I made it through the whole semester! I can’t believe it. I took my 2nd and last final of the semester today… and I wait for grades to be posted on Tuesday. I feel relieved in a lot of ways. I learned a lot in school this semester, and even more in life. I still feel like this whole fall – the end of this year of recovery has been a VERY melancholy time for me. I am a high strung student, always have been. I WANT to understand this content, I’m a highly motivated learner. I also see see that while I am moving forward I can FEEL the pain and heartbreak of where I was at this time last year, it’s real, very very real and very close to the surface, especially as I talk with others that are presently where I was a year ago. It’s hard, and it hurts, and it makes me wish I had more answers to give. It motivates me – good or bad, it motivates me.
I send in my application for PTA school in the next few weeks… and then have to wait until April for a response. That is going to be a LONG wait, a very long wait. I have already signed up for classes for next semester and will keep walking down this path until I can’t anymore.
Physically, I am sure that the last vestiges of aches and irritations will be long gone a year from now. Nothing major is going on within me. After I swim, and push and go harder than I did the day before the key spots still mumble at me… a hip here a shoulder/neck there…. then I slow down, and do the things I know I should… correct my posture, roll out knots, ice after exercise…. I’m not sure what other people my age ( 37) do after they go to the gym, or how they feel when they first start exercising again… but I am pretty sure it isn’t a whole lot different than I feel today. I had lunch with my PT, and it was fantastic to answer his question of , ” So how’s Amy today?!” My answer was, phenomenal… I feel phenomenal! When I looked back allllllll the way to how I felt when I first started seeing him and how I felt today…. there is no other answer to give. I am living a life I forgot how to live and that really is amazing.
On the flip side of this coin is, over my journey, I have connected with other men and women that have had this surgery, also in GA. Not all of their stories read like mine. Don’t get me wrong, some are doing well, and clawing their way back to the world of the living where life is fast and busy…. but some are still left in the world where they count steps to the mailbox, and hope to God that a parking place near the store is open, or figure they can go to church but NOT if so and so is preaching… they will have to sit too long….
These stories and the people behind them are causing me to ask a LOT of questions about this surgery and why it works and who it works for. I know I have said a million times through my journaling that this is a LAST CHANCE surgery… it is NOT easy, it’s NOT a quick fix… and it is NOT a fix for everyone… there is a reason that the surgical outcome from this surgery is not 100%…. Somewhere between 50/75% positive outcome depending on what you read… that means 5 in 10 or 3 in 10 do NOT improve significantly with this surgery. The reasons WHY that is seem somewhat mysterious…
From Dr. Lippetts research the top 3 things to look at are disks, facets, and piriformis…. but where do you go when those things come back ok… or with results that don’t seem equal with the level of pain being experienced?
What do you do when your 6 months post-op and life doesn’t look much different than before surgery? These are the dark questions, and they deserve to be answered by people that have the training and experience to answer them. And if answers to not yet exist to WHY these people remain in pain… it is my hope that there is enough curiosity left in the medical community that someone will take up the plight and being looking for answers.
For me, right now, all I have is a lot of questions…
48 weeks 5 days
Grades came in and I did better on my finals than I thought! A’s all around… it makes me feel far more confident going into the application process. I am 2 transcripts and a recommendation short of submitting my application, and I am really nervous! I am amazed how this has gone from an insane off handed comment from my PT, to something I promised I’d pray about, to something I checked out and has now turned into something I really am invested in and hope happens! Ahh the never ending roller coaster of life 🙂
Well, today in about an hour I am going to the gym to try a pilates class. I am SCARED. Not just nervous, but scared… like Mom I don’t feel well enough to go to school because we are doing something hard in gym class scared! I’ve been good about the stretching part of continuing rehab, but the intentional exercise part ( aside from swimming) is falling to the way side as life gets busy and I find I am having some more than average pain sitting in the hips and hip flexors. So I either have to find the will, or have someone else push me. I am scared that this class is going to be so far behind everyone else, or unable to do it…. and I’ll have to explain why I am not pushing myself as hard as they think I should… I dread that. I remember a yoga instructor at the gym getting all persnickety with me because I wasn’t holding positions long enough or my feet weren’t right… I explained that I had SI issues and I was doing the best I could. She suggested that since I couldn’t’ hold poses long enough without pain and go see a DR, and leave her class…. this was like 5-6 years ago…. I waned to beat her with my yoga mat. I know I need to take this next step, but MAN I do not want issues or to explain my medical history… I just want to try some Pilates and continue to work my core…
wish me luck!
