Three years … seems like a lifetime.

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This part of my journey began three years ago. When I was walking down stairs, my leg broke. And, well, y’all know the rest of the story.

March 22, 2014 seems like a lifetime ago at times. Three years of hospital stays, surgeries, missing time with my family, not working, not driving … you get it. The other part of this journey has been meeting the most beautiful and kind souls. People who have become like family. My family and friends who have blessed me beyond measure.

I started this blog with the hope that I could inspire one single person who may be going though a life changing journey. It is intended to inspire, provide a little bit of hope, and spread kindness. So when people I don’t even know contact me to say, “thank you for your post, it made me feel a tiny bit better,” I realize that perhaps I was meant to go through this journey to somehow help others. Or maybe things just happen and there is no rhyme or reason, but I prefer to think that we can somehow connect by our trials and tribulations.

It is a heavy burden to carry when you feel as though you are going through something alone. It doesn’t matter what it is – we all need someone to lift our spirits. Someone who can identify with how we feel because we are going through something similar. Someone we can laugh with through the ridiculousness that can become overwhelming.

The world is a kinder place when you have someone to lean on. My hope is that you have that someone in your life. My hope is that no matter what obstacle is set before you, you know there are people you can count on to support you and say, “Let’s do this!” (Cough, cough … Serena) We all deserve that.

I started physical therapy (again) yesterday after dislocating my hip. While I don’t know the staff that well as I was only there for two months before the whole hip thing, these people cheer me on and provide hope that I will get to where I need to be. It is remarkable to find that you connect with people who genuinely wish for healing for you, and offer words of encouragement! PT kicked my butt yesterday! My knee only bends to 30 degrees now. It was at almost 60 degrees prior to the dislocation so that’s a bummer. Clearly, I have work to do.

Friends, this time it is physical therapy for-the-win! The last time was just practice. It will be interesting to see how I progress in PT with the hip abduction brace. Stay tuned to find out!

One thing that I have been reminded of throughout these last three years – we can’t move forward if we are looking back. The past has already happened; it is the present that we live in and the future that has potential. Let’s focus on that!

Until next time, go out and do what? A random act of kindness, of course!

Jewels

 

 

 

 

Let’s try this again. For the win. Seriously.

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They do say that if at first you don’t succeed, try again. Right?

I had my follow-up appointment with my orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Anderson (love her) and she has given me the okay to get back to physical therapy. It will be limited to weight-bearing and really just “moving” more as I have strict hip precautions, but I will take it.

There is something about actually being in a rehab facility – working with an awesome PT – that makes me feel as though I can accomplish the goal of walking again. Perhaps that sounds silly, but in my mind, I think it makes me feel better.

When I saw my orthopedic surgeon, she said the hip is still in place and that I will continue to wear the brace. The general rule of thumb is to wear the brace for 3 months after dislocating your hip. That is fine by me as the brace provides stability and will hopefully prevent another dislocation.

With that being said, the brace has some disadvantages as well. It has created major swelling in my lower leg. There are times when the straps on my boot cannot close! Between not being able to elevate as I need to and being limited as to my range of motion, it has created this “crazytown” swelling.

When my doctor entered the exam room and took a look at my swollen leg, she immediately paged my vascular surgeon and they did an urgent ultrasound to check for a DVT. That was not pleasant at all! The technician had to apply so much pressure and the hip joint area was very sensitive. It felt very uncomfortable! After 30 or so minutes of trying to get images, the technician said he was having a difficult time ruling out a blood clot because the swelling was making it difficult, so he had two doctors come in to assist.

Thankfully there was no clot! They sent me to the physical therapy department so they could wrap my leg and I was able to go home. Now I must be vigilant about elevating as much as the brace allows, keeping the leg wrapped well, and I can start to use the lymphedema pump if I am very careful getting in and out of it. Later this month I start lymphedema therapy as well. Hopefully between that, elevating, wrapping, and getting back to PT, we can get this under control.

My doctor asked how I was handling everything and I was very honest and open and told her that the hip dislocation has left me very discouraged. I find myself being negative which I can’t stand. March 22nd will be THREE years since breaking my leg! Three years of ups and downs and setbacks. Three years of not driving, working, volunteering, blah blah blah. See! Right there – stating the negatives!

I have tried so hard to remain positive through these last three years and the stress it has put on my family. Trust me, it has put a tremendous amount of stress on them, to say the least. This makes me feel guilty even though I can’t control what has happened. My family and friends are a blessing and have gone above and beyond to help me so many times.

These setbacks steal a piece of my confidence and make my soul feel a little troubled and sad.

However – I will keep pushing through and I will lift my spirits! It is time to dust myself off and start again. Physical therapy – this time – this time it is for the win! Let’s do this!

