My friend looks good.
As in, insanely good for someone who had a complete pelvic reconstruction less than three weeks ago.
Her face is clear; her cheeks are pink. Her hair is shiny and soft. Her voice is strong, and her words are articulate (as always). She is still my favorite loud friend.
Did this woman really have surgery?
I half expected to see someone with huge purple circles under her eyes, who slept most of the day and drooled out the corner of her mouth a bit. That’s how I would look (I think that’s how I did look this morning, actually).
But yes, she really did have surgery. She showed me the incision. The wound is similar to that left by a C-section. The surrounding area is extremely swollen. She gives herself twice-daily shots to prevent blood clots.
More proof she really did have surgery: She is in a wheelchair or in bed at all times.
I know her physical health is improving each day. But I worry about how the stress, how the anxiety of all of this, will take its toll in the long-term.
She and her husband went through major, huge, super-duper life-changing events in the past year: A new city, a new apartment, two new jobs, a new baby, a second “new” apartment — and now a new pelvis. This one has a plate and screws and didn’t come with instructions.
That’s a lot. A lot for anyone. There is the big-picture stuff that is scary. On Tuesday, my friend will undergo a bone density scan. She has been diagnosed with osteopenia. Now, she will find out if she has osteoporosis at age 31.
Then, there is the smaller “stuff” that is equally frustrating when you can only sit in a bed or a wheelchair. My friend is still using her travel toothbrush because her regular one was lost in the move. When my fiancé and I left the apartment today, we had only been able to locate one of her work shoes. She returns to the office on Thursday. That is a lot to ask of someone who has the kind of incision she has, someone who can’t put any weight on her feet, legs, hips, etc. Someone who must use a transfer board to get from her wheelchair to the toilet.
Despite all of this, my friend remains positive, even energetic.
I saw the joy in her eyes yesterday as she watched her 7-month-old son go for his very first ride in a playground swing. She was able to maneuver her wheelchair right up to the swing, which wasn’t easy, considering the playground “turf” appeared to be made of recycled tires.
She did it.
I know this post-surgery experience will make her stronger in every way imaginable.
But I also know the journey will be extremely challenging, especially after her mother (a retired nurse) leaves at the end of the month.
If you are part of this amazing young woman’s support network, now is the time to show your support. Even if you haven’t talked to her in years. Even if you live in a place far away from the great wheat state of Kansas. Call her. Email her. Send her a card or a drawing. I promise you, it will be taped to her wall within 24 hours. She will never forget your love.