Three weeks ago, I managed to walk 1/2 a mile without the constant dependence on my cane.
Two weeks ago, I walked 1 mile.
A week ago, I was back to swimming about ten laps.
The last time I was able to be this active was in my early 20's or even my late teens.
I had finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel of pain, sporadic muscle spasms that entwined me in invisible and electric waves, and questioning my quality of life over my quantity of life. I finally wanted to kiss my hot hip replacement surgeon and hail and have the biggest blowout party to whomever invented the hip replacement surgery.
Sure, I had a few more physical therapy sessions and doctor appointments to fine tune my body. Nonetheless, I was unbeatable and unstoppable. I was on top of the world and ready to take on the world. I was ready to go back to work, feel normal and be better than ever, strut my new hip and body, and lose the weight that I had gained after being immobile and struggling with my rough rehab in the last two months and a half.
But, then, disaster struck.
Approximately five days before I was about to start my life in the best of ways and finally return to the routine and comfort of work, the top of my right foot began to experience pain from a small cut that had developed. By the time the weekend came to an end, the pain was traveling to the arch of my right foot and then up my calf. In the middle of the night, I woke up with slight tingling and numbness. I had always been accustomed to pain and struggles with the left side of my body, so this sudden right side mayhem befuddled and scared me.
Then, came Monday (my last physical therapy session), and the pain in my calf was just worsening. I was not sure if it was the nerves or muscles acting up, but I could barely walk. My top notch physical therapist demanded to see my foot and then said that he thought it was infected by the looks of it. He immediately told me to see my general practitioner, who I ended up seeing that afternoon. Without bashing my GP too much, I have not known her too long. I've known her for no more than a year. She said the cut was healing nicely, but when she pressed on certain areas of my foot, the numbness, tingling, and pain started up all over again. She immediately speculated a condition called "morton's neuroma" (a problem with the nerve endings) and said I may need surgery, but that she would determine based on an MRI. I said that I was planning to return to work, and she said to leave the medical leave extension paperwork with her and would say that my return would be "To Be Determined" based on MRI results.
Meanwhile, my other two doctors completely disagree with my GP's suspected diagnosis and think I just pulled my muscles and tendons out of my intense craving to be normal and capture all the activities and moments that I could not do for so many years.
The days fly by. It is now Thursday. I was supposed to be back at work yesterday. I had conjured up images of seeing my co-workers, managers, nurses, and doctors again. I was supposed to embrace the beginning that I had worked so hard for these past couple of months of rehab and after years of pain. I was supposed to be normal.
As my Dad pointed out to me, "Mary, you have to realize that you are always going to be a little bit slower and different from everyone else-- even after this surgery."
I was silent on the phone line when my Dad just pointed out the obvious and he continued, "Just because you had hip replacement surgery does not mean that you are going to be like everyone else. It means that you have to take care of yourself even more and preserve what you have. You have many years ahead of you, and you need to be careful and wary of these years."
I pouted, "But, it isn't fair."
My Dad confirmed, "Life is not fair. You know that better than anyone else."
'Tis true. I had always known that life was not fair. I had somehow accepted and even cuddled with my differences once I left high school. I loved and prided myself on being unique and standing out. But, there was always a small part of me that always wanted to belong and always wanted to be normal. I wanted to be like my closest friends who could rock and roll to spinning and run and walk for miles on end with their athletic legs and long and sculpted strides. I wanted to travel and see the world with wide eyes and a strong body. At the same time, I just wanted to the simple and most treasured things in life: Meet someone, get married, cook a simple meal, and just go to work and do my best every single day.
I await my MRI results about what this latest little health hiccup could be to then plot and focus on the preservation of what I have rather than limitations. Life is never as planned. Life is unfair. Yet, in some strange way, the unfairness that we are all faced with and have to deal with balance out for each of us.
I am different. I am abnormal. I am unique.
But, then again, so is everyone else.