Friday, December 3, 2010

Embracing what is

I haven't been posting to this blog lately, and it's because I've been overwhelmed by unexpected events. In mid-October, after a bout of recurring knee problems, I was shocked to find that the MRI results showed my ACL was completely torn. Cutting (haha) a long story short, this Monday I had knee surgery to reconstruct the ACL, as well as address the other problems with the menisci and cartilage. What I've experienced so far has been a journey in five days that may preview the challenges I'll be facing during the approximately six month long rehab period. It'll be months before I can dance in my red tango shoes again.

This morning I had a moment of frustration. It was brought on by the strain of having everything so newly difficult that once was so easy. Putting a sock on a straight-braced leg requires another person's help. Picking up something that's' more that two feet away on the floor takes a series of steps where it once was an easy reach and swipe. I looked at pictures from earlier this year, and saw myself in vibrant health and happiness, and it was difficult accept that I won't be in that state for a number of months yet. Lots of "glass half empty" thoughts.

And then, in tears this morning, I saw that the source of my pain was that rift, that gulf between my expectations and my reality. For this journey, for my own sanity, I need to come to terms with patience and with myself exactly as I am now. It requires that I kindly acknowledge my body has been through a significant procedure, and it needs care and time to heal. I want to pop up whole and completely healed, but that is not what is. I've talked to plenty of people about what to expect, doing my research before the surgery. Without exception, they all mentioned what a challenging personal growth lesson the rehab brought, with its slow, deliberate, pace. I can hardly believe that at five days into the process I already feel this impatience. I mean, really!

The week has been emotionally difficult at times, and simply physically exhausting at others, but there have been bright moments.

I'm grateful for my wonderful guy, who has been encouraging and supportive at every step, such as the excruciating slow and painful "walk" up to our apartment coming home from surgery.

I'm grateful I live on the 2nd floor of this building, not the 5th, as the elderly woman with a walker does.

I'm grateful for a skilled and kind surgeon, a great hospital nearby, and wonderfully helpful and caring staff at the hospital.

I'm grateful for the thorough, well-trained, and empathetic person who is my physical therapist.

I'm grateful for simple and effective, frozen H2O. Ice... ah, it is the ingredient I've found works best for controlling the swelling and pain.


  1. so sorry to hear this helen, and at the same time inspired by your willingness to see the good in it.

    those shoes are so amazing. i bet dancing in the six months from now will be the best feeling ever.

  2. What a trying time you are having - but glad you have someone supporting you through it all. Good luck!

  3. Oh, Helen, I'm so sorry to hear how difficult the journey is. I'm sending you healing vibes and envisioning you dancing with passion and abandon in those gorgeous red shoes sooner than you imagine. And here's to your brilliance, to your insightful view into journey and to the moments of brightness along the way.

    with love and hugs,