Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My New Angle on things...

My new angle

Sitting in a wheelchair, you get to see everyone from a new angle, and let me tell you, that's not always good lol. Sometimes you don't want to be looking at the view right in front of you, but then it takes cranking the neck up to look at the person's face!

But that's not what "my new angle" is really about haha. My new angle is about my new perception on things. The way I see things now, and I'm thankful to write, that it's a good one!

The other day we drove upstate to see my daughter on visiting day. We got to camp grounds, and the terrain was muddy and rocky. My poor husband had to wheel me thru it all, because it was too much walking and uneven ground for my crutches or walker. And poor me had to sit around watching everyone else have fun while I was stuck in my wheelchair. But this is not a pity story...this is a positive story!

So sitting in the mud in my wheelchair, while my husband and daughter went way further down the path to practice archery, I was a),
bored out of my mind and yet b), surprisingly totally fine! It was like I was high on something. Only I wasn't. I have been totally off all pain killers aside for Tylenol now and then, since two weeks post op. And so I was thinking, "why am I so okay right now?" And then I realized, I was okay because I was done. I had been thru both my surgeries already (only one left is screw removal at 6 months), had gotten thru the worst of it, and now I am on my road to recovery! As I sat back in my chair, I thought about how much pain I was in before my PAO, and how much worse I would have felt coming up to these camp grounds with that much pain and unable to walk far distances; And I knew my anger, depression, and anxiety would have been highly present if I were back in that stage. 

Knowing that the worst is now behind me, and in a few weeks I will be able to start using that leg again, is the most peaceful feeling ever. So was I high on pain killers? No. But was I high on something? Yes. I was high on life, high on my second chance at living without a disability, and high on a beautiful gift that I am soon to receive. One that we all take for granted. Walking. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How CrossFit has helped me, and why I may not want to go back....

I have written in the past about CrossFit how great it is, and how much it has had a positive impact on my life, and in no way am I saying otherwise in this post. I still have a great respect and appreciation for what it has done for me, and how much I have grown from it, however, I also now have a new found understanding and appreciation for the other side of things since my diagnosis of hip dysplasia.

