Friday, April 13, 2012

Pain, Pain, Go Away...

First of all, I realize that a lot of my recent posts don't mention the ongoing project of 15 Before 30. I am going to create another post later tonight that will provide an update on the project.

Two weeks ago I had a leg surgery. It was a relatively simple procedure, and I was told I would be back to my old self in a couple of days.  This same procedure was supposed to be the start of a two-part surgery that would wrap up my 2.5 years of pain.  This was supposed to be it! I would be free!

For those of you that have known me for a while, you know I have lived with pain. Well, for some of you that know me, you still may have never heard about it. I was miserable, but I tried not to complain too much.  I remember visiting a specialist, and after him asking me the same question for the thousandth time: "Rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10." I screamed "14!!!!"

Pain can do terrible things to your body.  It makes you mentally miserable, it limits your daily activities, and it cuts you off from your social circles.  It's even worse when the wounds are healed, and the pain lingers.  There isn't a cast or a bandage for people to see.  They assume you made a miraculous comeback, and nothing can stop you!  Pain doesn't work that way for me.  I am fearful it will always be my companion.

When I started running, I knew a little trick.  With fibromyalgia and chronic pain, you can sometimes overwork your body, and it short circuits the pain response.  I really had that going for me for a few months, and I was feeling better than I had in years!  No medications or anything--just intense exercise and eating right.

Then the leg issues cropped up. Surgery #1, like I said, should have been a couple of days of recovery.  Two weeks later, I still have terrible pain in the leg.  I walked, I wrapped, I propped, I did everything they told me to do!  I have severe almost-painful numbness on my lower leg, and it feels like all the nerves have been fried. A blanket on top of my leg at night causes intense pain. Great...

Wednesday was surgery #2. It was supposed to be very similar to surgery #1, and the recovery time should have been short as well.  I knew better this time, and realized that the recovery might change from a few days to two weeks.  After a terribly painful procedure (I was only partially sedated), I was told it would be a six month recovery.

Six months.

Six months?!?

There were a lot of emotions that ran through me on Wednesday, as well as a lot of Valium.  I knew that some of the emotions were exaggerated from the medications, but others were real.  I had finally gotten my life and my body back together.  I survived the attack and recovery, I survived a divorce, relocation, and new job, and I had been doing well pushing myself physically.  Now, it was like a blow to the stomach.  Why don't they just chop off my leg now?

Ok, that was too dramatic.  But the reality was, I didn't know if I would ever get back to where I was, if I would ever heal and be the person I wanted to be, and if I would get to have the life I have been dreaming about and planning.

There was a lot of tears.

I realized that I have no control over some things that happen in my life, but I can choose how I react.  I am doing exactly what the doctor has told me, and will be taking it very easy.  This is going to be hard when I am used to speeding through life at 100 miles an hour.

I am going to reevaluate a few things.  There was a selfish response on Wednesday, and I'm not really proud that it was one of my first thoughts:

I thought about the recovery, and the unknown.  And I thought about relationships.  Who would sign up to deal with these damaged goods?  I was finally to the point where I could entertain the idea of a long-term relationship again.  Why would someone knowingly get involved with me when there was a lot going on.  And I feel it's only fair that people would know what they are getting into.  I am being dramatic again, but I feel like a leper of sorts.

So, this post isn't positive and upbeat.  We all have our rough times in life.  This has been my week.  Really, this has been a flashback of the past three years for me.  The three years I thought I could finally put behind me.

But there is something positive that has come of it.

Events like this do weed out the people that are not invested.  They tell me who wants to stick around, and who can't handle the trouble.  We've seen it in the past already.  So I will take this as an experience that will hopefully show me something new and different about myself, and even those around me.

I have contemplated adapting my 10K goal, but I don't want to change plans yet. It's like giving up. I am not ready for that yet...

And I have seven more months before my birthday. A lot can happen in seven months...

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