Six Years of Freedom

It has been SIX YEARS since my full fusion. Six. Whole. Years. I can't believe it! While the first year of recovery felt like it was moving in slow motion, the last five have been like a blink. Since the last time I updated my blog we have adopted another baby boy! I still get my emails and love hearing from you all as you are on various points along the surgery journey. I have to reiterate, at six years, I am still incredibly happy I had the surgery.

As I think about the challenges I've faced over my life, especially concerning my spine, I am so thankful for the positive outcome I've had post fusion. I feel like my surgery gave me a new life, one that didn't seem possible for a very long time.

The most frequent question I get in emails is whether or not I am still doing well, and whether I'm still happy I had the surgery. The answer to both questions is a resounding YES. In fact, I am continuing to see improvement in my back and grow stronger every year. I would not have been able to raise children if I hadn't had the surgery, and even though being fused can pose large challenges, overall those challenges are well worth the freedom being fused has given me.

I am very active, and have really enjoyed using yoga modified for scoliosis fusion to build strength and flex back into my body. Can you believe I can move like this even though I have 2 rods and 26 screws down my back?
 I would never have thought movements like this would be possible for me when I made the decision to have the surgery. I think one of the most difficult things about approaching the surgery is envisioning how life will be afterwards. It's overwhelming and terrifying. But the pain, increasing curves and general discomfort were like a prod moving me towards a solution that while horrifying was actually a conduit to a new life, free from the impending doom of crushed lungs and destroyed nerves.

That being said, I still struggle with residual nerve pain in my left leg, and there are definite limitations to how my body can move, and how active it can be before I feel fatigue. The surgery is not a magical cure, nor a perfect solution. I don't want anyone to think that because my life now is so much better than it was before I had the surgery, that it is easy, perfect, or pain free. However, there are many days that I forget that I am fused. I don't think about it constantly (which is why I forget to update my blog) and I don't feel like I am suffering. I have limitations that I have accepted that are a part of who I am. I have a handicap that I work around, and have to consider. But as I have said often in my previous posts, once I accepted that I DID have those limitations, I was able to let go of the idea that I could be anything different, and just work with what I have. And look how far I've come! I am raising two beautiful boys, I have an amazing husband, I do yoga, I walk for hours without pain, and can drive across the country. I swim, I hike, I enjoy my life.

Choosing what seems like a permanent prison for your spine seems counter-intuitive to choosing freedom. But for me it was. I chose to risk everything before I lost it all anyway. And thanks to taking that risk, I gained health, freedom, and joy.

As we enter this new year, I hope each of you who are walking toward that surgery, or even just a life choice that seems overwhelming and terrifying, I encourage you to be brave and consider what you gain by risking it all.

Until next time, keep the emails coming!