Until next time, go out and do a random act of kindness. The recipient of that act of kindness will appreciate it.

Jewels

Growing older is a privilege.

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Greetings, friends. I know it’s been a while. Sometimes you just need a break to take stock of … life.

The last month since dislocating my hip has been frustrating. Frustrating because I have taken a thousand steps backwards and where is the fun or progress in that?! One thing I can’t stand is complaining so I will try not to do just that.

Things were progressing before the dislocation and I was really looking forward to getting my life back and I honestly felt in every fiber of my being that THIS was MY year. This was going to be the year where I would be walking – working – driving – fully living! And perhaps that will still happen, it is just delayed. Again.

And the last thing I will harp on is how I am so over these medical bills. Each year I say, “this has to be the last year of medical bills” and yet here we are once again. Stop the madness already!

Now that I have said my peace on all of that, one thing I have always said is that growing older is a privilege. Ever since I had cancer as a teenager (many moons ago!) I absolutely love my birthday and growing older. Not only is it a privilege to grow older – with age comes wisdom. Wisdom to know that even when there are setbacks, you can and will get through them. Maybe not as quickly as one would like, but still, we rise.

I hope I have the privilege of sharing my journey with y’all for many, many years to come. It will go from utterly frustrating to triumphant! This is my hope and I am strong enough to know that I will fight tooth and nail to have this ordeal behind me.

Until next time, be well and go out and do a random act of kindness. Please.

Jewels

You find the strength!

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Keep going. Two simple words with so much meaning.

I had my follow-up appointment with my orthopedic surgeon and the x-rays looked fine. The hip is still in place! That’s the good news. The disappointing and discouraging news is that I will be discharged from physical therapy as I am limited in what I can do while in this abduction brace.

My physical therapy is now limited to weight-bearing, ankle pumps, standing at a counter while shifting my weight and isometric exercises. Isometric exercises consist of squeezing and holding the muscles in my leg. All are things that I can do on my own without the need of a physical therapist with me. The hope is that once the muscle forms around the hip that I will be able to return to physical therapy.

When that will be, we don’t know at this point.

It would be easy to lose focus and give up but that is simply not how I do things. You find the strength when you need it the most. You don’t quit, you keep going! This setback could depress anyone if you let it, but rather than feeling sorry for myself, I decided to look at it for what it is. A setback. A setback that will lead to a greater comeback. I mean, that is what happens, right? You are going along, fighting the good fight and when a setback occurs, you come back stronger because it lights a fire in you that says, KEEP GOING.

Sometimes we will never know why things happen but we don’t always need to know the why. It won’t change things and you can’t turn the clock back–no matter how much we wish we could at times. I cried the tears I needed to and now I move forward.

So I will end as I started. Whatever is happening in your world, just keep going! You can do it and so can I.

Until next time, be well and go out and do a random act of kindness.

Jewels

 

Wasn’t I just talking about setbacks?!

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Oh friends, sometimes I wonder what the heck?!

Here I was, minding my own business, working so hard at rehab, admiring the rainbows and butterflies when WHAM! I dislocate my hip! YES – my new hip.

After having great appointments with my orthopedic and vascular surgeons on Monday, I left Boston that day feeling so grateful and blessed that things were really moving along. The x-rays looked great and the prosthesis had cemented nicely. For the first time in 2.5 years, vascular said I didn’t need to be seen again for six months. YAY!! Life.is.good!

The very next day, I went to PT and we did the exact same exercises we do each treatment and during the “leg raises” something happened. There was a “pop” and it didn’t feel right. I wasn’t able to apply weight on the leg. My PT was horrified (not her fault at all) and another therapist came over and we thought the hip was okay. Was it a tear in the scar tissue? Muscular?

I went home, took Tylenol,and spoke with my doctor’s office. I decided that if things weren’t better in the morning, I would go in for x-rays. After having a restless night, off to Boston we went.

The x-rays showed a significant change from when I was there on Monday, and my hip was indeed dislocated. Thankfully, my orthopedic surgeon was already in the OR and was able to get me in relatively quickly. Under general anesthesia, they were able to pop my hip back in place.

Now I am wearing a hip abduction brace to provide support and help keep the hip-joint stable. The brace is designed to limit my motion and allow healing to take place. I must wear this brace while awake and it can only be removed to shower and sleep. While sleeping, I have the abduction wedge (not sure what the actual name is) that straps your legs to it so I don’t dislocate the hip again. It makes me feel trapped!! If this is what I need then I shall use it, but I will silently curse the darn thing!!!

Since I dislocated my hip, I am now high risk for it to happen again. This scares me to think of that happening again.

