Three Years...

At this same time, three years ago, I was well underway into my seven hour surgery. That surgery changed my life forever, and for the better. The hours leading up to it were terrifying and overwhelming, and I can still remember with crystal clarity how nauseous with apprehension I was.

I remember going back into the pre-op prep area of the hospital and taking deep breaths trying to remain calm. I did a pretty good job up until they started inserting the PICC line into my arm and the CVC into my neck. Apparently I started crying, though I wasn't aware of it at the time (they told me afterwards). At that point I wasn't too worried about dying, or even the risk of full paralysis. I was just dreading the months of horrible pain, and depressing immobility. I remember feeling so sad that I had chosen to put myself through yet another surgery, and had a few minutes of true self pity. 

Thankfully, those drugs they give you to help you to stay calm kicked in quickly and I don't remember anything after them inserting the line in my neck. The next thing I remember is waking up in my recovery room and being asked if I could point my toes, which I could, and feeling a HUGE sense of relief.

Fast forward to today, I am walking around (often running after my almost 2 year old son), able to live in a way I was incapable of before I entered that OR. It took me a long time to accept the fact that I had, and still have a type of disability. But once I did, it really helped me appreciate the things I am able to do, rather than be focused on all the things I can't. And I can do so much

To be freed from a constant, worsening, overwhelming pain is probably one of the greatest gifts I've ever been given, aside from my husband and son. To be able to enjoy life instead of feeling like my body was a prison, has changed my perspective forever. I feel it is a sort of privilege to have that kind of appreciation of freedom and joy at only 31 years of age.

It's amazing, and hard to describe, but I am still seeing improvement and recovery in my back at three years post-op. The body is a marvelous thing, and its ability to heal after such huge trauma astounds me. I remember a few days after I had gotten home from the hospital that I couldn't reach the faucets in the bathroom to wash my hands. My muscles were so stiff and taught after the surgery. I remember thinking that it was going to be like that forever. That I would never be able to reach them again! I laugh when I think about that now, how dismal it seemed. Here I am, three years post-op and not only can I reach sink faucets, I can wrangle a wild toddler, find things under the couch, and paint my toenails. 

To those of you reading my blog who have yet to take the plunge into scoliosis surgery, I will tell you it is the hardest thing I haven chosen to do. But I will also tell you it has had the greatest rewards. I would do it over again. This experience taught me to appreciate life, my true friends, and my loving family in a way that I don't think I would have if I had never walked through that dark valley.

three years post-op
This is the longest I've gone without a surgery, and I am so happy that I am not facing another one anytime (hopefully never!!!) soon. When I hit that four year anniversary, I am throwing a party. From having one surgery every year for four years, to have no surgery for four years, I think that's something to celebrate!

Thank you again, to all of you who brought me meals, changed my sheets, brought me movies to watch, or simply just talked with me. I remember each of you, and am so appreciative of how you helped me through. 

"There is no normal life that is free of pain. It's the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth." 
--Fred Rogers