“It doesn’t define me, but it IS a part of who I am, and I accept that.”
May 30 2019
Today marks the two year anniversary of my emergency spinal surgery. The pain that my body inflicted on me that day was life changing.
Wincing as I think of it, remembering the sweat rolling down my face as I tried to breathe through the excruciating pain radiating through my right leg. Trying to act calm, to keep my kids from freaking out while I was experiencing the worst pain of my life, I didn’t realize that those beads of sweat equated to nerves being permanently damaged in my spine. Nerves that traveled to my right lower leg, ankle and foot.
The prognosis? Disabled. I went from bed, to walker, to cane. It took me 8 solid months to be able to drive again, with a mostly dead foot. I can drive about 1/2 a mile comfortably, then my foot begins to feel like it's being stung by a wasp repeatedly. I have electrical shock feelings and major cramps throughout out my foot and ankle. I can take my sock off to see my toes cramping and pointing in all directions.
In the two years, I've graduated from “temporarily” disabled to “permanently” disabled.
What does that mean?
My temporary handicap placard for my car was expiring... it was good for a year. My doctor handed me a slip to take to the DMV to renew it and the lady at the DMV, who issued my handicap placards for my car, told me “Here you go, you get the blue placards now.” I went from Red Rockstar Parking “temporarily handicapped” placards, to the Blue... “permanently handicapped” placards. That sweet woman at the DMV had no idea of how her statement affected my life.
So far, it means that my life will never be the same. I was a crazy P90X fiend who got up every day at 4AM to pray and do my two-hour workout. Now, I wake every morning and for a nano second I forget that Im disabled until I get out of bed and my feet hit the floor. I never quite know what I will get. Horrible pain? A major hobble? Or just a slight hobble that works its way into a gimp?
My entire work and personal life have changed. I can't drive to see partners and customers, I have to be chauffeured. I cant attend conferences. I can't walk more than 200 steps at a time. I cant be active and run and play with my kids. I can't walk the mall and shop. I work hard to make sure it doesn’t affect my job and every-day living, and I pretend that it’s all good, but it does affect me.
I promised myself that on my two year anniversary I would accept this handicap and make peace with it. That’s what I’m going to do.
"Hi, Im Monica. And I’m permanently disabled. *Deep breath* It doesn’t define me, but it IS a part of who I am, and I accept that."