How I moved from grieving to achieving

During every challenge, obstacle, adversity, limitation or setback in our lives we have a season of grieving, but a day comes when we must stop grieving over what has happened and start achieving success.

Six months ago, I had a great fall in our driveway.  The fall resulted in me being unable to bear weight on my right leg.  I spent nearly three months confined to my bed or couch, only getting up to go to physical therapy.

Three months ago, I concluded physical therapy. Feeling that I was mending and in time all the pain would end, and I would be doing everything I did before the fall,  I returned to my doctor office for a checkup.

My doctor was concerned about some swelling around the knee.  She wanted me to see an orthopedist.  Honestly, I didn’t want to go.  Since I highly respected my doctor’s diagnostic skills, I agreed to her request.

I met the orthopedist after undergoing another round of X-rays and a CT scan to be hit with some very bad news.  I had broken my tibia in my knee and the bone under it had collapsed.  The only option was to undergo surgery for a total knee replacement.

Since my last surgery, the ascending to descending aortic bypass operation that may have caused or contributed to my ischemic stroke to my spinal cord, I have developed a high avoidance to any surgery of any kind.  I feared that if I had the surgery I may partially or completely lose the ability to walk.  My reaction to the doctor’s suggestion was a firm and unwavering “NO” to his suggestion.

My orthopedist understood and prescribed a special knee brace to help stabilize my leg when I stood and walked.  His parting directions were that when the day comes that I am unable to tolerate the pain, we can discuss surgery.

The following days were full of depression.  I did not like facing the fact that from an act of kindness (my attempt to move a trash can for my wife) I caused permanent damage to my body and have put myself into a position of having to face my biggest fears – surgery and the possibility that I may lose the ability to walk sooner in my life than I had hoped for or expected.

I was grieving over the loss of being completely free of any broken bones in my entire life.  I was grieving the loss of walking without the assistance of any additional mobility equipment beyond my rollator.  But most of all I was grieving that there may be an operation in my future that I may not be able to avoid unless I want to live a life full of unbearable pain.

It was time to stop grieving and start planning for achieving despite my knee injury.

It has never been my way to just grieve when I have faced a challenge, obstacle, adversity, limitation or a setback in my life.   

Feeling sorry for myself was not going to make things better.  The pity party was only hurting my chances of avoiding surgery or putting it off for as long as possible.  I decided that I am not going to let this bum knee stand between me and my goals in life.  After all, I didn’t let the ischemic stroke to my spinal cord stand come between me and success in my life.

I am wearing the knee brace every day from the time I get up until bedtime.  It is a part of me now.  The knee brace has removed my fear of my leg giving out on me when I stand or walk.  I am learning new limits such as when I am sitting in the office writing, I must take a break once an hour and walk around to avoid elevated pain.

Despite the slight changes in my life, I am still reaching for the stars instead of sitting on the sidelines.