People say CrossFit is a cult. CrossFitters say its a lifestyle, a community. So which is true...? I don't know that there is an answer to that. I think there is definitely a cult aspect to it, the way we obsess, the way we are overly passionate about our wods (workouts), the way we swear CrossFit has changed our lives, and mostly the way we can no longer relate to "normal" people who don't do CrossFit.
As for the community...? I don't know. I guess that depends on which box (gym) you practice at maybe. I know that my most receent box was anything but a community. I know how quickly they dropped me the second  my hip dysplasia took over,  and the second I didn't  play their games right in their little facebook group. And I know that those who were there for me when my pain and disability started, were those in  my real community not my CrossFit community; My family was there for me, my friends were there for me (my real friends), and even some brand new friends that I met through my diagnosis were there for me a hell of a lot more than my "CrossFit community".
In terms of lifestyle, I think its more obsession than lifestyle. That is not to say it wasn't a good obsession. That is not to say, it wasn't a major life changing obsession. And that is not to say it didn't have truly amazing benefits and results in my life. But the thing is, that it took me being forced to stop training due to my hip condition, to realize how deeply my obsession/addiction had taken over my life.
At first when I could no longer train, I was deeply depressed. I was angry. I was desperate. And I was terrified I would lose all the gains I had made, and gain all the weight back that I had lost.
I began doing modified home wods for my upper body only, and I obsessively watched over my body in the mirror for any set backs or changes.
But once the pain in my hip got worse, once I could no longer walk more than two blocks or could no longer shop in a store due to total debilitating pain in my leg and hip, I began to slow down and I began to learn the lessons my hip was there to teach me. No longer did I want to do crossfit. No longer did I miss or long to be training again. I now missed living. I now missed walking, cooking, and being a functional mother to my kids. My life became about my diagnosis, about my treatment options, and about surviving each day in physical pain.
At some point down this path, at some point along this journey, I started to see my childrens' faces. I mean really seeing their faces. I started seeing our home, our walls, our rooms. I started seeing nature, the grass, the trees. I started seeing life.
It took a congenitally malformed hip to teach me to slow down. I always studied mindfulness. I taught my clients mindfulness. And I thought I practiced mindfulness. Maybe to some degree I did, but to other degrees I was certainly so caught up in CrossFit, that I was not being mindful, and I was not slowing down to pay attention.
I used to obsess over my Olympic lifts. I would obsess over when I was going to get a pull up. I was googling videos on the stuff, reading about it, going over and over my moves in my head and watching videos of them. My entire facebook life was about CrossFit. Every damn post lol.
And then I started living...really living. Looking at life as a blessing, relishing each precious word my kids would say, and adoring the man I married.
I would look at people's posts about their PR's and how much they can lift, and I would think "ok yay u can lift weight, but what are u contributing to the world. Did you do anything for someone today? Did you make a difference in the world". I know that comes off haughty of me, considering I probably wasn't contributing much to the world either, and honestly a lot of that way of thinking came from personal anger I held toward the people who were once my "community", but it also was directed toward myself. I would look at these posts and think to myself, "now I know what others were thinking when they saw all of my posts". I mean, now that I was no longer a CrossFitter, I was able to see it from an outsider's perspective. And let me tell you, I wasn't impressed. It's one thing when someone posts about a personal crossfit gain that happens to be really inspirational, because they overcame something big in their life, and its another to post every freaken damn moment of crossfit in their lives. I mean really, who cares?!!
Okay... I know I know.... I was totally one of them. But now I can see it! For the professional athletes and coaches I get it, it is their professional life and they need to advertise it. But for regular athletes like myself, I really do believe we forgot a whole other side or picture of our lives. Sure we were still taking care of our families and doing our jobs, but how much of us were really participating in those moments and how much of us were really thinking about crossfit back in the hidden brain.
Maybe it was just me. I don't know. Maybe others are better at balancing their lives. Maybe others do not have as addictive of a personality as I have. All I know is that I was highly addicted and obsessed, to the point where I lost whole other sides of myself, my life, my friends, and my family. And it took a dysplastic hip to make me realize.
So will I return to Crossfit if I am ever medically cleared to do so? I honestly don't know. I know CrossFit helped me get through this surgery and recovery by developing strength in my upper body to lift myself, and by getting me to a much healthier place pre-op, and I would love to be tight again and fit, but I would hate to be that obsessed. Is balance a possibility? Probably not. Not for me anyway....Because lets just face it, my personality does not allow me to do anything half assed or balanced. I'm a Libra! Whatever that means...lol.
So CrossFit or no CrossFit....I guess time will tell. But honestly, being that tight and fit is not number one on my priority list. Number one on my priority list....? Holding on to everything I have learned and continue to learn from this experience and being a better wife, mom, friend, and person, that is number one on my priority list.

"Mommy why do you have to be in the hospital?"