Class went far better than I could have expected… so well in fact that I went back with a friend tonight. I wasn’t totally recovered, but it felt good to move. I just rested when I couldn’t go on, or when things were simply too difficult for me to do correctly. I am thankful the teachers turn the lights down so you don’t really think about what the person next to you is doing. It was easier to just kinda so my own thing and not worry about it. While on the things I worked on in PT were easy to do in class… there were simple things that the rest of the class could do no problem ( like engaging the rectus abdominus) that were harder or short lived for me while I could have done clams till the cows came home and the rest of the class was groaning… it made me feel confident that I can add this to my routine and know how to adjust for myself and to know when to say – that was enough… I’ll rest now!
49 week 2 days ( Christmas Eve 2011)
For years the only thing I ever really wanted off my Christmas wish list was a new SI joint….. this year it wasn’t on my list! I felt horrible responding to the request of a wish list for Christmas from my family this year…. What could I POSSIBLY ask for that had any value or meaning compared to what I have gotten back this year?!
While this past year has NOT been easy, it has been FULL of hope and amazing relationships and LIFE. New life, made possible by the giver of life, Christ Jesus. We get ready to celebrate his birth tomorrow, with cookies, and cake, and gifts for each other; Songs about snow, and reindeer, and snowmen… but also songs about wisemen, and a baby in a manger, and Angels on High.
All I know is that without my Faith in Christ, my family that loves me, my friends that support me and help me in every and any way imaginable, and my PT that never stopped telling me I could beat this and get my life back… I wouldn’t have made it though this year.
Last year at this time I was laying in front of my Christmas Tree, desperately wanting to celebrate the season of the birth and wonder of my Savior… wanting to be at Church worshiping, praying, singing praises… and the idea of getting to the car was enough to put me in tears. I cried tears of sorrow… desperation… and exhaustion. I was days away from MRI’s, SI joint injections, hospital intakes, a flight to Georgia and all of the pre-op testing there, a EMG in Atlanta, an evaluation by Vicki and Dr. Weiss….. The fear that they would tell me they couldn’t help me was overwhelming…. And on top of that fear was the fear that they would approve me for surgery and it STILL wouldn’t work… it was defening inside my head. I was trying so hard to hang on to hope when at the same time I also felt so hopeless and abandoned. My PT had released me 8 months earlier because we just were not getting anywhere… my mobility had plummeted and my pain skyrocketed when I stopped going to PT. (Evidence to me that the alignment WAS a key issue.). My family had no idea how to help me make the choice to go to surgery or not… my other medical professionals here were against it- citing the 50% positive outcome rate…. But on top of ALL of that I felt like God had just kinda forgotten about me.
How can I say that you ask…. I was 36, had two school aged kids that I couldn’t volunteer at their school, or play with… I lived my life in a bed or in a mental fog due to pain medication…. I don’t REMEMBER so much of their grade school days….
I had been PRAYING for YEARS that God would end my suffering through treatment or simply take me home to be with him, where I would have no more pain and my body would be perfect in every way. I knew he had healed the blind, the lame, the heartbroken, and the sick. I KNEW my God was capable of healing me – himself or via modern medicine…. I just had no idea why he chose not to. It was a horrible place of despair, as I laid by the tree crying and praying that I was making the right choice… that this surgery with these people would be my answer… that God would guide this and use it to heal me. I was beside myself with worry; about leaving the kids, about travel from the surgery, about the recovery, about what would happen if the surgery didn’t work. It was exhausting, and hopeless…
This year is such a stark contrast. My life is so very different. For me, I was one of the 50% that benefited from the surgery…. I got my Christmas wish, while maybe not a “new” SI joint… at least I have one that isn’t sloshing all over the place. I no longer cry out for God to take me home. I haven’t felt that kind of pain in over 8-9 months… and while there are activities that still give me pause, I continue to work them out by looking back at all that I HAVE accomplished.
The prayers and support of many friends and family have carried me through this year. I am glad to be on the other side. Praising God that I can walk, and sit, and exercise, and bake, and BE. I am present in my mind and body for me, and for my family and friends. There really is no greater gift.
I find myself asking God how I can serve Him… how I can repay his gift of life and mobility. For now I feel his presence saying… just continue to speak truth Amy…. Tell your story, talk about what you have experienced, where you have failed, how you have felt and what you are learning as you continue to grow. So that is what I will do… as my year of recovery comes to a close I have no idea what I will do with this journal?! I promised I would journal my recovery as I experienced it, and I have… there are so few fears left- and I will update when I feel God leading me to share, as I have in the past… but I am certain it won’t be on a weekly basis. I have told many who read this to check back with me in 2 years, 5 years… to see if I am still as happy with my outcome… I know for certain I will check back in with milestones and discoveries…
So for now dear fellow SIJD friend, I wish you a Merry Christmas, weather you believe or not… take a moment to consider there is a bigger reason for this season, and for you being here… I have no idea why you have this dysfunction… or why God does not heal it on the spot… but I DO wish you a better tomorrow and the only thing that no one but my Savior can bring…. Hope… real Hope.