fusions also can take up to 2 years from surgery to heal completely. All my screws are in place as well. We agreed I need to continue with physical therapy. Last week, I began light core muscle exercises with some resistance to help build my stomach muscles back up. Right now, I am having trouble standing up all the way do to the tightness in my hips and hamstrings. When I am not standing straight, it causes my back muscles to fire up causing some pretty crappy back pain. There’s still a long way to go to get this leg working and my shoulder is still causing me trouble as well. I am also still having blackout and dizzy spells which we had attributed to medicine, however, since being off everything for the most part, I am still having these multiple times a day. I was told I need to see a neurologist and get a primary doctor to run some tests.
Last night, we took the kids on a Christmas train ride in Sunol with my In-Laws. When I purchased tickets, I wasn’t even sure I would make it there. Luckily, being handicap has its perks and we were able to park right next to the train. I brought a pillow for back support and sat on a folded blanket. The train attendee even asked if I needed the electric wheelchair stairs to get up onto the train, but I was able to do it holding on and with my cane. The cold weather definitely impacts my pain level and makes my body ache more but I got through it and the kids were happy sipping hot chocolate, eating cookies and looking at the lights. Listening to them sing Christmas songs are especially entertaining. Nicky’s favorite song is Jingle Bells and for some strange reason even though he can pronounce the words correctly, when he sings it, he sings “Jimmy Johns, Jimmy Johns, Jimmy all the waaaayyyy”. At first it also sounded as if he was saying “Give me Job” but nope it’s definitely Jimmy Johns. And this in no way is an advertisement for that sub shop. We have never eaten there.
I’m going to get back to organizing for my shows on Sunday and go eat the head off the chocolate Santa that has been sitting in my pantry calling my name. Happy Holidays and stay well!