One of the most difficult parts of being in the hospital was seeing what it was putting my children through. My 7 year old wrote me this card and presented it to me asking me to read it out lout. I broke down in tears after the first half of it, and had to put it down. I brought her into a deep hug, and promised her I would be coming home real soon. She nodded okay and walked away. Moments later she returned with the card pointing to it and silently gesturing with her face that I should finish reading it. "why do you have to be in the hospital....?" She needed me to read this and answer her. It was her only way of communicating her feelings to me, and demanding answers to her concerns and questions. I answered her again with tears in my eyes. I answered all four of my kids, promising I would be home Sunday morning (it was Friday). I explained that I just had to be feeling a little better before I could go home. They nodded silently to this, and hung around a bit longer before it was time to go. It crushed my heart knowing what this was doing to them. And it also pushed me to heal quicker and stay on top of my game. 
Later that day, I had one of the worst days in the hospital. I had written about this in a previous post so I wont go into details here. But the point is, that knowing what promise I had made to my children allowed me the strength to keep on fighting thru the pain, the nausea, and the physical therapy. I would not allow myself to stop eating, or to quit learning how to mobilize with my walker with PT. I was a fighter, and I was going to win this fight at the hospital of getting better by my discharge date, so that I could go home to my kids on Sunday as promised. 
I have been home for a week and a half now, and the pride and excitement I see in my childrens' eyes when I reach a new milestone is priceless. The first week home I needed assistance from my husband getting in and out of bed. Since I am not allowed to use my right leg at all, in order to get into the bed, I needed someone to physically hold and lift that leg for me. The physical therapist had taught me a way of doing it on my own at the hospital in case I would ever be left alone, but at that point I was in too much pain and too weak to be able to do it. Well...after a week at home, I finally built the strength and coordination to do it, and got into the bed by myself! One day my 7 year old comes into the room and sees me getting into bed on my own. She quickly asks me out of concern, "Mommy, don't you need Daddy to help you?!". I explain to her that I learned how to do it myself, and ask her if she would like to see. She nods with excitement and watches every step of the way until I am safely in the bed. She then excitedly asks me "should I tell Daddy you did it?!". I tell her sure, and she runs to the kitchen exclaiming " Daddy! Daddy! Mommy got into the bed all by herself!"
These are the moments I treasure. These are the moments I can see what impact everything has on our precious children, and these are the moments I know I have to fight hard and take care of myself to allow for the smoothest recovery. 
The next day one of my 9 year old twins had a similar interaction with me, watching me get into the bed and looking at me with awe and pride. 
It used to be me looking at their milestones with those feelings of awe and pride. Its somewhat painful to see them having to be on the other side at such young ages. But at the same time I know I am teaching them precious lessons in life;  I am teaching them lessons about fighting, about pushing yourself, about taking care of yourself, and about overcoming obstacles. 
I love my children more than anything in the world, and can not wait to be able to be on the care giving end again. It will happen soon enough I know, and for now I am teaching them valuable life lessons at my bedside, and giving them an abundance of love, hugs, and kisses. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What romance really looks like. So this is marriage....

What romance really looks like.
So this is marriage....

When you think about romance or marriage, what comes to mind? I know in the beginning of our marriage, I had my ideas of what its supposed to look like; Ideas that mostly came from movies or other couples I'd seen. Through my distorted perception, cuz lets face it, when we look at others' supposed happiness and judge life through the book covers/facebook posts people like to project, our lenses are greatly distorted, my husband was never really the romantic type. He did things for me, like washed the dishes and vacuumed the floors, but he didn't really buy things for me, like flowers or jewelry. Of course after some years in training, he definitely improved in the flower/jewelry area:) , but It took me some time to learn my own lessons in romance as well, which is that some husbands are the flowers and jewelry type and some husbands are the vacuum the floors type. 
Anyway, fast forward to 15 years later, and I realize now more than ever what romance really looks like. 
Romance looks like a man who holds his wife's hand throughout her entire experience of a difficult diagnosis and multiple surgeries, who can crack jokes over the situation when his wife is at the level of peeing on a commode in the middle of the room, who can make sexual innuendos out of any humiliating position he has to see his wife in and somehow make her feel sexy and attractive nonetheless, and who takes his wife in a wheelchair to homegoods at less than a week post op, even though he absolutely hates shopping, especially home accessory shopping, because he knows how much she misses being able to physically go into a store and shop like she used to. 
The day we went to homegoods, is the day I fell in love with my husband all over again. I've fallen for him many times, but this time takes the cake by far. I was honestly surprised he kept to his promise he had made to me in the hospital when I told him how much I desperately missed homegoods and he came up with a day to take me, and I had tears in my eyes as her wheeled me down the aisles in my wheelchair. 
Honestly, I was high as a kite on pain meds haha, and I was in terrible pain, but that didn't stop me from feeling such intense deep love for this man. I know why he did it, and it wasn't to earn any brownie points for later, and certainly not to earn bragging rights as husband of the year, as he would kill me for sharing this lol. He did it to make me happy, to alleviate some of my pain, and to take my mind off the horrendous experience I was having, so that I could get through another day of healing without feeling depressed, without feeling helpless, and without feeling inhuman on top of my pain.  
That is what real romance looks like. Romance isn't a piece of jewelry, romance isn't a hot date with flowers, romance isn't a sweet poem or gesture. Romance is loving your partner more than life itself, and wanting to do anything and everything to care for them more than they care for themselves. Romance is selfless. Romance is true. Romance is living, really living, being true to yourself and your partner. 
So if this is what marriage really looks like....I'll take it! I'll take it over any romance or fairy tale I have seen or heard, and I will know that what happened is true. What happened is real. And I can only hope and pray that I will be just as good to him as he has been to me if our roles were ever reversed, and if he ever G-d forbid  needs me the way I need him. 

