Today is an anniversary for me. Fifteen years ago, right about now, I fell 6 feet from a fence and broke my back. Every day since then has really been a gift, since one of the first things I heard from the ER doctor after they discovered the break was "You are incredibly lucky. The type of fall you experienced can easily result in paralysis or death."
I will tell you though, there are some days it doesn't feel like I was lucky. Since that very cold morning, my life has never been the same. Pain, except for migraines, was a foreign concept to me. And even migraines...well....take something and they got better. This new world of pain is one that has been with me *every single day* in the past 15 years. Some days it can bring me to my knees. Other days, I do my best to ignore it.
The fall I had brought many changes to my life. Things I am not "medically cleared" to do. Things I shouldn't do, but do anyway because things have to get done, but for which I pay dearly in higher pain for days. It also brought, years later, syringomyelia which impacted greatly my already impacted abilities. The challenges of this condition are ones that affect me every single day. The pain, which I had learned to deal with, moved to a greater intensity and remains there. My pain is no longer primarily focused in one section of my back and instead, runs the entire length with more intense points along the way. My muscle strength is affected, my entire nervous system is impacted. My spinal fluid pressure, which fluctuates for everyone daily, can cause chaos inside me. Some days, I can't even twist the lid off a gallon of milk, let alone lift it. I'm grateful the kids are getting old enough to be of more help on my bad days. Kelton has learned to open jars for me and take lids off of things.
Fifteen years ago today - everything changed.
I remember once, a year into my recovery, shortly before my spinal fusion, my primary care doctor made the comment about how in five years I would look back and see how far I had come and how much more I was able to do. I'm still waiting for that day. I'm thinking it won't be coming BUT....I am alive and as healthy as I can be, all things considered. I'll take the pain and the limitations (and try not to show my frustration, and pain level, too much) over the possibility that the fall could have killed me.
Yes, I carried two babies to term. And I will tell you that never, in the entire 15 years, have I ever felt as good and had as low a level of pain as when I was pregnant. Pregnancy hormones were a good, good thing for me. I remember thinking that I wished there was a way I could stay pregnant forever because I just felt soooooo good!
Fifteen years ago.
I have constant pain to remind me at every single turn.
Time flies. And time crawls. All at the same time.