Be strong, be confident, be fearless … and know that it’s okay to worry along they way.

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Greetings, friends. Hope this finds you well!

I have some new followers and women who have reached out who are incarcerated and looking for a little dose of inspiration. Welcome to my blog! The intention is to keep folks updated with my progress and spread a little inspiration, hope, and kindness. Hopefully when you read my blog, it will do just that.

New things are taking place that are both exciting and scary!!

My lymphedema/occupational therapist is tireless is finding what will work so that I can get out of my leg wraps and get into a compression garment that will control the swelling from lymphedema and garments that I have the ability to get on and off by myself.

Let me just say – this has not been an easy task! As you know, I have limited flexion in my knee and I have a hip restriction which makes handling these compression garments challenging to say the least. After trying several garments, we may have found a solution! You’re thinking, REALLY?!

Yes, my friends, I started wearing a hybrid sock (below) that has compression in the foot through the ankle and I have a second garment (below) that I wear to control the swelling in the leg. Both of these items I can get on and off by myself, using my OT tools!!

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It is always scary to try new items because my foot is so sensitive and fragile from my surgeries. I have an internal battle with myself where I have to calm my fears of my foot opening up again. Trying things that may work is scary, but I have to move forward as I need to get out of this orthopedic boot and into a shoe.

It’s been a few days, and so far everything is fine. I always feel like I am jinxing myself by sharing news like this, but if I want to share my experience in the hope of inspiring others, I need to talk about it.

After 4-6 weeks of wearing these garments with no issues (foot opening up, infection, etc.) I will transition out of my boot and back into a sneaker. A SNEAKER! It has been 4 years since a shoe has been on this foot. How crazy is that?! So while I am extremely nervous, we move forward and what will be, will be.

If I don’t try new things, how will I know if they will work? Fear cannot stand in the way of my progress. I need to remain confident that things will work out.

In addition to this, my best friend made me aware of a knee brace that may help get some flexion back in my knee. She (best friend) is a physical therapy assistant and heard of this knee brace so I sent it to my orthopedic surgeon who said it is okay to try it!

That’s the thing – you have to be your own advocate and find things that will improve your situation. By talking to others and reaching out to say hey, do you know of x, y, and/or z,¬†you may just be surprised in what you find.

This knee brace looks daunting but I am up for trying it. Right now, I can’t drive as I don’t have enough bend in my knee to clear the driver’s side door. Trust me, I am scared to try it but I can’t hold back. I need to get my knee to bend more. Right now, my knee is locked at 50 degrees which is a problem!

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While I am scared with the changes we are making and new things we are trying, I am also hopeful and confident that these things will improve my overall health and that I am closer to reaching my goals.

Regardless of what obstacles you are up against, be confident in your decision to trying new avenues that will help you reach your goals. If we aren’t trying to better ourselves, our situation, or our environment, we will never be successful. I don’t know about you, but life is too short and too precious to be in a place you don’t want to be.

Find the courage to move forward and make your life as beautiful as it can be.

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

Jewels

 

 

 

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Strong women …

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Recently, I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a post that this sweet, sweet person wrote about how she was having a good old-fashioned pity party and about how she found gratitude for all the good in her life and moved on. This resonated with me as I have had days like these. Haven’t we all?

Days where we feel completely overwhelmed with … life.

Some of us are working, raising a family, dealing with an illness, fighting a disease, missing loved ones, and the list goes on, and we all just do the best we can. Some days are easier than others!

The person who posted that is a gal named Lauren, and she is a friend of my daughter. While I have never met her, I will never forget the kindness she showed me when I was first in the hospital. It was a rough hospital stay and I remember getting flowers from this kind soul to brighten my spirits – someone I had never even met! (I hate to say it but I feel terrible that I never sent her a proper thank you card for those flowers once I was home from the hospital – sorry, Lauren! The flowers meant a lot and did lift my spirits).

Lauren is the epitome of a strong woman. She is married (her husband has been in the Army for 11 years), has three children, ages 5, 3, and 1, and runs her own makeup business. (Awesome makeup – http://www.CrazyLashLauren.com). She always seems so positive, regardless of what is going on in her life. Lauren keeps it real my friends and I love that about her because life is not perfect.

Luckily, I am surrounded by strong women. My daughter is another example of a strong woman. She works full-time, is recently divorced and trying to navigate life post-divorce with a soon-to-be five-year-old, and is always doing random acts of kindness or nice things for others.

I admire my daughter for being brave enough to realize that life is short and knowing she needed to make hard decisions to have inner peace. She has no idea how strong she truly is, and I hope one day she can look back and realize just how courageous she has always been.

Two of my best friends have each found themselves raising their grandchildren when the parents of these children couldn’t manage to do so. It was difficult enough raising our own children when we were young and full of energy – can you imagine how it is now, years later, raising grandchildren? I should also mention that one of these amazing women is now a 5-year breast cancer survivor, they both work full-time and they never gave it a second thought to jump in and help!

These women are strong and inspiring. They move me and countless others and probably have no idea what an impact they are making.

Life can be complicated and messy at times and I have found that the strongest women show such grace in the face of adversity. Yes, pity parties do happen, but I say embrace them because we all need a good cry every now and again!

I have had all the feels lately because today, March 22nd, marks 4 years since breaking my leg. Four long years of ups and downs, triumphs and setbacks, and, at times, a pity party for 1. See the connection here and why Lauren’s post really struck a nerve?

It is incredible to me that 4 years and 22 surgeries have gone by so quickly. It’s funny because at the start of every year, I proudly announce, “THIS IS GOING TO BE THE YEAR THAT I CAN WALK ON MY OWN, DRIVE, GET BACK TO WORK, AND PUT THIS BEHIND ME.”¬†And each year keeps passing me by and I feel as though I am standing still at times.

 Progress is being made and while I know that is the most important thing to remember, this process has been long! As my granddaughter says, it is taking forever! At the moment, I continue to struggle with how to get the compression garment on and off by myself. A person with no hip restrictions and perfect knee flexion would have a tough time getting this compression garment on, so to say that I struggle is an understatement.

We will continue to brainstorm and try different ways to successfully master this task. In the meantime, I continue to work on my own and will be getting back to physical therapy soon. Since I have been away from PT, my leg and hip do feel a little stiffer, but I am confident that I will continue to make progress.

Some exciting news – I have been accepted to grad school, starting in June! Master of Science in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy is my focus and I am beyond exited to start! My goal of starting a foundation or running a nonprofit is hopefully in my future!

So, on the rare occasions where the tears flow from frustration and the pity party starts, I always remember that I am grateful that we saved my leg and foot. Grateful that I wake up every day and have the opportunity to spend time with my family, and that I have the opportunity to use this time to go back to school.

As Lauren said, we find our gratitude and we keep going. And that my friends, is what we need to remember during our times of frustration. There is always something to be grateful for if we open our hearts to notice it.

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

Jewels