Fighting Discouragement with Love

I have started this post more times than I can count. Part of the problem is that I seem to be running through a variety of emotions that can change from, what seems to me, hour to hour. The other problem is that every time I sit down to write, I’m good for a couple of paragraphs and then I fall asleep only to awaken to what reads as gibberish on the screen. This is the most lucid I’ve felt in days so I hope that it lasts long enough for me to finish.

I’ll start by giving you a quick rundown on the surface elements of my experience so far. The surgery went well. The recovery has had its ups and downs. I don’t know why, after all this time, I am still surprised at doctors who don’t listen when you tell them what to expect when working with a person who battles autoimmune disorders. It is somewhat amusing to see the Dr’s reaction to each new problem that crops up as recovery progresses. I warned the orthopedic surgeon that putting my body through any type of stress would cause a domino effect of events that would make my convalescence a bit of a challenge. True to form we’ve had some bumps in the road, however; for the most part I must say that, thanks to the amazing staff here at the rehab hospital, it has been better than I thought. My doctor and I have met somewhere in the middle between my disastrous predictions and his ridiculous optimism.

After two nights in the hospital they transferred me to a rehab hospital where I do occupational and physical therapy three times a day. It is hard work… VERY HARD work, but I’d rather be sore and tired than frustrated and stuck in bed all day. It has taken every ounce of emotional and mental strength I have to be away from my family. It is killing me to miss the daily activities of their lives. I’ve missed Sean’s first day of third grade and will most likely be missing Alex’s first day of kindergarten. My chest literally tightens at that thought. I can’t believe I won’t be there to kiss his little face as he heads off on this new adventure without me. I can hardly stand it! They are both very excited to be going to school for which I am very grateful or it would be ten times more difficult to bear.

Emotionally and mentally this has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Each time in my life that I’ve said, “I really don’t think I can handle much more, or do anything more difficult…” You guessed it, something else happens. I was telling my parents last night that one of my biggest hurdles is that I’m still desperately clinging to the idea that I’m going to feel better one day. I’m still waiting to get past this latest trial with the thought that my health will be restored and I can move forward. Instead I need to learn to accept that I won’t be getting better. There is no cure for any of the ailments from which I suffer. I will be in pain for the rest of my life and surgeries, rehab, and therapy will be a constant presence in my life. My dad said something very significant to me; he said that once I can learn to accept my new limitations I will learn how to “move around them, or step to the side” as I navigate life going forward. For years now we’ve joked that when Greg and I buy our next home it will need to be a rambler with bars in the bathrooms and furniture that will allow free movement. It is no longer a joke, it has become a reality and for some reason this has been a bitter pill for me to swallow.

I have been through so much in life that I am struggling to accept these changes. I know I can do it but I need help. I need help from my Father in Heaven and my Savior. The beauty of it all is that I do have their help. I have felt more loved and cherished by my Father in Heaven through the more difficult experiences in my life than at any time of peace and tranquility. This means I’ve been feeling loved a lot since, let’s be honest, peace and tranquility have never been my forte.

This leads me to the part of this experience that I really want to write about. I want to go beyond the surface and really reach down deep to share with you. As of this morning it is looking like I will be in the rehab hospital for at least another week and a half. Even then, once I get home, I will be working through a little over 2 months more recovery time at home. My mobility will continue to be quite limited once I get there. The first few days here and, each time we extend my estimated stay, I feel a little more depressed. On the other hand, I have been feeling an overwhelming sense of my Heavenly Father’s love for me. I have felt that love through the countless friends and family who’ve called, written, prayed for me, visited… and the list goes on.

I don’t want to offend anyone and leave out any names so for the most part I will share a blanket gratitude to all who have been so instrumental in caring for me and my family. I have had heart-felt and loving conversations with dear friends. I’ve been the recipient of more prayers than I can count. The meals that continue to come to my home are a blessing for which I am especially grateful. They say it takes a village, and it does in more ways than one. Words escape me when I think of the many angels both here and beyond who are watching out for me and sharing their love and concern for me. I am so very, very blessed. My 94-year-old grandma even came to visit me, how wonderful is that? I told her to be careful that they don’t get us confused and try to keep her from leaving. She and my aunt came yesterday and I was in tears at the thought that they would make time for me.

