Rise Up

Hands wrapped tightly around my mug with the words, “You Got This,” in silver letters on it, tears well up in my eyes. The past few days I have gone between tears and laughter, my heart finagling emotions faster than a clown can juggle balls. Staring into my tea, I shake my head, tears falling onto the table, my eyes clearing.

I’ve got this.

It’s been difficult to bring myself to write or read these days. Music is my go to. I hit shuffle on my Spotify playlist Little Legs, Big Beats and the words of Andra Day fill my ears. Tears begin to fall again as her words deeply resonate in my heart…

You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry-go-round
And you can’t find the fighter
But I see it in you so we gonna walk it out
And move mountains
We gonna walk it out
And move mountains

And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again

And that’s what I am doing. Rising up.

Just yesterday, after two clinic appointments and an MRI, I was walking out of St. Mary’s Medical Center here in Florida when one of my favorite little warriors, who is only 6, looked at me and in an exasperated tone said, “Kwisten, you look exhauuussssted!”

The truth is, I am exhausted. My reasoning isn’t working forty hours a week or chasing around small children all day. No. In fact, these days, to the naked eye I am doing very little. I don’t move around a whole lot and when I do, it’s with the assistance of crutches. Although, I will say, I have been breaking rules (I know, you’re shocked) and driving since I returned to Florida. A welcome dose of independence. There is something about driving, windows down, sunroof open, tunes bumpin’ and the sun shining that soothes my soul. Until the check engine light comes on… always something.

Internally, my body is doing A LOT. I’m healing.

Since the end of April I have gone back and forth between Charleston, SC, West Palm Beach, FL, Pembroke, MA. Three surgeries, MRI’s,  It’s been a long six months. As I sit here, uncomfortable at a ninety degree angle, the question WHY? is nagging in the back of my mind. Three major surgeries, bones that refuse to heal, an insurance company that is uncooperative and now my lower vertebrae decide to pull away from the fusion hardware that was placed in May.  So, on Tuesday, I face another spinal fusion, down to my L5, in hopes that this will stop the pain and relieve the paralysis on my right side.  

The amount of understanding that I have gained about what it is to be alive, feel and receive has exceeded any and all expectations.

Gazing at the phrase on my mug once again, “You Got This,” my plan is to go and be the best version of myself. No matter what.


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