Practicing Resiliency is Hard Work!
Now I know why my ancestors coined this word. I can’t think of any better way to describe being knocked down, but not out. It’s the sound of something knocking the breath out of you. Uff-dah!
As my regular readers know I am fighting my way back from having my spine fused – again. Uff-dah! (Please excuse my recurrent use of the word. It’s a great way to release the pain and tension that come during recovery from surgery and a great way to remind myself to breathe and relax.)
I now have 10 2 1/2- to 3-inch titanium screws in my cervical spine and six in my lumbar spine spanning four surgeries that fused a total of six levels of vertebrae. Uff-dah!
Prior to having this last surgery, I was seriously getting ready to throw in the towel, check into my long-term disability and withdraw from the world that has sustained me for 23 years. Uff-dah!
Post surgery my fighting, resilient spirit has returned full-force. I am back at work two weeks earlier than most people having this surgery, even if only part-time through January before I resume my normal full-time routine. I had to give myself a little kick out the door the first day, but having been in this place before, I knew it was the best thing I could do – despite the difficulty. Uff-dah!
Battling with chronic pain over a period of a few years can suck the life right out of you; not to mention the endless painful tests on the road to surgery. Recovering from surgery – any surgery – is challenging. But to disengage from one’s life and pull the plug on possibilities and dreams is something that will have to be forced on me. I will never choose it. For I am what I contribute to the world and nothing more.
To stop giving is to stop living.
I have an ambitious year planned in 2014. I have declared it a “doctor-free zone” except for wellness checks including the twice yearly dental cleanings. I am going to watch my sick leave and vacation leave pile up and discard my motto, “I don’t take vacations, I take surgeries.”
Thank goodness for excellent surgeons, good insurance, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an understanding employer, co-workers who take up the slack for me, a wonderful caregiving husband, and family and friends near and far who have been praying for my recovery. I am truly blessed beyond measure.
As my physical dimension has suffered over the past few years, I have leaned heavily on the spiritual, social, emotional, environmental, and even my vocational dimensions. I have increased their muscle in my life and consider myself stronger for the pain I have endured.
Now as I begin physical therapy, I am anxious to regain the physical strength and stamina that has diminished due to my condition. Even so, I have made strides in improving my physical dimension during this time. My husband told me that although there was some physical stuff that was not within my control, there was some that was. He felt it was important to take control over that part of my physical dimension that I could influence and therefore bolster my psyche.
What I could control is what I ate and how that affected my physical dimension. So, despite the constant pain, I was still able to change my eating habits. I gave up the comfort foods I had turned to while in pain, and started a healthy eating plan. I lost 35 pounds and dropped four to five sizes in the process and feel great in clothes again. I was even forced to buy a new wardrobe. I can’t imagine how great I will feel and look when I firm and tone up this new body of mine.
Moral of the story is: look to the seven dimensions of wellness to bring balance into your life. Lean on other dimensions when one is ailing, but don’t forget to take charge of what you can in that dimension as well. Stay in charge of your life and don’t ever become of victim.
In the end, it’s all a matter of choice.