Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Adventures of Post-Op:
THE MOMENT
YOU CAN'T BELIEVE IS REAL

I can't even write this post without crying.

Last week
for the first time in eight and half years
when I stood up
it didn't hurt
at all.

I hadn't remembered what that felt like, to not feel pain.
It is completely beyond words.
I wanted to stand there forever.
My mom came into the room - What are you doing? she said.
It doesn't hurt, I said. It doesn't hurt. 
And I broke.

She watched for a moment as I stood there
and then she broke too.
"Can I hug you....can I hug you..." she said -
and we stood there, sobbing, broken, holding each other together

have you ever been so happy that you break inside
because that's the only way I can think of to describe it
splintering rays of sunshine rising in my chest and spreading, growing -
chills and warmth coexisting.

I just couldn't believe - still can't believe - that people can feel LIKE THIS.
even my "good days," the days when the pain seemed to subside, 
were nothing at all compared to THIS.

It's a moment I'll remember for the rest of my life, a moment I relive and remember every single time I stand and it doesn't hurt. 

I'd be lying if I said that my recovery has been easy, and it's very much still a work in progress. I still have challenges to contend with, pain in other contexts, spasms, weakness....it's hard, for sure. But this, after eight and a half years of constant pain...this is a gift I hardly dared to hope for,
and I am so, so, so grateful.

I still can't believe this is real.
For the first time in eight and a half years
it doesn't hurt at all. 



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17 comments:

  1. I'm so, so beyond happy for you! Another moment when words just don't seem like enough. So fantastic. Celebrating with you.

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  2. Like I said, this made me tear up and I got goosebumps. <3

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    1. Awww Tara!! <3 Thank you! It means so much to me to have your support through everything!!

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  3. YIPEE!!!! I am so freaking happy for you. What a wonderful moment when you know the fear, pain and freaking overwhelming crap of surgery was worth it.

    It doesn't hurt. I LOVE IT!!!

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    1. Thank you Kerri!!! It WAS a really amazing moment - I am STILL "momenting," in fact - every time I stand I can't help but marvel at how incredible it is.

      I love *you*, friend <3 Thank you for being here through all the highs and lows!

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  4. Hi again,
    Just wanted to say I'm thrilled you have no pain!

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    1. Thank you, Margot!! ME TOO :) Thanks for all your advice, support, and conversation - I really enjoy comparing notes with you!

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    2. You're very welcome! I love comparing notes and talking about science stuff with you too! Stay in touch!

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  5. Oh Sweets!! I am SO SO GLAD and THRILLED beyond words. What an amazing thing to have no pain after so so long of it being part of your everyday. xxoo

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    1. Thank you Kristi!!! It really IS an amazing feeling, and I love that I get to share it with all of you <3

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  6. This post just made me smile. So happy for you..thank you for sharing it with us.

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  7. So thrilled for you! Can you explain what you had done? This is making me want to fight my doctors to take out the plates in my femurs... maybe it wouldn't hurt. I can't even imagine. So, so happy for you!

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    1. Jacquelyn!!!! I've missed you! Do you still have the same email address so I can reach out?

      Basically, I had broken my femur in Dec 2007 and they did emergency surgery to put 3 pins (screws) in. In children, they usually remove hardware a year or so after placing it, but because I was 14, I was borderline, and they decided that I had finished enough growing that they could leave them in...but my leg always hurt, ever since the pins were placed and every day after that, even years later. A lot of surgeons are reluctant to remove hardware because it can be a technically difficult procedure (easier on the patient than getting them in, but often complicated for the doctor) and there is no guarantee that the pain will disappear...my first surgeon was scared and reluctant to do it - but when I went for a second opinion, the second surgeon saw how my hip "popped" painfully when I performed certain movements, like lifting my leg to the side or extending it backward...so he said he was reasonably certain that removing the pins could at least HELP the pain. He advocated strongly for me to get them removed, although he also cautioned that there would be no way to know for sure if the pins were the culprit until after the surgery.

      He used the same incision that I had from the insertion of the pins - he just made it a half an inch or so longer. Then, my understanding is that he went in with actual screwdrivers (! Although I assume they're different than the ones you and I would use, haha) and pulled them out, so the holes in my bone were about the size of the screws. He did have a lotttt of trouble getting them out, though, and he very nearly had to drill much larger holes in the bone, all around the screws. Also, the third screw was covered with bone, so he had to dig and remove the covering to get that one out...the longer the hardware has been in, the more incorporated into the bone it tends to become.

      I've written all of this out here in case another reader has the same question as you, but I'd love to email with you again and we can talk in more detail if you'd like! :) (same goes for anybody else reading this...always feel free to send me a message, I'd love to hear from you!)

      I've missed you tons, Jacquelyn, and I was thinking about you lately and wondering how you've been <3 I'd love to catch up with you!

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    2. Thank you so much for the explanation! My email is jacquelynmorran (at) live dot ca- I'd love to reconnect!
      Hmm yeah- I don't think mine can come out at this point without causing more problems than it's worth. I've had plates and screws in both femurs since I was 6-- after the surgery, they were usually removed within a year, but I was one of the first children where they were left in. And then, starting around age 9 until now, I've dealt with varying degrees of pain. Interestingly, so have a lot of us who had different 'hardware' left in. A good friend of mine fought hard, and finally had hers removed, but it was not in her femur and a lot less involved than mine. I think I may just have to deal with it. As of last year (almost exactly a year) I've been using a chair about 3/4 of the time, because walking is so exhausting and the pain is not worth the effort. I'm actually okay with my chair, but it is frustrating because I can walk so well, and fought to get to that point, and now only pain makes the difference, not ability. Anyway! Yes, let's email. I hope that your recovery has been going well and that you continue to see improvement!!

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  8. Ohhhhhhh, I'm so sad I missed this when it was published but HOORAYYYYYY! NO PAIN NO PAIN NO PAIN! I was thinking about you today, and hoping it had all worked out alright, and that you were doing well, and I'm absolutely over the MOON to read that it did, and you are! :D :D :D

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Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you. Thanks! :-)