March 10, 2016

Meta alcanzada

Meta in Spanish means goal or objective, and alcanzar means to reach. In other words, I've met an important goal today that, a little over 3 months ago, I wasn't 100% sure I'd successfully meet. And how sweet it is.

The last time I wrote it'd been barely 2 weeks since surgery, and I'd just started physical therapy. I ended up being in physical therapy a little over two months, every day was a challenge, and I had to continually push myself. But I had an amazing therapist, Hugo, who believed in me and made me believe in myself and my capacity to heal, and here I am, amazed I've come this far.

At seven weeks post-surgery, in late January, I traveled to Guatemala for a ten-day work training and back. The bunk beds we slept in and the long days sitting alot were probably the hardest part. But a couple days in I started walking (birding) every morning at dawn, and it helped a lot during the day. I've only missed a handful of walks and physical therapy sets in the last few months- I pay in a little more pain the next morning if I miss them.

After a LOT of hard work in therapy, and a renewed commitment to walk every day, I've regained pretty much 95% of the strength and flexibility that I lost in my right leg. I'm able to do light chores and carry up to 10 pounds here and there. I'm driving again, even the stick shift. A full day of work isn't a daunting task anymore- in fact, today, our 18th training group at Peace Corps Mexico arrived, and I was there to meet and greet them- to me, that was a sweeter accomplishment than ever considering that back in last September I didn't see a light at the end of the pain tunnel.

I'm still working on trying to lose weight- after the first thirteen pounds, the scale hasn't wanted to budge. And I probably won't be picking up my daughter again, which makes me sad, though we get plenty of good hugs and lap time in. My scar tissue in the fascia in my back is still a little funny-feeling- although my therapist tells me that with stretching and patience it may go away with time. I still have some hip pain when I wake up and a little bit in the front of my leg when I've sat for too long.

But overall, when I look back on where I've come from in the last six months, I am amazed to think of how much pain I was in and how much better I'm doing now. It's a real motivation to continue getting stronger and keep up my renewed dedication to a healthy lifestyle. I've taken part in a small new movement at the office, where we go for a couple walks during our breaks at work- I hope it grows. It's had positive impacts not just in my physical health but also my mental health- with managing stress, etc... and so I really do hope these improvements in my life are long lasting.

I never would have made it this far without the continual support of my husband and daughter. My temporary disability definitely took a toll on them, since Mommy wasn't able to do everything she once could, but I couldn't have asked for greater understanding and support than what I received. It truly made my recovery possible.

Also, having the institutional support of the 3 weeks of disability, made possible by the Mexican Social Security Institute, was crucial. And the choice to do the surgery just prior to holiday season was partially luck but also good intentional timing (to hold off as long as possible)- it gave me the opportunity to finish up some important office work (though I'm still not sure how I pulled it off, thanks meds, I guess...), but then to have the right amount of rest time before heavy season was finally upon us in the New Year. My coworkers have been really understanding of my new limitations, and luckily, with time, things have gotten pretty close to "back to normal."

Finally, I'm happy to say that I am no longer as afraid of surgery as I once was. I had gotten my appendix out with emergency surgery back in 2011 but it was so sudden that I felt it didn't really count. This time around, I had a long time to weight the risks vs. the benefits and it took me nearly 2 months to go for it. I know there's a possibility there could be long-term effects, but considering the short-term benefits so far, I'm feeling pretty happy that it appears as if taking the risk has been worth it.

As one friend said in her well-wishes to me soon before I went in for surgery, "One of these days you will look back and think of your surgery as just one more thing that happened long ago" (as opposed to it completely dominating your life). I am so pleased that that day will happen sooner than I would have imagined.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are welcome!