From my last Spiritual Journey blog posted in March 2104, I find myself continually living by the mercy and grace of God as it should be. As I write, our holiday of Thanksgiving is coming upon us and I felt the inspiration to write about how much I am thankful and grateful for a quality of life that I’ve been achieving through surrendering to the surgical process to accomplish the goal of walking pain free. I’ve been extremely busy with keeping up with all my medical journey blogs of 2 surgeries and their recovery process since March. Please see my homepage right sidebar for my entire medical journey posted thus far. To catch my last medical blog, I have recently started a new category on Short Leg Syndrome.
As I start this blog, I first want to say thank you to Kitty, a lovely lady that I met on the Bremerton to Seattle Ferry on Friday, 11/21/14. Herein is her photo of what I call God’s Morning Artistry-His Sunrise over the waters between Bremerton and Seattle. Throughout my website I’ve used photos of His Glorious Sunsets, and now to have Kitty’s photo of His Sunrise brings me another sign of hope and inspiration for all things new. I will share the November 22nd devotion from my favorite devotional book, “Jesus Calling” by author Sarah Young who writes from the perspective of Jesus speaking, to help readers feel more personally connected with Him. I cannot write my thoughts any better than what Sarah Young has already accomplished in her writings; therefore, I quote her in the following devotion:
“A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven. Spiritual blessings fall freely into you through those openings into eternity. Moreover, as you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpses of Glory through those windows. You cannot yet live in heaven, but you can experience foretastes of your ultimate home. Such samples of heavenly fare revive your hope. Thankfulness opens you up to these experiences, which then provide further reasons to be grateful. Thus, your path becomes an upward spiral: ever increasing in gladness.
Thankfulness is not some sort of magic formula; it is the language of Love, which enables you to communicate intimately with Me. A thankful mind-set does not entail a denial of reality with is plethora of problems. Instead, it rejoices in Me, your Savior, in the midst of trials and tribulations. I am your refuge and strength, an ever-present and well-proved help in trouble. “
Sarah Young’s devotion is based on these scriptures as quoted from her book:
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”—HABAKKUK 3:17-18
“God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.”–PSALM 46:1 AMP
March 2014 – I’m thankful for Dr. Main in Missouri for helping me again this time on my right leg with both the Proximal (lateral knee) and distal (lateral ankle) tibiofibular joints-Arthrex Fixation Surgery on 3/27/14 and his post operative followup. And to my friend, Jessica, that traveled from Michigan to join me in Missouri for the surgery and to bring me back to Idaho. I couldn’t have done the surgery without her.
June 2014 thru present–I’m thankful for Patient Advocacy in helping other patients that are going through or have gone through similar surgical procedures and recovery. Over the past months, my blogs have reached more people and I’m thankful for the connections to those people who need help holding their hand so to speak in their journeys. It has brought me such great joy to now have a friend exactly my age who has gone through the same surgery for her feet as myself. Deb in California has been an encouragement to me all the while she has been healing from her own surgeries too. We have great laughs and share similar interests in music, roller skating, prior disco days etc. If you need a well accomplished Harpist then check out her website: http://www.venturacountyharpist.com/ I also think about all the other connections through my facebook groups for: Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and HyProCure -Sinus Tarsi Stent. I now have my own Facebook page: Si-Instability.com
Besides sharing face to face(such as with Kitty mentioned above regarding her ankle) and listening to the cries for help of patients wanting to sort out their low back or feet/ankle problems, God does bring people into my life as a direct result of the internet. Lori in Texas, Linda in CA, Erin in MA, Barb in Canada, and Kylie in Australia to name a few. I am thrilled to share patient to patient insight and encouragement. Most doctors don’t have enough time to spend with their patients; so in this day and age, the patients turn to the internet in hopes to connect with information to help them in their time of need. Facing any kind of surgery is very scary for most people and if they can find a person that has gone through it (such as myself) they are more than happy to ask questions. So I make it my goal using the phrase, “Pay It Forward”, to pour everything I can into the lives of other patients with all the details of our mutual surgeries and post operative recovery process. I know in my heart that my journey is not just for myself as God has a worldwide global view.
July 2014 – I’m thankful for 3 years of vocal coaching with my teacher and friend, Beth. She had been with me through all my surgeries giving me voice lessons and encouragement while I scooted around on knee walkers, crutches or wheelchairs. Here is a picture of her and I for dinner before she moved out of state. It was very difficult to say goodbye in July because singing with her brought me such fulfillment and it carried me through the rough times of many post surgery rehabilitation periods; however, she left me in good hands with Nancy, another vocal instructor.
