September arrived so quickly this year. Perhaps I say that every year?
I was looking through pictures on my phone and realized that it was two years ago this month that my bad intrathecal baclofen pump was finally removed. Since then, I have gone from wheelchair to cane, wheelchair to walker, fallen a few times, and now get around mostly without any assistive equipment.
Pools, bikes, practicing walking normal, stretching and a variety of other physical therapy things have helped me tremendously. What I think has helped as much as those things is that I finally feel confident–that no matter what level of mobility and no matter what level of symptom interference–I can manage this illness enough to keep moving forward.
I have never been high on any self-confidence scale—likely right out of the womb it began—so to feel some confidence about managing something that ripped my world apart years ago feels pretty huge to me.
It took quite a while to convince me. Probably longer than it needed to take, quite honestly. And, it all came together with the Cali Magic of December, which has yet to lose its momentum in my life. The Cali program serves to help me continue to trust that feeling of confidence, as it has become a part of what I am sharing with both the residents and my coworkers on a regular basis.
Even with the loss of Duke thwarting me, I still feel the momentum and see the momentum manifesting everyday—whether I am into it doing so or not. Some days, the momentum scares me a little and sometimes I just need to be grieving Tawny.
I like to think Duke is behind me pushing me forward into those very things he pulled me back into years ago. He is why I went back to the Homeless Empowerment Program (HEP)—I did it for him so that he could have a job since my improved mobility with the first pump put him out of work. I did it for the folks at HEP because I remember how much it helped me to have a critter who only loved show up now and again.
Little did I know what would be in store for me next there. Little did I know just what I could really bring to the table to help—even without my partner in crime. I wasn’t sure how much I had to offer after the trauma of homelessness, the gap in true full time employment, the years of so much medication that my brain was a constant fog. The little doubting Tawny in my head kept saying, “yes, but…” and “but, what if…”
Eleven years after staying at HEP as a homeless resident without my Duke and Amore, only two years after choosing to remove my pump, I am thriving as a full time employee nearly 9 months into it. The end of an era has opened up an entirely new era. It all seems to be happening so much faster than my little doubting and slightly reserved Tawny had it planned.
Just the same, it is September and WOW, 2015 has been quite full of achievements, sadness, newness, change, and happy surprises all around!