Today was one of a handful of days on this journey that I will never forget.
Today I stood. I got to give my husband a proper hug for the first time since Aug. 24. That was the day I had surgery to repair my separated pelvis, or diastasis symphysis pubis, during the birth of our son in January.
My husband and I occasionally referred to our life post-surgery as phase two. Today, to my complete surprise, we entered phase three. Surprise because I had assumed that my transition back to my legs would just be part of “what’s next” after surgery.
No way. There were way to many emotions, sensations and changes for this to be part of what we already know. When I stood for the first time I was so eager for it. That I expected. What I wasn’t prepared for was the head rush. It really did feel like my center of gravity had moved and the act of standing jolted it back into place.
We got up early this morning, took the Little Guy to school in his pajamas and headed for KU Med. Rain and construction slowed us down but we made it with enough time for my palms to get sweaty before they called my name. I was scared last night about what might happen and this morning I felt like I had a huge test today and couldn’t study.
We learned, instead, that I had been studying every day for 62 days. My surgeon told us that today’s x-rays look “perfect”. Both my back (right side SI joint) and my pubic symphysis look great, he said. The x-rays made him confident enough to let me stand and see how it felt.
“Do you want to stand?” he asked. “Have you already tried it?”
What? “No, I haven’t tried it! Why would I do that? You told me I would only get as better as I listened to you.” My husband added: “She’s a good listener.”
We were both floored by the idea that people try things at home before they know they are ready. To me, this isn’t a reflection of my Type A personality. It’s a focus on getting better and a realization that the orthopedic surgeon knows a hell of a lot more about this stuff than I do.
When the moment came, my surgeon and my husband were sitting next to each other. I was facing them. They each had their arms near mine in case I fell. And I got a warning about feeling light-headed. It took two tries, actually, because that intense feeling stopped me the first time.
I did it. I stood there for maybe 10 seconds and didn’t move. Once my center of gravity found where it actually belongs, it was a terrific feeling. My back felt amazing, stretched out and there was absolutely no pain in my pelvis. I didn’t take a step and I went right back into the chair. But it was wonderful.
We left knowing that I would have physical therapy twice a week for four to six weeks. It was up to me to decide where, but the physical therapist would help me get back on my legs using a walker and then be able to get around without the walker. In December I will meet with the surgeon again and have another series of x-rays. I made an appointment at a local clinic recommended to me by the university’s women’s volleyball coach. My first appointment, with Amy, is tomorrow morning.
Later, when it was time to go home from work, I stood again and shared a hug with my husband. Tonight, before he went back to work for more time on a project, he helped me move to the recliner. I sat with the Little Guy until it was time for bed. Then my husband and I shared another hug and I got back into the chair.
But this time I got back into the chair knowing when the chair will be a memory.