Hi everyone. I haven't done an update this month, so here is the latest:
* Right leg healing from the tendon transfer. All seems to be fine as I heal but it's hard to say how well the surgery worked until I get to start using the leg again. I've had one appointment with my doctor post-surgery and from what he can tell it looks really good. Only part I didn't expect is that my entire foot is numb. I had some loss of sensation before from the original injury, mostly on my outside ankle and part of the top of my foot. But I could feel the rest...toes, bottom of foot, heel, etc. Right now the entire foot is numb. It is a strange feeling. My doctor said this can happen as a major nerve (the median nerve) is right by the tendon they moved so they had to push it aside for a moment which can make a nerve mad. He said the feeling will come back (98% of the time), just takes a while. I can move my foot up and down a little which I couldn't do before which is promising. It's a strange process to get it to move, though. I figured this trick out when my doctor asked me to tell my brain to move my foot inward and sure enough it popped up (straight, not inward). This won't be something I actually do (outside of party tricks says Doc :), it's just a diagnostic. Like I've mentioned before, the new tendon will act more like an internal brace than a body part. Interestingly enough kids under 10 years old or so have a malleable enough brain they could rewire their thinking but for adults that's not likely. So net/net, things appear to be working as planned and time will tell the value of the surgery. I remain optimistic about the outcome.
* From a lifestyle perspective, I'm on crutches and not driving until at least the end of March. I go to the doctor towards the end of the month and find out what the next stage brings. This means I'm hitching rides to work with great friends most days (which has actually proven to be a fun silver lining), working some from home (thank goodness for technology) and doing what I can with the family the rest of the time. Since the weather has been 95% cold and gross since the surgery, the weekends and evenings have consisted of mainly being home. I am thankful I can do the basic kid stuff...playing, giving them baths, putting them to bed. I'm (temporarily!!) back to crawling up the stairs, this time with crutches in tow. Sometimes Mitchell will take up my crutches as his teacher asked them to help their parents for the Lenten season. :). Lastly, one of our Moms has been here since the surgery helping out with everything. This is especially necessary when Aaron is traveling since I can't drive. My sister and her kids come this week for their spring break. Thankful beyond words for our family. Kids have a ball with all the visitors and Mitchell seems to find a way to snuggle in the guest bed with each of them most nights. :) Only downside is Aaron and I will have to get used to doing our own dishes and laundry again soon!
* On a break from PT until I'm healed. Been keeping up with my home exercises for the left leg which basically consist of floor exercises as I protect the right leg.
* Lastly, I've been fortunate to be in great spirits for a long stretch now. I didn't know what this surgery phase would do to the old roller coaster, but thankfully all has been pretty darn great all things considered.
* And a few miscellaneous items from March...Kindergarten roundup (!), took in many of the Oscar-nominated films to pass the time as winter winds down and I heal, getting outside whenever the weather allows, still laughing when Morgan calls my crutches "crunches" and looking forward to the days ahead.
* It's been awhile since I've mentioned anything I use as tools to inspire myself so I thought I'd mention a couple with mantras and mentors. I have previously mentioned my four P power tools so these are of course celebrating the letter M. I still use the P's, especially purpose and perspective. I honestly don't know how anyone could get by without either. I've just had the opportunity to really think about these things. Ok, so for mantras...
* I find it helpful to have a few little phrases I tell myself if a challenging thought crosses my mind or potentially frustrating situation occurs. The main mantra I use is, "how can I turn disadvantage into advantage?". I don't even try to actively answer the question for myself yet (though I tried to at first). I'm content the answer(s) will sort out over time. And I see how many people have successfully turned their seemingly disadvantaged situation into great things. I do seek out these examples. For instance a newish book by Malcolm Gladwell called David and Goliath is all about this idea. The book has many examples. I also watched several stories on the Paralympics held in Sochi this past week which of course features athletes with adaptive needs. So many of them have turned their disadvantage into an advantage.
* A few other ones I think of often...
"Focus on what you can do, not what you can't". I wrote something similar when I was recapping our trip to Mexico and later noticed how prevalent this idea was for the Paralympic athletes.
"I have the opportunity to live an extraordinary life". I like this one as I've always liked the idea of being unique. I think most people do. Channeling that energy into this situation helps me try and think of the good that can come from an unexpected journey.
"With every setback is the opportunity for a comeback". This was on a commercial during the Paralympics and I loved it.
I've had several verses shared with me as well. This is one of my favorites. "Don't be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks."
* I have several personal mentors...family, friends, etc whether they know it or not.
* I've also had fabulous mentors in my career.
* I knew I needed mentors who have been through something like what I've been through. I have needed and still need to see people living their lives on the other side of an experience like mine. There are acquaintances I've discovered such as a friend of my Dad's or a previous boss of a good friend or a co-worker's husband or a friend of a friend who have prosthetic limbs. Each have learned lessons and had challenges, but are also living some pretty fantastic lives in my humble opinion. Talking to or about these people has helped me tremendously. More than you can imagine.
* One of my mentors has no idea who I am but I love her. Her name is Amy Purdy. She has inspired me on dark and light days over the last several months. There was literally an afternoon in January where I watched every video about her that popped up on Google. I was introduced to her via a Ted talk (Living Beyond Limits) sent to me by a good friend. Here is that original video I saw:
It is just under 10 minutes long and well worth the time.
Amy competed in the Paralympics in Sochi last week in snowboarding, the first time that event had been featured thanks to Amy and a few others who got this approved by the Olympic Committee. She won bronze! An amazing accomplishment, especially considering she was the only double amputee to compete. She is also going to be on Dancing with the Stars this season which starts tomorrow. I have rarely seen this show but will be tuning into this season for sure.
Amy has not only gotten back to doing the things she loves - like snowboarding - she has turned her disadvantage into advantage in her life. What an inspiration. Plus, she is helping others like me and people who are facing other different challenges of their own. I think that's pretty spectacular. I've heard her say before "life is really all about how much you give."
So here's to March, Mantras and Mentors. Oh, and a bonfire for my crutches here soon :).
You are appreciated, my friends.