I'm Only Sad In A Natural Way

(song: The Paris Match/artist: The Style Council)

I think the most difficult part of this  temporarily (hopefully) life-altering injury and surgery are the extreme emotional swings I'm experiencing.* I'm the first to admit that I skew more dramatic than others; I feel every emotion with my whole self. And man, was my whole self feeling super sad when this nightmare started in November. It was as if my flame had been snuffed out. The 17 days I was in-waiting before my first appointment at Hospital For Special Surgery, were dark days. I simply could not find any joy. I appeared emotionless. I was so scared. I didn't know what was happening to my body and I sunk to an emotional low I hadn't experienced since postpartum depression punched me in the gut after the birth of my son. After the surgery, that sadness persisted but it was different. Whereas the sadness prior to surgery was fear-based, after surgery, I felt like I was grieving a loss. And well, I was. I am. I lost the use of my legs. I lost my ability to run. Though it's better, I still have foot-drop so I walk like a duck. I can't play with my son. I can't walk him to school. I can't hold him on my lap. I couldn't take him to see Santa. I couldn't decorate my house for Christmas, or wrap my son's presents. I couldn't go to the bathroom on my own. I couldn't shower or dress myself without assistance. I am walking with a fucking cane! I'm angry and I'm sad. I'm scared I'll never be the same. 

Chair in the shower. Because I'm a fall risk now.

The first two weeks after surgery were by far the worst. The physical pain and the emotional pain were pretty much equal. I sobbed every day. Multiple times a day. (Never in front of my son.) When I woke up every morning and realized I still couldn't walk, I cried. When my husband had to help me onto the toilet - that feeling of utter helplessness and dependence was crushing to me - I cried. When my friends or family called or came to visit, I cried. I cried a lot.  

Here's the thing, y'all, I've only been fit for the last 5 of my 40 years on this earth. I just got into running in 2013. To go from running my best 5K race to needing a wheelchair in just 10 days, was devastating. And I was just coming out of the fog of my whole mid-life crisis thing. Good things were starting to happen; Work opportunities, exciting projects, and involvement at my son's school. I could see a path. It just felt like everything that makes me happy - outside of my family - was swiftly and violently, taken away. Then the path got foggy again.

November 15. My last race. (For awhile.)
 Listen, I haven't lost perspective. I know I'm not the only person in the world going through a shitty experience. Last year a good friend suffered an unimaginable loss when her husband died tragically, another lost her son,  a fellow neighborhood mom is fighting cancer like a champ (and she came over - with a homemade meal - to comfort me in my hour of need), two of my friends are in horrible custody battles, and my very own dad is battling COPD. So yeah, I get it, IT COULD BE WORSE. But just because I'm not dying doesn't devalue my feelings or my experience. And this is not the worst thing that's ever happened to me. It's the worst thing that's happening to me now and it just sucks. It sucks a lot. And even though this loss may be temporary, it needs to be grieved all-the-same. It doesn't mean I'm not going to work my ass off to get well, it just means I'm going to allow myself to feel what I feel when it comes up. 

My light will come back. I don't just believe that, I know that. Oh great, now I'm crying again.

Oh, sidewalks of Brooklyn, how I miss you.


 *For the record, I started writing this two weeks ago but sitting up too long is uncomfortable so my time at the computer is limited. I'm feeling MUCH better now, and I'm happy to report that I use the bathroom and shower all by myself now! And I only cry every other day...