My primary care physician asked me at the end of January how things were going since the last surgery alleviated a large portion of my pain. I was as surprised as he was by my response and subsequent emotional reaction.
Through tears, I said, “Ya know, you can’t be absent from your life for nearly a year and anything be the same when you rejoin it. Just about everything is different.”
And boy is it different on so many levels. That is not to say that different is all bad, but I was so trapped in pain and symptoms for what seemed like so long that I am just now becoming aware of it all being so very different.
I should note that I am also aware of the growth and the positives that came from and are still coming from it, and have shared some of that in previous blogs.
However, I also feel the need to share more of the more recent processing of the feelings as I am genuinely struggling to adjust to the many changes. I honestly feel like I am just waking up from a deep sleep or something.
If I go back to when the problems with the first pump began in July of 2010, which is where my mind goes in comparisons, then my life looks very different. In so many ways, my world sort of stopped or the pause button was pushed at that time.
As I tried to hit play and restart my life after the first surgery in September of 2010, it really was then put on hold with the surgeries in March 2011 when I lost a pump and got a new one.
My energy for much of the months following this was spent trying to manage my symptoms, manage pain and get doctors to hear me that something was very wrong. What energy I had left was spent trying to remain sane.
Since October, I have continued to expend energy seeing different doctors to see if the remaining nerve issues and pain are potentially resolvable. This was the follow up tearful conversation with my primary care doctor since it seems they may not be.
While I am walking, working and driving, the ongoing nerve issues and pain are quite limiting. I am still testing what my activity limits are. These issues and pain are not related to my illness—the pump is doing its job, but apparently at quite a cost.
I am finding the process of figuring out what I can and cannot do is particularly frustrating since I had none of these issues with the first pump when it was implanted in 2007. After the more recent doctor visits and having to face those realities, I also became more aware of the rest of the changes in my world.
Nothing seemed to happen gradually from my perspective because all of the sudden I had some energy to notice. Perhaps I noticed some before now, but the past year is quite a blur and I honestly do not remember much.
In any case, WOW, things have sure changed! Of course, changes continue, as that is the nature of living this life.
I am still struggling to catch up with the changes from the past year and each time I start to feel somewhat grounded, something else happens to knock me off balance. For examples, one of my dogs nearly died at the end of November and my dad had a close call in December.
But I digress… Neale Donald Walsh wrote a whole book on change titled “When Everything Changes, Change Everything” that I read in 2009. (I totally recommend the book whether you are experiencing major changes or not because the whole gist is changing your perception of the changes.)
I had some awareness of change as the year 2011 moved on seemingly without me because I took the opportunity to make some positive lifestyle changes since everything else had changed.
Honestly, many of these were the only things I felt I had much control over. I stopped smoking, drinking caffeine, eating bacon and various other unhealthy things. I planted a garden and learned to enjoy cooking.
I remember how much I love to hang out with my aging dogs at home as much as I enjoy socializing with friends and family. I have different interests, different taste buds and a different idea about what makes something a good time. Have I mentioned how different things seem to be?
I am doing my very best to adapt and embrace all of the changes. I am hopeful that I am beyond the initial shock of realizing much of it. It seems I am finding myself grieving what was my life since I seem to be struggling to find a strong foothold in my new and different one.
I tried to just keep moving forward and skip this step, but it seems that is not what is necessary for my process. I also was trying to skip the part of sharing the emotional struggle part of this process, but apparently, that is also necessary.
Sharing the struggle is part of sharing what I learn along the way and that is really why I started this blog. It is what I do. That is actually something that has not changed!