Since earlier this year, I have been sinking deeper into chronic pain. Context: When I was around 10, the plum tree branch on which I was perched broke and I crashed onto my left knee. In the early 90’s, I pivoted wrong and broke my right (I have crazy hyperextensive stuff going on…not quite Fantastic 4 but bendy). I walked on it broken for 3 months before they found the piece of bone that the X-Rays did not show, and then had arthroscopic surgery. I have also stress-fractured both ankles in my more recent past—being both active and clumsy at times had its dangers. Recently, the pain got so bad I have been severely limited in what I can do. I put on weight over the past few years, was walking with a cane this summer to mitigate immobility…it’s been rough.
I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with advanced osteoarthritis in my right knee. My left suffers just by default (mechanics, physics) but also those old injuries don’t help. One doctor told me I’d probably have to have knee replacement like, NOW. That saddened me…I’d have to have it refreshed since I’m still so young and I was feeling like pain was becoming my life.
Yesterday, I started physical therapy and I got some freaking good news. 1: I do not likely need surgery anytime soon…if I work hard, that is. 2: Some of this can be reversed. While I will always be a human barometer (the ol’ storm knee knows when the pressure is changing, I promise you), I can do much to address this and for that, I just…I can’t even. I’m so full of tentative hope. 3: Apparently, it’s not my knees that are causing the biggest knee problems. THAT I did not expect. It’s my big old hips, my posture and gait affected to the point my knees compact inward. As of this week, I’ll be doing aggressive physical therapy starting 3 times a week, with home exercises and swimming in between. My therapist over at SERC is AMAZING. She is a Harry Potter fan, a cat lover, and most of all, taking me and my pain seriously. She told me that the prognosis is fantastic, all things considered—that she will do everything she can to help me improve my mobility and quality of life. She said be ready to work for it—and I am. Hard work is something I know, something I can deal with. I just needed hope, a plan, a diagnosis/prognosis instead of this numinous sense that life was pain, pain, pain.
After this first appointment and all the tests and exercises, I went out to my car, sat looking at traffic going by, and bawled. Full on ugly-cried. Hope? That is amazing. An action plan from a confident and capable care provider and the ability to be able to avail myself of this care? I AM SO BLESSED. I’ll be really, really busy in the next weeks. My life will be therapy and hanging out at the Y and working towards healing. I could not be happier…I promise you, I am over the moon and ready to get to work. My publishing schedule will still keep moving along—an upcoming poem, anthology story, and new serialized weird fiction project are all in the works, continuing to promote Temporary Duty Assignment, and revealing a new novella series in 2018. Thank you for reading, and I hope you have some things in your world that drive you to work harder than ever before, and that give you the light of hope!