Aug. 2014 – I’m thankful for my sister (who I had not seen in 2 years), Marilyn, for flying in from Ohio to help me this year with my post surgery care giving. It is extremely difficult to be non-weight bearing without help. We made the most of our time and had some vacation time in Victoria, BC.
Sept. 2014–I’m thankful for my one and only daughter, Ally, who is the best of both of us. Her father and I are so proud of her accomplishments in fitness and body building. Little did she know that my husband was an avid body builder at her age while I was still involved in dance and roller skating. Ally won the fitness division of the GNC Night of Champions Competition in Spokane, WA I was happy to be able to walk into the auditorium without a knee scooter and sit for many hours watching the competition without burning butt pain or back pain. (click on photos to enlarge) I see my self in her and her dedication motivates me to keep pressing forward through my medical rehab process and prayerfully in 2015 I will be able to take up a little body re-building myself (enough of just post surgery rehab).
11-1-14 – I’m thankful for the years of having a dear next-door neighbor, Larry Mills. He has passed on from this life and we celebrated his life with a memorial service at our community church. Here is my YouTube casual video recording of the song: “I will Rise”, by Chris Tomlin. I’m grateful that I could stand in a pair of low heels and dress up leaving all the splints/ankle wraps behind. I’m also grateful for our regular Sunday services, because we always have a time of sharing and prayer. I’m also grateful for my dear Christian friends back in Ohio that pray for my surgeries and recovery along with the other praying ladies of our extended community.
11-3-14 -Happy 60th Birthday–I’m thankful for my dear husband, Dean, who bears the physical burden of working so hard in our business. My husband is a surrendered man of God and God’s blessings are upon him too. Prayer does move the mountain of medical expenses as our God has provided a record year of business income. My husband supports my effort to finish the race of climbing out of the pit of physical despair with all that I’ve dealt with thus far in this medical journey. He practically works 7 days a week but took time for himself in enjoying a morning of hunting. He is pictured here in a very happy moment of getting a Buck with a shot from 320 yards.
And now I’m grateful for having a dear neighbor and friend, Joyce, to travel with me and get help for her feet too with Dr. Gent. 11-20-14 – An afternoon with Dr. Gent, DPM at Kitsap Foot and Ankle Clinic in Bremerton. I want my readers to know that as much as I rejoice in God’s blessings of healing and successful surgical experiences, the journey does come with pain, heartache, disappointment and ultimate surrender to the still small voice of the Lord’s Will for my life. In the surrendering process comes the hope of the new dawn breaking with God painting the picture of our tomorrow’s. I am enjoying life the best I can for the moment with no major pain(as I limit excessive walking) just discomfort and spasm in calf even though the ankle joint itself now feels great. The rest is a tug of war on my pelvis/low back muscles trying(but I am succeeding against the old patterns) to get me to compensate in my walking with my now diagnosed short leg syndrome.
I’ve spent the past 4 months since my last ankle surgery on 7/11/14 putting the puzzle together in trying to improve my walking. Through my own body awareness, input by my chiropractor and training by my physical therapist, Mark Bengtson, MPT I was able to present to Dr. Gent a remaining problem involving my Gastroc Muscle. I have come full circle now that my bones are all in neutral and secure with the prior surgeries; however, this remaining issue of my Gastroc Equinus has come to the light. To walk upright and straight, I am walking on my toes on left foot because of the Gastroc Contracture. This along with the recent finding of 4mm of boney leg length discrepancy had to be a major contributing factor to so much dysfunction for my entire body in compensatory walking patterns probably since childhood. My right leg is longer and my pelvis and back has compensated by trying to shorten it up to make it easier to walk on the left leg. More discussion about this in my last Short Leg Syndrome Blog. Through Dr. Gent’s insight and objective clinical confirmation, he offered to help me free up my Gastroc/Soleus Muscle -Mild Unilateral Equinus Syndrome affecting the dorsiflexion of my left ankle and inhibiting my walking gait. He is skilled at the Endoscopic Gastroc Recession Surgery, a minimally invasive procedure to lengthen my Gastroc Muscle and stop the progression of Achilles Tendinitis.
