I asked my husband today if he thought it would be weird to bring Dr. Sojka a present when we see him for my follow-up appointment on Dec. 6. He said it would. And I protested:
“But he gave me my life back!”
I thought about that a lot today. It is so true. Nearly three months after surgery to repair my separated pelvis, I am making wonderful progress. I am staring to recognize myself again. And I’m starting to feel comfortable as an able-bodied, capable mother. (This is new for me!)
Today, for example, I walked into my class with just my legs. No chair. No walker. Just legs. It was a seven-minute walk, my longest so far, and included two flights of stairs. And I got an amazing reaction from my professor and classmates: Shouts, high-fives, a hug and huge smiles of support! It made my week.
I crawled on the floor with my son, after carrying him from his classroom to the car, buckling him into his seat (with NO back pain) and driving us home.
I am truly in a place now where if you didn’t know how I walked before and you didn’t know about all of this, you would never know I just spent 10 weeks in a wheelchair.
I still have some discomfort in my mid-section but it is all muscle. It is a good post-workout type of discomfort. It’s not sharp. It doesn’t burn. It’s not even a deep, in-the-bone ache like before. It feels like healing. And I’m starting to look forward to the next day and what I might do.
We have been busy the last few days and I haven’t written as much as I should so I’ll include some pretty great highlights here:
- NO MORE SHOTS! I have gotten the all clear to stop taking my twice-daily blood thinner shots. I called Wednesday last week and heard back on Friday.
- NO MORE WHEELCHAIR! Blue Sunshine went back to the company on Thursday last week. (I called to arrange it on Wednesday after getting the go-ahead from Amy).
- I haven’t used the walker since Saturday! And I only used it then because of a visit to Lawrence that required lots of walking late in the afternoon.
- On Monday, I hopped! No joke. Amy and I were doing a drill where I stand on one leg and we toss a two-pound medicine ball back and forth. I was teetering on my foot and, for some reason, instead of planting the other foot my brain said hop. I didn’t realize I had done it, really, until Amy stopped and said: “You just hopped on one leg!” A great success moment.
- The Little Guy laughs every time I take him up or down the stairs. It’s AWESOME! This has happened every time I have taken him up or down those 14 stairs since the first time last week. I’m not sure if he gets that it is new, different and exciting. Or maybe I’m making a face and he’s laughing at me. It could be that he’s just excited to be going someplace. It doesn’t really matter. It just makes me feel incredible.
- My confidence is growing! I’ve spent the last two nights home alone with the Little Guy, while my husband is working basketball games, and we both did great. I wasn’t scared or worried. I just did what I needed to do. And I did it without having to think about logistics. I can go up the steps as many times as I need to. I can get on my tip toes to reach something from the cabinet. Anything I need.
There have been a few keys to this rapid change and I want to share them, too.
- I do my exercises at home at least once daily. I’m supposed to do them twice. I always do them twice daily on the weekends. And I’ve worked with Amy to figure out what new exercises I can add.
- I have amazing support — at home and away — who have supported and encouraged me daily. My husband has been my rock throughout this. He hasn’t let me blame myself. He hasn’t let me feel sorry for myself. Instead, he’s reminded me of what I can do and the love I have. It’s not easy to watch someone you love struggle or feel pain. I know that from watching my mom. But it’s even harder to tell that person to pull it together, buck up and face it with your head held high.
- And I’ve done my best to stay positive and hopeful about my future. I believed what Dr. Sojka said the first time we met him: “I can fix you.” I took what he and Amy have said seriously. And I have WANTED TO GET BETTER. I believe that I will hike with my husband and son when the Little Guy is taller than I am. And I have committed to doing what it takes to get there again.
I feel like I can see the light at the end of this once very dark, dreary tunnel. I am inspired to keep moving forward.
Anyone out there struggling with pelvic girdle pain, and especially the condition I experienced, diastasis symphysis pubis, please don’t give up on yourself. Don’t give up on your body. Ask for an x-ray. Talk to more doctors. You know your body and you know what normal feels like for you. And you deserve answers.
I’m still not certain I’ll be 100 percent — running without thought of pain or hiking for a weekend. But I know I’m already 90+ percent and they say it can take up to a year after surgery to reach complete recovery.