I know I said that I wouldn’t mention names but I would also be negligent in my gratitude if I didn’t specifically mention my mother-in-law who picked up her life and made great sacrifices to come and live with us for a time. I can think of no better person to care for my “boys” (husband included) than my sweet mom-in-law. I am in awe of her selfless service and willingness to be there for us without a second thought for herself. She is an example to me of what it means to lose oneself in the service of others. Then, of course, my parents who’ve helped in every way imaginable; with finances, meals, running errands, listening and counseling with me in my darkest hours, but most of all for sticking with me. They have never made me feel like the burden that I most certainly must be. If I could have tailor-made my parents before we came to earth I would have built mine just as they are. I love them more than can be justified by measly words on a page.

Life is never as we expect it will or hope that it should be. Sometimes it is better than what we thought and at others it is more difficult than we could have possibly imagined. Right now, I won’t lie, this is so very hard. However, as I said before I feel the love of my Father in Heaven more and more each day as he and the Savior offer succor and comfort through my trials. I can do this. I can do hard things with the help and solace of my faith. I shall do my best to keep you all up to date. I hope that this post has broken through the drug haze, it makes sense to me but, let’s face it, that doesn’t necessarily mean much right now. And now? I’m off to therapy where I will be learning how to walk again, GO ME!!!


10 thoughts on “Fighting Discouragement with Love

  1. My you have been through a lot in all this time.Hang in there it will get better and doctors should listen to their patients after all don’t we know ourselves better than anyone else? They think because they have a diploma they know everything. Either way I’m glad you’re ok and are with us to tell us hows it going.

  2. You truly are an amazing woman. Your strength knows no bounds! I understand about learning to accept the changes in ones health albeit mine are much less severe than yours but I have accepted how my condition has changed my life and now feel much more content.
    I admire your strength and that’s what’ll get you thought. Sending healing thoughts across the pond x

    • Thank you! I really appreciate the healing thoughts and the insight into how you’ve found more contentment through acceptance. Acceptance can be a huge strength once we get there!

  3. I love you my sweet friend. When I walked in your hospital room last night and seeing your sweet boy laying next to you his arm around your neck made me smile I had to choke up my tears. You have amazing parents I Love them dearly. Your mother in law what a loving selfless women. Your sweet hubby to support and love you thru your trials. I apologize for not alwYs being there I promise you my friend I will be here for you more.

    • Oh Jami, you have nothing to apologize for! I love and appreciate you so very much! I can’t tell you how much your visits have meant to me. Thank you for all that you’ve done for me and my family. I truly adore you!

  4. I like what your dad said. “I can learn to accept my new limitations I will learn how to “move around them, or step to the side” as I navigate life going forward.”
    Isn’t that what life is all about, learning to work with what we have to reach our fullest potential? You are a strong person. Hang in there.

    • Thank you! For me the hardest part is learning to work with what I have… If I can learn to accept things than I might actually be able to move forward and even enjoy life even if it does look different than what I originally expected. Thanks for your support, I really appreciate it!

  5. Dear Stina, you are quite amazing– to do a post so soon after major surgery. It sounds like such a hard and discouraging battle. But then we all have something to battle though some peoples’ battles seem easier than other. When it comes down to it, all you can do is pray, fight and love as we go through each day. I am very sorry you missed your little ones’ first days of school. You are in my prayers as always and I wish you a speedier recovery than anyone predicts despite all the roadblocks!!! God can work miracles. Hugs, Ellen

    • Thank you Ellen, as always you have a way of uplifting me and making me smile. I am so grateful for your love and support. It is people like you in my life that are getting me through this!

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