Circumstance and Attitude

Healing is a sobering place to be. ALL THE FEELS.

Doctor appointments. Surgery. Incomplete independence. Medical bills. Physical therapy. Health insurance. Consistently needing to ask for help. The transition from life as a self-sufficient working woman to post-op patient on crutches is all-consuming  until it seems to become ‘just life.’ Opinions, thoughts and judgments from others and myself get LOUD.

People ask, “How are you feeling?”

Do they really want to know how I am feeling? Or are they expecting me to say, “better”?

Chances are, my answer is, “Good.”

Unless I know that the person asking is sincerely wondering what my heart is experiencing in that moment. Upon which my reply would be, ” I am OK…” Because, truthfully, I know that I am always OK. At the same time, things are challenging so I continue…

“Sleep is difficult to come by, making the days foggy and frustrating. My mind processes in slow motion on minimal rest. There are so many daily tasks that I ‘should’ be asking for help with doing; taking out the trash and recycling, cleaning the litter box, grocery shopping, carrying mail and packages up to my apartment, vacuuming, laundry, etc. And the majority of the time I make my best attempt at doing it myself only to become increasingly more frustrated often warranting tears. Somehow, that seems more acceptable that asking the question, “Can you do me a favor?” and being seen as helpless or needy. More than anything, I sometimes wish that others could understand that when I outwardly express any feelings of pain, it is already to the point where I can hardly bear it.”

What about when they ask, “How are you healing? Was the last procedure successful?”

Immediately, I hesitate. No. I don’t want to lie. And I also don’t want to elicit a response along the lines of, “Are you kidding me?! Why?!”

The truth is, right now, I don’t know. And I won’t know anything until I get another set of x-rays on 12/21. At my most recent follow-up, I could sense the uncertainty in my surgeons voice and the confusion on the resident’s face as he clicked through my x-rays on the computer screen was more than apparent.

All of the work I am putting into healing is beginning to feel more like an act of desperation when it can and should be an act of love. Throughout my life, I’ve never been in battle with my body; always working with it. Saying that this is, “just life,” is dismissing what is important… EVERYTHING.

Nothing about this is easy, nor will it ever be. Each day is so, so different from the last. It’s not just my levels of pain or discomfort that occur in different parts of my spine, legs, and feet. It is the sensations preventing me from doing and oftentimes completing the most basic tasks, like putting socks on, taking a shower [with 100% effort], simply trying to find a comfortable position in bed, or making plans well in advance and not knowing how I am going to be feeling on that day and possibly having to cancel. Just because I am ‘used to it’ or considered a ‘seasoned veteran,’ doesn’t mean that every time I roll back into the operating room, battle with my insurance company, or leash myself to a pair of crutches, feelings of simplicity and ease surround me. Hah! I wish. Right now, it seems as if ALL of these challenging aspects of living with dwarfism are fencing me in the ring. Small movements can make a difference between wearing a smile or letting the tears fall.

And yet, these moments of fear, sadness, uncertainty and even guilt cannot be defeated. They must be witnessed; experienced. We can look at life in two ways:

-90% circumstance and 10% attitude
OR
-10% circumstance and 90% attitude

I’ll go with the latter. Life is what it is right now. And writing this is a reminder to myself to STOP, pause, breathe and realize that time is still in front of me. It always will be.

Slowing down, feeling, talking and experiencing has resulted in my understanding of how EVERY aspect of my life has changed dramatically due circumstance. When my attitude outweighs it all, it becomes the life preserver keeping from sinking into the depths of pity.

I CAN.

Bite the bullet and jump the hurdles.
See that the benefits continue to outweigh the risks, the fear and the unknown.
Turn to my dream team, how many beautiful people I’ve met and continue to meet, and how much light they add to my life.
Witness how committed I have become and how my strength grows exponentially with each passing minute.

This isn’t ‘just life,’ it’s my life. And sometimes the fiercest thing we can do is be quiet. Make the shift. Be the calm during the storm. When you’re healing, there is something ornate and profound that is woven inside of us.

LOVE.

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