From walker user to move-in pro in one year

Until about 10 p.m. today I felt like She-Ra (Thanks to for the image). Do you remember her? The Princess of Power who was He-Man’s female counterpart? Anyway, when I was a kid, she was a badass who could do anything with a terrifically catchy theme song. And today, for 13 hours, I felt like her.

She-Ra: Princess of Power

Here’s the deal: Today was move-in day on the college campus where I work. Every year, the residence hall staff organizes this amazing thing they call MoveCrew. Current students, faculty, staff and even folks from the community who want to be part of the action come and help EVERY STUDENT and his or her parents unload and haul all their stuff into their new room. New student, returning student, doesn’t matter. If you show up anytime on the first day of move-in, you will be swarmed with helpers. It’s honestly something every college campus should consider.

Last year on move in day I was nine days before surgery and using a walker to get around. In order to do my job of covering the event for the university website and social media, I braced against that walker as I took notes and interviewed those involved. It was a hard day. This year, I was wearing one of the Move Crew T-shirts. I was one of the people carrying laundry baskets or cases of water or suitcases or microwaves up to the fourth floor — or wherever the student lived — with a smile.

She-Ra. No doubt.

cars surrounded by move crew volunteers in gray T-shirts

It was incredible. I must have told six different co-workers, none of whom I know that well, about how darned excited I was to be there doing that. And of course I shared it with my yoga teacher. She smiled the biggest smile and said something very kind: “Good for you for taking the time to celebrate that.”

She’s right. It was good for me. And I was so happy. It was as terrific a day as the same day last year was a difficult one. It reminded me of how much fun I used to have. Motivated me to make sure there can be more days like that one.

Then, at about 10 p.m., as my husband and I were trying to enjoy some grown-up time, the universe reminded me that I am not completely better. For a reason I still cannot figure out, my symphysis started to hurt. A LOT! Like something hard had been dropped on it, or my son had accidentally kicked it. Neither had actually occurred. Needless to say, it ruined our plans and — about 20 minutes later after I tired some stretches, exercises and Biofreeze to make it stop, to no avail — sent me into a sob fest.

It truly is a challenge to keep it together emotionally when my body is my biggest trigger. PTSD is a bitch. Those feelings of abject helplessness are hard to describe and completely debilitating. I’m lucky he heard me sobbing and came down to offer kind words and a hug. He lets me cry a while, then makes sure I don’t lose myself and pulls me out of it. If you ever saw one of these episodes play out (I hope you don’t) you would think he has some sort of training. Nope. He just knows me that well.

Now, about 90 minutes after the onset of his awful mystery pain, I’m trying to focus on everything that happened today before 10 p.m. Those 13 hours when I felt strong, capable, helpful, worthwhile and pain free were wonderful and deserve to be celebrated. The time that has passed and the healing that has occurred within me deserves to be celebrated. And so does the energy and the will – and the help from others – that has made that healing possible.

I want to go to sleep excited about what I’ll have to celebrate another year from now!

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