Monday, June 28, 2010
The Road to Recovery
So it has been a little over a month since I have given you a glimpse into my everyday life. These past few weeks I have been traveling down the road of recovery, and what a journey it has been.
It wasn't, and still is not an easy path. Having both knees taken out, and new ones cemented into a freshly formed and filed sockets. Having a total of 51 staples holding together two 10 inch incisions that would eventually heal into 10 inch scars. Having those same 51 staples ripped back out one at a time. Being asked the day after your surgery to not only start therapy, but to be expected to walk as well.
I walked. I walked a total of 15 steps that morning. Those may quite possibly have been the 15 most difficult steps I have ever been asked to take in my life. But that's something I don't let just anybody know. To most of the world those 15 steps were the best steps I have ever chosen to take. Those were my first 15 steps toward a new, and promising future. Both renditions of those few seconds on May 26th are correct. They were the most difficult, and liberating steps I had ever taken. As I collapsed back into my chair, I cried. I cried tears forged from pain and from relief. I was going to be able to do this, and from that moment on I knew it was only going to become easier.
Which it did. Within three days, with the help of a walker I was walking to and from therapy. Gradually, my dependence on the walker diminished as my strength and balance came back. Three weeks after my surgery date I was rising and walking unassisted, that is two months earlier than my surgeon and therapists predicted. I often get asked the question how. Attitude.
Attitude truly is everything. I was never a victim and therefore, never acted like one. I didn't feel sorry for myself and wasn't looking for pity. I wanted this. I needed this. I knew no matter how difficult it was, or what my pain level reached, I had lived through worse, and made it, just as would this time. I knew that those times that I had lived through before, I didn't have an answer. I knew I was in pain and every medication and treatment I had tried failed me. I also knew, my pain was getting worse. This time it was different. This time I was getting better, and every time something was difficult I knew it was going to get easier. Every time I pushed through for just a few more steps, or a couple extra reps, it wasn't going to be in vain. I was going to get through this and become stronger. I was going to be able to return to a life that wasn't wheelchair accessible only.
I know my journey is far from over and I still have miles to go. I understand that now that my knees are healing, that doesn't affect the pain or flares in other joints. I have learned that the surgery did not cure the illness or fatigue that plagues me. I realize that rheumatoid arthritis is a monster that I have to battle daily, but at least I am doing battle on two new titanium knees, that for now, seem quite up to the challenge.