Monday, October 19, 2009

Taking "IT" For Granted - Part 2

So, pain was the first thing that I had to get through in losing control. Next came learning to walk again.

So, how hard is it to learn to walk again? You just put one foot in front of the other like you have always done, right? Wrong! There is so much to it when you have had your body, let alone your skeletal structure, drastically altered.

You feel like you should just be able to stand up and move like you have for years. However, you now have a foreign object inside of you. You have a hole where everyone else has a moving joint. You put weight on your "new" leg and it feels as though someone put a vice grip on you and tightened it so much that you have been rendered nearly incapacitated. This "new" leg doesn't move like it should.

Turned around at the door and heading back to the
hospital bed after a strenuous therapy day after surgery.
It takes every ounce of energy you have for the day just to get out of the hospital bed and make it to the doorway of your room. You have two (if not three, four or more) people surrounding you to make sure that you don't lose your balance and stumble or - God forbid - fall. Each one coaching you along the way, "Heal, toe. Straighten your foot. Take it slow. Breathe. You're doing great. Keep it up. You're looking so strong. Come on, you can do it. Just a little bit further."

So, these are really the things my therapists, nurses and family said every time I got out of the bed to learn to walk again. Despite the doctors original assessment, "You'll probably never walk again. At best you'll walk with a walker."

Learning to walk again was and has been a long process. Still to this day I have to think about "how" to walk. Place my heal down first, pivot to the toe and push off the ground only to do it all over again. But, I don't walk with a walker. I walk with a cane and a lot of times, I walk without a cane at all. Learning to walk again, a process of not taking it for granted.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Taking "IT" For Granted - Part 1

A couple of weeks ago I was talking with someone that hadn't seen me for at least two months. In a very short time of talking, something that has stayed with me was one small phrase she said, "... the things we take for granted."

I really started thinking about this phrase. I thought it would be great to start talking about what we might take for granted and touch on how it can make a difference when something we do take for granted is suddenly removed.

We all grow up not thinking about certain things like breathing, tying our shoes, walking or even making it to the restroom without having an "accident." But what happens when one or more of these things are ripped from us in an instant? How do you deal with it?

I can't say that I'm an expert, but I have learned that you take each day one at a time and give yourself some grace.

Xray of my prosthetic and the removed
hip bone
Why am I talking about this? I think it is important to deal with the issues at hand for me. When I was informed in 2008 that I had cancer in my right hip and pelvis and that I would have an internal prosthetic for the rest of my life, I really had NO idea what things I would deal with over time.

First, I had to deal with the pain of surgery. Or, should I say the pain which followed the surgery?

I had to be immobilized so that the prosthetic would not become dislocated from my ilium (that upper plate part of your pelvis that makes it look like a butterfly). Nurses had to wedge me to one side in order to not get bed sores. Here is where one has lost control and had to rely on others to do the work (cause you clearly couldn't).

Then came the pain of moving at all. Whether it was to move my good leg, adjust my position because my back was hurting from one position or even the therapists moving me to help me learn to walk again.

Yes, help me learn to walk again. That is a story for another day.