My joints and spine have been through the wringer, but you guys already know this if this isn’t the first one of my posts you’ve read. I feel like I owe my reading friends an update. I’m often asked in emails, how I am now. How am I post-“floxing?” I hate that term by the way. I feel like it makes me sound like a helpless victim and I feel like I refuse to be just another victim. I choose to believe I am also a very motivated warrior in the fight against this happening to other people. I also feel like I’ve been put in a position to get the word out. I have a mission to educate people about this, and I do take that very seriously. It’s something positive I can do that could actually have an impact.
Physically, I am way better than I was even a year ago. I am astoundingly better than I was 5 years ago, and miraculously better compared to 7 years ago when this all started.
Most days, I wake up uncomfortable, but as I take my meds and move around, the soreness and stiffness let up. On the harder days, usually when the pressure drops and we have a major weather change coming, I fight a fair amount of grating pain and I hobble around my house. I’m so thankful that about 60% of the time, my pain has become a manageable level. I don’t take any narcotics. I hate the way they make me feel. If I’m desperate I take ibuprofen and tylenol interchanging, but that’s few and far between. I don’t like dulling my typical pain level, because when the medicine wears off, I have to get used to that pain level again. I do take nerve medication for scar tissue tethering my S1 nerve roots in my spine. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. That developed due to my own body’s overzealous effort to heal itself from a posterior lumbar fusion. The guy who developed nerve medication…I am seriously indebted to. If I don’t take that stuff, I can’t move. I also take a 24/7 muscle relaxer that helps me not turn into tin man. I have a whole lot of arthritis. My last knee surgeon said that if I was 55, he would do double knee replacements, but insurance and most doctors would never do that to someone who is barely 35. For now, I do Supartz injections in my knees about every 6/8 months to help lubricate the joints. My left shoulder is not stable and would still dislocate if I didn’t compensate for it all the time. My jaw is also like this. I’m always careful about how I chew, yawn, and even laugh. I am careful about lifting with my wrists. They have been repaired, but my last surgeon told me if I ripped the scar tissue holding the right side together, he would have to repair it again. I am still very careful with how I move. I lift everything with great concentration to make sure I don’t hurt myself. I can’t lift anything off the ground that isn’t very light, mainly because I pick it up with my toes like a monkey. I can’t squat, jump, run, or kick. I can walk though, and I do as much of that as I can. I hike a paved trail up a mountain, 2 to 3 times a week as long as my tendonitis doesn’t act up. Physical therapy is 2 to 3 times a week depending on what’s going on and how flared up I am. I do still feel the aftermath of destruction in each joint. I feel all of it, but it’s gotten so much better that I even feel stupid talking about it.
I use a pillow in my car to support my lumbar spine. I do my best to take care of what I can around my house. I load and unload my washing machine with a grabber buddy. This can take awhile. I grab the basket with my grabber and slide it to whichever room it needs to go. I often roll my office chair over to the sink and dishwasher and I unload the bottom rack of clean dishes up to the counter where I can reach them without repeatedly bending over. I sit on a handicapped stool to shave my legs. I try to get moving back out the door to whatever other errands are on the list. The truth is, I’ve found so many ways to compensate for my body, that I could never list them all.
I’m not telling you this to make you listen to me drone on about my mundane tasks. This is just a glimpse of my normal day. I used to be fast and skip from task to task with 2 toddlers and a baby. Looking back, I kinda think I was super mom and had no idea. I felt mediocre, like I wasn’t accomplishing anything big for the world.
The events of the last few years have clarified something. Everything we do matters. When I was at my worst and I couldn’t take care of the majority of household tasks, driving, and caring for my kids; every one of those tasks, was a reminder that magical fairies don’t come and take care of that stuff. Thanks a lot Disney, for the false security you gave me. (Eyeroll) I always hoped that if I sang pretty enough, forest animals would appear and clean my house.
During this time of inability, I felt my lack in such a heavy suffocating way. I questioned my worth, my motivation, my will. I was so lost. I didn’t know where my place was.
I know what my place is now. I have been placed exactly where I need to be. No life is insignificant. Each person leaves an immeasurably large ripple in the pond. My place is to make sure that the ripples I create, will promote a positive impact and point toward God.
I’m not the Fluoroquinolone blog girl. I am but I’m not. I’m God’s daughter, Aaron’s wife, Aidan, Alex and Allison’s mom, an artist, writer, sister, daughter, and friend. I also hope I’m just someone who makes other people know they are loved and feel it. If there is something I want to leave, it’s that. I hope that love is in my wake.
I’ve found that the more I concentrate on me and my trial, the more depressed I get. I start feeling sorry for myself and feeling annoyed with life and justified in grouchiness. I can have a fit (my knee-jerk reaction and trusty fallback) Or I can look at it as my challenge and mission to do something positive with it. How can I grow? How can I patiently endure for as long as my trial remains? I have to stop my pity party and do the best I can with my circumstances.
I have to look outward. The only way I have been successful to turn my own line of thinking around, is to look outside the dark box I’m in. Who else is struggling? How can I cheer them up? Can I encourage them? Do they need some reassurance I could offer? Is there a need I can satisfy? Every time I pick my head up and look outside of my box, I notice a sea of other people in dark boxes. If I keep my chin looking up and out, I find there is so much I can do, and I get so busy reaching out, that I stop worrying and hating my own box, and after awhile it doesn’t seem so bad. Sometimes I even see my own box as so much less weight to carry around in comparison to someone else box. In fact, my box shrinks and becomes so small, I can bear it and it stops being my main focus. If I start looking inward too much though…that box quickly grows and envelopes me again, and before I know it, I’m back in my dark prison. Perspective is everything.
Every trial in our life will bring us to crossroad. Do we conquer our trial or does our trial conquer us? We all make this choice in every decision of every day. What mood am I in when I wake up? Do I realize my mood is more contagious than the common cold and explosive dysentery? Did I serve God with every decision today? The marks I left with my actions today, very well could be the marks I’m remembered by when I die and leave this place behind. No action is without consequence and no person is without impact.
Tomorrow I’ll get my creaky body out of bed, and do this beautiful opportunity of a day all over again. Hopefully each day I will improve and learn somewhere. We aren’t just getting through and coasting through life, we are building the groundwork for the people around us and our impact in this pool could be astronomical and we may never even realize it. So…don’t pee in the pool. Make huge beautiful waves.