Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Taking a Stand..Or Not.

As Thanksgiving approaches,  I am taken back to a Thanksgiving day that challenged my thankfulness. A day I had great promise for, and then, great disappointment. It was the first time in this journey I felt defeated. If you don't know where it all began, please start HERE.

 The journey continues... HERE.

Which brings me to the day before Thanksgiving, 1997...

A day I had been looking forward to... sort of.

The day I was hopefully getting the pins removed from my left foot and told I could start rehab. I was nervous...anxious, but excited.  I knew this was the first step to finding my way back. Yes, this would  literally be my first step to recovery.

The first thing was removing the pins. Do you KNOW how they remove the pins?  With a set of PLIERS...NO numbing agent..just grab on and YANK those suckers out! Now, the doctor reassured me it wouldn't hurt. I didn't believe him. Seriously, how could it NOT hurt? Well guess what..he was right. I mean he tugged pretty hard to get them out and there was some blood, but no pain...NONE!

Then, he told me what I had been waiting over two months to hear...I could put weight on that foot. I could start rehab.  I could STAND!

I went home elated, but I had already made up my mind that I wasn't going to stand that day. No, I was going to wait until the following day...THANKSGIVING.  What could be more poignant than standing for the first time on Thanksgiving day? It would be perfect.

And then...it wasn't.

I had been waiting for this day...longing for it, really. I had remained positive for months.  Even through the torturous obstacles my body had put me through to get here, I remained steadfast and it was going to pay off.

As the house filled with the smells of Thanksgiving I became more and more anxious. I was ready to stand, if only for a few seconds. I was ready to give thanks for my family, my doctors and nurses who had gotten me this far. I had the whole thing rehearsed in my head. I knew I was still a long way from being "OK", but it was the first step and I was going to beam with thankfulness.

I sat up slowly..positioning myself so that I could swing my legs off the edge of that hospital bed. My husband at my side, I took a deep breath and....


I sat there, unable to lift myself to a standing position.  Even with the help of my husband I couldn't budge. I looked at him, dumbfounded. My dad stepped in to help..still, NOTHING.  Then, my brother...three big men and still, I COULD NOT STAND! It felt as though I weighed a million pounds, and this leg... this foreign-looking twig of a leg was useless in supporting me.

My heart sank.

My eyes filled with tears, and for the first time, I broke down.  For the first time, I could no longer see the light at the end of this very long tunnel.  All I could see was darkness. At that moment, I could find no reason to be thankful.

I hadn't even considered that when the doctor gave me permission to stand, it would not necessarily  mean that I COULD stand. I had a lot yet to learn about this journey. It was going to be a battle and I was finding out that my biggest obstacle would be myself. Physically, mentally and emotionally I would be challenged at every turn.

I had a lot to be thankful for that day..I just wouldn't realize it until much later.