Happy Anniversary...

I almost forgot that a year ago today, I was in the midst of a 7 hour surgery. I almost forgot that the night before I couldn't sleep because of the fear and terror that kept my heart racing. I almost forgot that the entire month of December leading up to the 27th, thoughts of the surgery and what it could fix or destroy consumed my every waking moment.

But when I remembered...I felt like it is almost like I was looking at memories of a funeral. A very painful funeral, where I had to let go of any hope of ever having a "normal" back. A funeral where I had to sit there and experience the pain of that loss in order to fully mark it as a signpost in my life. To pretend that the loss was not there, or that it was not painful, would be a lie. But in the aftermath of that funeral, that death, and that loss, I am living a whole new life that is full of joy, hope and so wonderful that I almost forgot about the death that enabled me to live this way in the first place.
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Where can I go from Your Spirit? 
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Hell, behold, You are there....
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.
(Psalm 139)
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When I woke up this morning, spent some time in the Word, fed my dog and went for a walk, my surgery was not the first thing that popped into my head. How quickly I have moved on into this new life! I am so busy with work and friends, family and our new home, my husband and our adoption journey, that I only think about my surgery in a passing sort of way. When I get a lightning bolt sensation of a nerve roaring back to life, or when I can't quite reach the remote under the couch, I remember. Or when I have driven 6 hours in 2 days and realize I couldn't do that for the last 4 years...I remember. Or when I place my hand on my back where my hump used to be....I smile, and remember.

What A Difference A Year Makes!
The memories of the surgery itself are so horrible and painful, and fresh in my mind I can't pretend even a year has dulled their sharp teeth. It is the most painful, most awful, most depressing, most dreary thing I have ever endured. The "death" of my life before the surgery was not quick nor remotely painless. But, it was necessary and it has allowed me to come to life in a way that I couldn't have imagined before I took that leap into darkness.
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I am so thankful for all of you who have joined me in this journey over the last year. Thank you for your prayers and continued support. I probably won't blog as often anymore. But I will keep updating from time to time, because this journey doesn't end at one year post-op. It is a journey that will last my entire life, and I want to be here to support others on this same road, and let you all know how my God has healed me and continues to heal me each and every day.

make your bed!

I mentioned a while ago that I am high maintenance, and therefore was considering purchasing a new bed. Well, I got it! My sweet husband decided it was time I had a bed I could actually make...although I'm not sure if his motive was entirely pure. Since I had the surgery, sheet changing has pretty much fallen into his already very full jurisdiction. So when he suggested that we go ahead and sell our old low-profile Asian style platform bed, I was excited and also realized I would have to start changing sheets again (no excuses now!).

I am now able to change the sheets like a normal person, and after doing that for the first time yesterday, I can't tell you what a strange feeling of satisfaction I got from doing such a mundane, every-day activity. I didn't have to ask for help, and it was freeing. I can do a lot of things without asking for help these days, but there are a fair number of things that I will probably need help with the rest of my life because of my fusion. But it was nice to put changing the sheets back into the category of things I can do without assistance.

Asking for, or needing help is nothing to be ashamed of, of course. But when something that seemingly insignificant becomes too hard for you to do suddenly, it can really get under your skin. My husband never complained, and didn't mind taking on another chore for the last year. But that didn't change the fact that every week when they needed to be washed, I was reminded that I couldn't do it...because of my back.

I am finding ways to get around my fusion, and don't really notice it too often. But sheets need changing on a regular basis, and it just didn't make sense to hold onto a bed that I couldn't reach! So while some things I've given up doing (at least for now), and there are some things I've found new ways to do (like putting on shoes and socks), sometimes I just have to let go and accept that I need things a certain way in order to do them!

I really appreciate things now that are high up, and don't require any bending, even though I can bend a lot further now than I could a year ago. We recently moved into a new home and the oven is up off the floor. I am now able to cook things that I couldn't since my surgery, since I was too afraid (and not strong enough) to lift heavy things in and out of the traditional oven we had at our old place. I probably would have gotten used to the old one eventually, and figured out ways to safely cook with it, but I really love that our new one requires zero bending and therefore is much safer and easier on my spine.

We also recently bought baby furniture for the baby we hope to adopt in the near future. I purposely bought a changing table with a hutch over it where I can store all the wipes and diapers so that I don't have to reach below while trying to hold onto a squirming baby. I think about all those things now a lot more, and it really pays off.

I don't feel like the fusion holds me back, and it doesn't nearly as much as my debilitating pain used to. But it is definitely easier on me when I consider my limitations and find ways to work around them.

It's amazing how different my life looks now, at almost a year post-op. Yes, sometimes I get frustrated at my fusion, or at how simple tasks can sometimes require extra thought or consideration. But, overall, I am thankful that I can do any of these simple tasks at all! Making your bed may not seem like a luxury to you, but to me it is just one more thing that I can add to my list of "can do"...and I'm thankful for every little thing on it.