A Different Kind of Strength...

Wow! I can't believe it's been over a year since the last time I've updated my blog! Time really has sped by, thanks in large part to having a very active 3 year old keeping me busy (and tired).

A lot has changed in a year, and at the same time, things are pretty much the same. We welcomed a new rescue dog into our home in May, and are so happy to have a 4 legged fur baby again. My back is doing wonderfully. I still deal with frequent residual nerve pain in my left leg, but have many days where I don't notice it at all. The surgery has given me a life that, at one point, I never thought I could have. I can walk for hours, sit without major pain, and keep up with my wild boy. (And don't tell my surgeon, but a few pairs of high heels have snuck back into my closet!!!) At well over 4 years post-op, I still say that my surgery was the best decision I made in terms of self care.

I have been keeping up with the modified yoga program I started over a year ago, and have seen incredible progress I never thought I would see. Honestly, if I hadn't seen the instructor (who has a very similar level of fusion as I do) doing the moves, I never would have believed that I too could move in those ways ever again. And when I first started, I was very stiff, and could barely make it through the short videos on her website (visit it here -----> Julie Wilkins Yoga). But after a year of doing the exercises, 2-3 times a week, I have AMAZING progress.

I can actually touch my toes in a forward bend! I couldn't do that before my surgery, thanks to all the horrible pain I had been in, I had gotten so stiff, and my muscles were so contracted. I had done yoga before my pain started over 8 years ago, but once my nerve pain began, that activity fell by the wayside, along with most everything else. I am so excited to regain at least one activity that I had loved prior to the pain and surgeries.

It can feel like the surgery, or pain, has the power to take things away from you. It is frustrating to look at my snowboard and surfboard sitting in the garage, and know that I will most likely never use them again. And letting go of things that you loved to do is never easy. But part of healing, for me, has been accepting that my body will never be the way it was before my scoliosis became unbearable. I know other post-op scolis who will continue to do things like ski or snowboard. But because of my residual nerve pain, and my fear of falling, I have decided most of my pre-surgery thrill rides are not worth the risk of a 5th spinal surgery. I am still a strong proponent of protecting your fusion, protecting your spine, and building strength in new ways. For myself, I know that just because I may be ABLE to do something, doesn't mean it's the best thing for me to do.

So finding yoga again, which is something that I loved to do before my pain and 4 surgeries, has given me a lot of joy and feeling of strength and healing. No, I may not be able to do all the same moves I could before. And it's taken me literally a YEAR to stretch my hamstrings enough to be able to touch the floor, but I CAN do it.

Strength and healing look different depending on where you are in your journey, and who you are as a person. For myself, I would say that at over 4 years post op, I am stronger than I have ever been in my life. I may not have the same abilities as most people, and some simple things are deceptively hard for me to do (I'm looking at you tiny things that slip under the couch!!!). But my strength comes from overcoming and surviving a disease that was literally crushing my spine, and destroying my nerves. My strength is knowing that if God forbid, I had to do it all over again, I COULD. I would. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from an indomitable will."

So, I will continue to move my body in old ways made new, and explore what this fused life has to offer.

As always, please continue to email me! I love hearing from you all. I do check my emails, and love to support anyone going through pre and post op.

Until next time!