Practicing Resiliency is Hard Work!

Uff-dah!

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.

19 Comments

  1. What do they say; Is that each set back is a set up for a come back 😉 Hey while your at it try the new LUMO to help you sustain the posture that GIVES you the greatest experience in your day to day LIVING 😉

    • Thanks for the tip, Terry. I’m all for anything that will do just that. I haven’t heard of it though, so I’m off to google it. 🙂 Kathy

    • My name is Cheri Taylor and your story is my story. I have also worked in the field of seniors for 24 years and was plaqued with Scoliosis since a child. ..many surgeries…just a part of life…but at the height of my career in 2010, a wonderful surgeon in southern California did a complete spinal reconstruction on my back…totally from neck to rear…no screws…no fusion…each vertebre works seperately. I am now 62…back at my job and in basically no pain…just 2 lyrica a day.

      I know what you are going through, I have been there many times and my husband was there for me when I needed him and slowly enabled me to get my control back as I wondered sometimes if I should throw the towel in…DON’T…there is life after back surgery.

      I am back so to speak at it…sometimes we have to let others care for us so that we can get back to what we love…making a difference in the lives of seniors.

      A Sojourner,

      Cheri Taylor

      • Cheri, Thanks for sharing your amazing story. You are a miracle! Chronic pain is a tough thing to endure and you certainly are a winner in the fight against it. I am SO happy for you. Stay in touch and let me know how you’re doing. Warmly, Kathy

    • Terry, It just occurred to me that you must be a Joel Osteen fan as well. I believe that’s a quote he uses often. Kathy

      • Many ask or think I am a Pastor after meeting, hey I thought we all were 🙂 as I believe life is a Gospel… You have to give it away as you only have a short time…

        As to Joel, I am very familiar with his work, and I am sure we all contribute to a rising tide of Glory that to be honest is more about how we are wired as we see and respond using the basic tenants(sp) of the Bible( basic instructions before leaving earth ;)… Sustain the foundation of ones thinking allows for confident results…. Even those results that that are not man’s and woman’s desire in every case…

        As I have said before our physical mind and body – our physical being will be challenged with our eternal spiritual being continually… The Hope is knowing 😉

      • Amen and Amen.

  2. BETTEDEWING@aol.com

    I hope you have caring support, Kathy

    • Yes, Betty. I have the best husband in the world. He cooks, cleans and is a great caregiver. He even is a registered nurse although not in direct care anymore (except for me). Blessings and thanks for touching base, Bette. Kathy

  3. Maria Siciliano

    Kathy,

    What an inspirational story! You have a marvelous attitude. I look forward to reading more of your posts in 2014. May your health continue to improve and your pain diminish!

    Warmly,
    Maria Siciliano

    • Maria, Thank you for your kind words. It’s so nice to hear from you. We all have our challenges to face in life. Mine at the present time is my spine. We are just so much more than that one little piece of our life that is challenging us. That’s why I’m grateful there are seven dimensions of wellness to lean on. They all have a part to play in seeing us through the tempests in life. I hope to share this hope with others through this blog. Blessings. Kathy

  4. Hi Kathy – Thanks for sharing your story. I’ve sent it to my 79 year old father and I’m hoping he gains the inspiration to work harder on his recovery. His struggle began over 5 years ago with a cervical procedure followed by 3 more spinal surgeries. My mom’s been the rock star as his primary caregiver. Thankfully I have three siblings in the area to provide well needed respite for her! Keep on charging. Dan

    • Dan, My hope is to provide inspiration to others from my experiences as a budding transformational author. Spinal problems are so difficult both pre- and post-surgery. The “problem” becomes all-consuming, and it takes understanding and prodding from others to see beyond it and coax him into other dimensions of his life. That’s why understanding that fact that there are seven dimensions of wellness in our lives gives us a gateway – an escape hatch – into another dimension that is stronger and can lift us up into life again. I hope my post helps your father understand that he can still dream, grow, and have hope for the future. Your family can do much to add these dimensions on his menu of things that will make him stronger, happier and more fulfilled. I will keep you in my prayers. Thank you for commenting. Warmly, Kathy

  5. Kathy, What a story! Thanks for sharing. I admire your courage throughout this whole journey. It certainly is a heroic measure. I saluate you! May God continue to bless you!

    • You have warmed my heart with your comment. I receive your blessing with gratitude. Warmly, Kathy

  6. Hi there I’m having a fusion on the 4th March thank you for sharing I have just started my blog

    • I wish you all the best in your surgical outcome and recovery. Kathy

      • It will be a supernaturally successful surgery 😉

      • Thanks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: