I’m 3 years post-op today and I celebrated by restoring our bed room to a place my husband and I BOTH love, having a delicious cupcake, and a facial by a woman that has become my friend BECAUSE of my journey. My life is totally and completely different today than it was 3 years ago. This “anniversary” has really been impactful on me. I have conquered so much of the fear chronic pain injected into my life. I am different because of it. Not broken, not ruled by it, but changed… like coal under pressure. I want to share something with you today because I see so many people like me just trying to hang on…..
It hurt you know….. trying to hang on to hope.
It was quiet possibly the HARDEST thing I have ever done… and I’ve done a lot of stuff. I’ve counseled teens abused in unspeakable ways by their parents, I’ve talked with young women who were raped, I’ve gone through my own emotional hell….. I’ve watched more teens die due to suicide and drunk driving than I can count. I’ve lost people to pain, to depression, to cancer…… I’ve been through a lot. But this….. recovering from chronic pain. the. hardest. thing. I. have. ever. done. I know hard work, physical, and emotional. This…. this took me too deep hard terrifying places within myself I didn’t know existed.
The thing is, you don’t talk about it WHILE your trying to hang on. It’s too precarious, too fragile. So you have these moments of complete and total desperation that flatten you. They suck the will to live, to breath, to try- right out of you. They are almost impossible to admit. For me, it was too frightening to admit, even to myself most of the time, that I was having them. I FINALLY admitted them to my husband just last night. How do you explain to someone that I am not giving up, but I am tried of hoping and not being where I want to be. The only place I really ever voiced that thought was in therapy. It was a safe neutral zone, and even there I was afraid to speak the words.
In a journey where the road was always changing, how do you know when to stop hoping for more? When I would have these meltdowns in therapy and feel like I just couldn’t go on, that I just didn’t have anything left within myself to hope that things would change for the better again…. he’d just ask me one question. “Would you be content if this is what it felt like for the rest of your life?” I’d hem and haw and think…. the general thought was “it’s better than it was, but it’s not where I want to be!”. I’d say…. no…. I want more….. he’d say ok. It was simple. Well, for him. Are you content with where you are, or do you want something different. I wanted something different. I held onto that. I’d ask myself that question when it got to hard to hope…. Are you ok with things this way, or do you want them to be different. That single thought ” I want something different” allowed me to continue against all rational thought, time, and even against my own sorrow, despair, and general level of crazy.
Why do I bother telling you this? Well… because it’s not easy to keep hoping and we all need stories to give us reasons to hope. This one just happens to be mine.
Because of hope….
I am 17 weeks away from graduating as a PTA.
I am the President of a Foundation that will help support, educate, and inform about SI Joint Dysfunction.
I am able to be the parent I always wanted to be.
I am able to be the wife I wanted to be.
I am signed up to start my first specialized class on the pelvis ( before I even finish school).
I no longer fear failure on a daily basis.
I no longer fear the pains that do come – because they are easily dealt with.
As I look forward into the next year I continue to hope in the face of untold obstacles.
I hope I will do well as I go back to the pool and compete this spring in what will be my first swim meet since 1992.
I hope I will get a job that fulfills me and nurtures me as a PTA…… and that it is with someone to mentor me into the clinician I want to be.
I hope so may things for the foundation that I can’t even begin to put them into words… but it involves hoping for the right people, and funds, and timing, and connections and on and on and on… so many things to hope for in the face of reality. YET we keep hoping, and moving and saying…. we aren’t where we were…. but we aren’t where we wanna be either…. so we KEEP hoping so we can KEEP moving.
Hope is a muscle, it must be exercised. We need it to continue on in any and everything we do. To be more than we are today we HAVE to hope. If your having trouble finding your hope today, let me ask you…. Are you ready to be done? Will you be content if your life stays exactly as it is today? If so, your done…. you have arrived. If not…. keep choosing hope, even if it’s against the odds… you never know what might happen.