I love this man always and forever, and I thank this difficult year in my life for reminding me of how great of a man and life I truly have. 

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of us at homegoods, but I do have one of us heading to Ikea two days later, because, yeah, he did that too:)

Monday, July 6, 2015

The struggle is real...

Post PAO surgery day 11
How to shave your legs after a PAO...? Geez I haven't seen my legs this hairy since I was 12 yrs old. Can't quite figure out what to do. I think this is one thing I need to not ask my husband to do. He's seen enough, done enough, and is still attracted to me - or so he claims.. Haha. Some things need to stay private even in a 15 year marriage.
So... I'm growing monster brows above my eyes, am in desperate need of a mani pedi, and I feel like dog shit.
Taking a shower is a huge ordeal these days. It requires moving my commode (yes I do have one) into the shower (I didn't buy a shower chair cuz I couldn't stand any extra nursing home gear in my life and figured we could multi task with the commode), and slowly lowering myself to it, while my husband holds my op leg for me since I'm not allowed to lift it myself and can not break a 90 degree angle to lift it with my arms. Once I'm in and my husband lowers my leg in with me, I then have to use my good leg to scoot myself with the commode back further into the shower.
After that alone I'm exhausted, and then I still have to wash my entire body with only the use of one leg, one hip, a broken pelvis, and an upper body that must stay upright.
Good Lord this is fun isn't it?! So anyway, in the hospital, you have to have a few sessions with the PT and the OT in order to assure you can be mobile enough to take care of yourself when you are home. One of the things they encourage you to buy is the grabber. Since I am not allowed to bend more than 90 degrees (that's sitting straight up with no bend), I need these little toys to pick things up, such as my pants when they fall down (I've come out of the bathroom quite a few times with no pants on, because.. well they slipped down too low on my legs and the only thing I could do was leave them behind. It's quite a site let me tell you :))
Anyway, in an effort to feel human again, I would really really like to shave my legs.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Post op day 6

I'm starting to feel the depression sink in. Luckily I'm on enough meds to mask most of it. I still need assistance getting in and out of bed since I'm not allowed to lift the opted leg yet, and of course assistance dressing and showering since I can't bend and can't break the 90 degree angle rule of sitting. It's tough. I'm not gonna lie. The pain is still constant and it feels very disabling. I just have to keep positive and take my pain meds and let ppl help me. There are times when I want to shut down and not let anyone visit or talk to me, but I know that's depression talking. The more u shut down the worse it gets. U gotta let ppl in, let yourself cry, and keep telling yourself it's temporary and your body is healing.

The other side:

Well, I made it to the other side. I'm officially a hip warrior! It's really hard to grasp what my body went thru. I mean I know I'm in a lot of pain and all, but not nearly as much as you would think being what was actually done to my body. It's been really tough, I'm not going to lie. But with the right support, meds, and attitude, you can get thru it. You just gotta keep reminding yourself that it's temporary. I had a really bad day at the hospital. I think it was day 2. I started off well that morning. I walked 30 ft with PT on crutches (day before I only got to commode and day 1 was only able to sit up at edge of bed).
It all went sour when they gave me percaset. I am very sensitive to narcotics and it took me to a really bad turn. I got really dizzy and nauseous and had a major migraine that would not let up. The pain management doctor came in while I was throwing up and told the nurse to give me a IM shot on my arm to help the headache and nausea. Well that didn't work and my arm was in more pain than my hip.
I called my husband crying. Honesty I felt like I was being tortured alive.
Thankfully the night nurse came up with raglan and benedral for me thru IV, and I was knocked out to sleep.
Long story short, chief of pain meds came in the next day and redid all my meds. He was awesome. A true savior. He told me I have extreme sensitivity to narcotics and put me on a motion sickness patch behind my ear, a pain patch on my hip, a narcotic with least effect on the stomach, and an amazing medicine for my headaches. Finally things started looking up! Also found I did way better in PT with my Mobil legs instead of walker. Probably because I had all that practice from my scope surgery two weeks prior to PAO.
I was able to walk all the way down the hall and up and down a few steps on day 3!