Friday, October 19, 2012

The Beginnings of a Long Strange Trip

Ursula K. LeGuin said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."  This one is no different.

The end of this journey will be to walk again.  To become independent again.  To be relatively pain free again.

For those of you who ask how I got to this jumping off place - genetics and lifestyle.  Heart and circulatory problems are rampant on my birth father's side of the family.  Also, turns out all those people who tell you to eat your veggies, get exercise and don't smoke knew what they were talking about.  Isn't that a bitch??

After a bout with what I thought was a stress fracture of my left foot, a pulled muscle and increasing diabetic neuropathy, my left foot became increasingly numb with alternating times of sharp pain, burning and tingling.  I went to the doctor to have it checked again.  You have to understand, beginning July 2nd, it's been a never-ending session of doctor visits and hospital stays in our family.  I met the deduction on our insurance policy single-handedly.  

The doctor glanced up at me as she tried to find a pulse in my foot.  "I think you need to see a vascular doctor,"  she said, avoiding my eyes.  

Fast forward several hours to a small room in a vascular surgeon's office where a tech is trying in vain to find a pulse in my left foot.  Fast forward to a large cold room with a hospital gown and no underwear and a needle in my arm for a CT with an arteriogram.  As the dye went through my body, I noticed a distinct warm feeling everywhere except my left leg.  

I was told to call Dr. S's service when finished.  He returned the call and said he'd be right there.  Fast forward a third time to a small room.  He was hesitant and using "medical politically correct" terms.  I looked at him and point blank asked, "Am I losing my foot?"  He nodded.  I asked, "What else?"  We then discussed the various blockages and possible treatments.  The next thing I know, I'm being walked to the floor by him.

My mind was racing with the possibilities and the what-ifs.  Then I realized my room number.  516.  That was the house number of my childhood home.  The nurses and techs came in to introduce themselves.  The tech who would be helping me?  Jennifer.  Change of shift brought a new tech.  Her name?  Lynn.  So, here I am in 516 being taken care of by (a) Jennifer Lynn (my name).  It was a sign.  Regardless of what I walked out of the hospital with or without, it would be alright.

Calls were made, tears were shed and, shortly after, the dark humor began.

As the days passed, procedures completed and tests either passed or failed, I will be having a mid-thigh amputation of my left leg.

And that's what this blog is about.  Humor and experience.  I want to remember each step of this journey and share with others.  I've been told that I have a good attitude about the change in my life.  I don't know any other way to be.  The leg's coming off whether I like it or not.  I could have a pity party and cry for weeks or put on my big girl panties and deal with it.  That is what I choose.

I've also been told that I'm an inspiration for others.  That's nice and I appreciate that, but that's not what this is about.  No, I take that back.  That is PART of what this is about.  I want to be an inspiration to others.  I want others who read this to know that it is going to turn out alright.  If you are going through this as well, there is hope at the end of the tunnel.  The light you see in that tunnel isn't a train barreling at you at 100 m.p.h.  

I also feel the need to warn you, the reader.  My plans for this aren't pretty.  There are going to be photos, while not explicit, that aren't going to be pleasant to see.  There may or may not be language, phrasing or thoughts that may be for everyone.  What this is going to be is a true, non-glossed version of the day to day experiences a middle age woman who is losing a leg goes through.  I promise you that I will tag each article with appropriate warnings.

So, with that being said, join me.  Expect to laugh and cry.  Expect to feel uncomfortable.  Expect to be angry.  Expect to win.  I know that I will.

1 comment:

  1. Just wow! We work for the same company, and as a fellow blogger, I felt compelled to read yours. I'm not going to lie, it brought tears to my eyes, and made me wonder if I could show the same strength you have, and I commend you for being able to talk about this so quickly, when most people would still be secluding themselves in grief. You are an inspiration to others, a well-deserved one.