While no one I know has actually asked me if everything that has happened this past year was worth it, I certainly have asked myself this question along the way several times.
Since the first pump in 2007, it was clear to me that my life would be better and far better than any of us had hoped.
Even more than not needing a wheelchair or walker, it allows me to not need other medications to manage the symptoms of my illness, which also gave me my brain back.
I can certainly do a lot more in this life to affect change with the pump than without. These were facts for me and those didn’t change as the craziness unfolded this year.
In the middle of what I thought was the worst of it in July, I was ready to have the pump removed and wasn’t sure that I cared if another one was implanted.
I knew I probably wanted to care or should care, but wasn’t seeing the benefit of having a pump under those circumstances. Having a pump is totally my choice.
When my primary doctor heard me saying this sort of thing, he was concerned and called my neurologist to make sure I did not pursue its removal without exploring other options to keep a pump.
Since I had experienced a few months of symptoms without the intrathecal baclofen earlier in the year, I certainly hadn’t forgotten what it was like without a pump. My neurologist didn’t belabor the point because the irony of the issues this pump was causing was not lost on him either.
He understood exactly why I would not find this pump worth it, since it was causing more harm. In any case, he made sure that removing it wasn’t the plan when he referred me to another doctor to fix it.
When recovery from the last surgery has continued to hit snags in the last two months, I am still finding glimpses of the value of this year.
To be honest, I am still angry that it all went down as it did because it still seems avoidable to me. The anger doesn’t mean I don’t think it was worth it, in fact, quite the opposite.
The obvious benefits (the factual, tangible stuff) are evident as I walk my dogs, drive my car, clean my own house, shop for my own groceries, etc.
The intangibles are a bit less clear to me and I feel like I am still trying to catch my breath. I think the emotional toll is catching up with me now that the true crisis seems to be over.
Don’t we all face challenges to get something new or to get to some different place in this life? When we make a choice for something different, something then has to change.
Change of any kind seems to bring with it the question of whether or not it is worth the sacrifice it takes to make it happen.
After it is all over and done, isn’t it always worth it? When we consider the tangibles and the intangibles, can’t there always be some value in the experience?