I can’t return to rehab until I see my surgeon again–which will be in less than two weeks. This is another setback and it is so frustrating!. There was progress being made and I truly felt as though things were on the right track.

Hopefully we can turn this bus around soon and I can continue on the path to full recovery.  In my last post, ironically, I mentioned setbacks and how you just have to keep going. It’s true. So that is exactly what I will do. One day at a time.

Until next time, be well and go out and do a random act of kindness.

Jewels

 

 

 

Reaching goals & all that jazz…

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Isn’t it a wonderful feeling when you reach a goal?

I know many people made resolutions in the new year and set goals for the year. That is awesome! Goals are both wonderful and frustrating. When you set a goal, it gives you something to work towards and often times lights the fire under you to say, hey, I can do this! Am I right?

Goals are a personal desire, either for what we want to accomplish, or perhaps overcome. Only you can decide which goal will lead to your success – as YOU define it. Others may think they know what the goal(s) should be, however, YOU are the one who needs to fulfill the goal, so make it what you want! Who can stop you?

The other side of that coin is the frustration that comes when you don’t reach the goal fast enough, or you have setbacks. I know all about setbacks, my friends. For so long, it seemed as though I would take 3 steps forward, only to then take 5 steps backwards. That feeling of, UGH, are you serious right now?, would hit me like a physical punch to the stomach.

I was in such a hurry to have my foot heal so we could move ahead with the big surgery that I would set unrealistic goals. It wasn’t because they were unobtainable. I just overlooked the fact that the body takes time to heal, and that sometimes things happen during that process which have nothing to do with achieving my goals (infection, failed surgery, etc.). Failing to recognize that left me feeling so defeated.

So I had a conversation with one of my surgeons, and I told him that we must stop putting a timeframe on when the big surgery would happen. Of course, I was the one putting timeframes on it, but I had to realize that by doing so, I wasn’t helping the process.

The surgery finally arrived and y’all know how awesome that turned out! YAY!

Fast forward to starting physical therapy. I decided that I would have an open mind and NOT set a hard and fast goal about when I would start walking again. Instead, I decided to let the process work and to remain patient. Celebrate the small steps that will ultimately get me to my goal, is the approach I took.

The first time I got on the NuStep bike, it didn’t even register my steps as I couldn’t bend my knee enough to make that happen. So each time I sat down at that bike, I told myself, I can do this. There will come a day when it will register my steps. I don’t know when that will be, but if I continue to do my exercises and believe in the process, it will happen. The goal is to have this darn bike register my steps.

Guess what folks? It DID happen!! This week at PT, for the first time, the bike registered my steps!!! I literally could not believe my eyes and probably looked and sounded like an idiot, because I was so happy that I couldn’t contain my excitement! (By the by, I can’t believe I only burned 13 calories when it seemed like I was working so hard!)

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After weeks of getting on that bike and not seeing anything happen, one day it did. My heart is happy. My spirit is alive. Small steps. Progress. Reaching goals. Getting strong. Believing that I can and will do this.

Here’s the thing, my friends. Never give up. EVER. Even when you are having the crappiest of days and you are frustrated. Giving up is easy. Fighting to stay in the game is hard but in the end is worth it!

Keep fighting the good fight! You can do this. We can do this. Be patient and work your butt off!

What kind of goals have you set?

Until next time, go out and do a random act of kindness. Today. Tomorrow. Whenever. Just do it!

Jewels

 

 

2017 is going to be a fantastic year!

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Happy New Year, friends!

As we usher in the new year, I’d like to reflect on 2016 and all that I was able to accomplish.

The big surgery is behind me, and I am making great progress! Physical therapy, while slow and difficult, is also incredibly rewarding. I typically have PT three times a week and I am able to see results as I increase my exercises, learn new things, and bear additional weight on my leg. Awesome sauce!

Dare I say, I am feeling like my old self more and more each day! I still get tired, especially after PT, but not nearly as much as before. There are some sleepless nights, but they are few and far between.

I will begin using a lymphedema pump and I will start seeing a lymphedema specialist in the next several weeks. The goal is to get this swelling in my leg under control. My leg is heavy and my PT gets a work out in during my exercises when she is lifting my leg!

Between PT and the lymphedema therapy, I hope to see improvement and continue to move forward. I hope that 2017 will be my last year of paying these crazy high deductibles! This is going to be the year – my year, if you will, where I get my life back. I can feel it in every fiber of my being.

I don’t make resolutions, as I try to live my best life every day. I do my best to enjoy and appreciate my many blessings.

Happy New Year to you! May 2017 be a year filled with good health, time spent with the people who mean the most to you, exciting adventures and peace and love in your heart.

Do you make resolutions? 

Until next time, be well and go out and do a random act of kindness.

Jewels