I had a fantastic appointment yesterday with T, my Physical Therapist. I started seeing her in April and for roughly the first month we were hanging out on a weekly basis. Then something magical happened, we started to see improvement. After that extremely encouraging appointment she said we could wait about 2 weeks before we met again.
*For those of you who have never done the therapy thing this is huge. When you start your therapy it’s on a weekly (sometimes 2-3 times a week) and as you progress you cut back on in office time and work independently at home.*
I was so excited I wanted to skip out of the office.(Don’t worry, I didn’t skip. That would have just been silliness and a guarantee that I would be right back in her office stat.) But I was excited.
At our last appointment she gave me a new exercise that I could barely do. My leg shook immediately and I could barely get it an inch off the other. Success with this move would have been gaining much, much more than an inch and a 4-5 breath hold. With 4-5 reps. Laughable with my current muscle strength. With this new encouragement of something finally showing improvement I spent the last 2 weeks determined to get my leg to move more than an inch.
Now, I realize to some of you that this sounds just silly. People spend an hour or two every day pumping up their muscles and toning their abs. No big deal right? Just takes dedication right? Wrong. When you have put your body through hell, surgery after surgery, recovery after recovery and throw in being in pain 24 freaking 7 it is near impossible to get your teeny tiny muscles in your pelvis/hips and glutes to do what God intended them to do. Behave.This move was meant to do exactly that.
One simple move (the clam lift-if you must know) would be the glue to pull all my other moves and stretches together and really start to make my work pay off. This super simple, “just lift your leg up” move had me sweating bullets and taking deep, calming breaths because it made my leg shake in an embarrassingly unstable way (don’t even get me started on the butt cramps…oy). Part of me was ready to just give up because, seriously, if I can’t get my leg to do this then what is the damn point? The other part of me was clinging to the hope that maybe this one tiny move would make all the difference. All I had to do was agree to torture myself several times a day to get it done.
I got it done.
That’s right. I took 2 weeks and every opportunity I could to stretch, rub, lift, breath and work on all of the moves I’ve been given over the last month and it paid off. I went in to see T and like a kid I said “Look! Look, look, look, look!” and showed her that I could, indeed, lift my (no longer stupid shaky) leg up the whole way. And hold. And hold. And hold.
Like a proud mama she gave me a squeeze and said “well done!”. I beamed.
Achievement is something rarely felt in this PCS life of mine. 35 times and counting I have embarked on something new hoping it would be the key to my pain’s undoing. 35 times I have allowed myself to get excited, feel hopeful, plow on ahead and 35 times my hopes have bit the dirt. This one thing, this one tiny little move made all the difference. Being able to say “It got better” is a rarity for me.
I’m fairly certain that 35 trials and errors allows me the title of veteran Spoonie (please correct me if I’ve upgraded my status too soon-I would hate to offend). As a self proclaimed veteran Spoonie (until told otherwise) I am wise enough to know that achievement here does not mean pain free down the road. My care team is very clear with me -and T is no exception- that we are only searching for improved daily pain levels, better ways to cope with and control flare ups. Not a cure. And that’s okay with me. Sometime between surgery number 4 and 6 I accepted the fact that is is probably never going away and I am content to live my life to it’s fullest within my limitations.
Sometimes that is an empowering feeling, other times it feels as though I am powerless to my pain. Moments like these, when I can say “Look! Look, look, look, look” and show that I was able to work against it, to correct what is wrong are huge. It gives me a chance to say “ha ha pain, I win this one.”
I needed this moment. I deserved this moment. Crap, my stupid shaky leg EARNED this moment. It was awesome.
T and I finished up our appointment with a new exercise to add to the mix and a way to self correct my kiddy-wampus pelvis so I don’t have to wait to see her to be un-wompused (yes, it’s a thing) and then she said “I will see you in three weeks.”
THREE WEEKS!!! That’s one whole week more than last time. GO ME!
My ego (and my checking account) are very excited right now. ♥