I am thankful for another upcoming surgery with Dr. Gent, DPM after the holidays to fix this problem. Here is where the heartache and surrendering comes in. In my case as I’ve put myself through post surgery pain, I have indeed gained the blessings of stability and positive bio-mechanical changes over the past 3 years. Facing another surgery going into the new year was not on my plate after the last surgery. I truly believed I was done. Little did I know what God knew in advance. Thank God, we don’t see into the future as He wants us to remain in the present moment with Him. If I had known it would have taken 12 surgeries to get me where I’m at today, I would have said no way! But now I look back, and I’m thankful beyond all measure at how much I appreciate God’s divine direction in my life. Going with God is 100%!
Dr. Gent, in his experience with this Gastroc Recession Surgery, wants the best for me and his protocol is non-weight bearing with leg/ankle immobilized at 90 degrees for 3 weeks and then 3 more weeks of gradual weight bearing in a walking boot along with starting physical therapy. I literally fell apart and came unglued with a lot of emotion and tears at the thought of non-weight bearing again which would be for the 3rd time this year. I was one breath away from screaming. I’m so sorry that Dr. Gent was on the receiving end of the brunt of my frustration. The realty was I had these questions on my mind: “Why God have You chosen this path for me? Why didn’t this Gastroc problem come to light sooner? Why do I have to ask my friends for help again after surgery? Why do I have to lay around or sit in a wheelchair again causing the rest of my body to suffer?” I was very challenging to Dr. Gent in asking him if there was any other way of handling this post surgery protocol. I’m so, so thankful that God has placed me in the care of Dr. Gent because he too is a godly man that walks in peace and joy as he serves his patients both in the office and for surgery. His steadfast calmness helps me to settle down and get a grip. He took his time in explaining to me the why behind the need for non-weight bearing even though it didn’t involve the bones or a joint and just my calf muscle (I’ll elaborate more on this in my future medical blog).
My friend, Joyce, and I thanked him and his staff upon leaving his office for all the time that was given to us as we traveled 8 hours one way to his office. I promised him that all the energy he puts into helping me does not go unnoticed because it helps other patients benefit through my blogs and Facebook chats regarding foot and ankle problems that I have experience with. Sometimes we wrestle with God in our thoughts; yet, God is patient to wait for us to come to Him in surrender of our wills to His Perfect Will to be done in our lives. I’m not ashamed to say I needed to fall asleep with a 1/2 dose of a Diazepam to calm my anxiety of the day.
11-21-14 – I woke this day ready to tackle the trip back home. After the joy of meeting Kitty on the 6:20 am ferry from Bremerton to Seattle, we crossed the beautiful Snoqualmie Pass at 65 mph before the weather shortly thereafter changed to a disaster as witnessed in this photo from the news. We had clean sailing all the way back to Idaho.
After a lot of worship type music and singing along the way, a still calm voice and revelation finely came to my spirit in the last 25 miles of the road trip home. I finally had empathy (the ability to understand and share the feelings of another) now for Dr. Gent and his true concern to give me the best of his surgical skill and the least complications in my rehab by following his protocol. My mind shifted from the fear of the “Whoa is me nonsense” to faith with its subsequent joy returning to my heart. I simply did not want to be non-weight bearing and now I can say I’m looking forward to it because I want good results and success in changing the ill effects of Gastroc Equinus into a better walking gait. 6 weeks of post-op inconvenience is nothing compared to the benefits I will receive. Then God reminded me of how well He has taken care of me these past years and that there was no reason to fear. I then felt so idiotic and humbled by God at my great display of emotion in his office. How ridiculous on my part for trying to convince him of my wishes. I simply was not being surrendered at that office appointment. I’m thankful that God broke through my soul (my mind, my will and emotions). I will apologize to him the next time we converse by phone.
In the meantime by writing this blog of thanksgiving (and I’m thankful that I can sit and spend hours writing compared to days gone past), I feel lighter in my heart and free to make the best of the next few weeks while enjoying my music and singing during the holidays. I continue to strengthen my core/pelvis/hips in isolated exercise. I’m able to ride my horse some but I do immediately realize the pull of my left calf compared to my right calf and this starts to affect my balanced riding position. I just don’t go out for walking just to walk. My walking is limited to my daily chores and I stretch my back a lot to keep the compensation kinks at bay.
A special thanks to my local team of medical professionals that help me so much on behalf of my out of state surgeons.
Any trials and tribulations of life become dim in the the light of His Glory and Grace. I feel spiritually blessed through all my trials and my faith continues to grow. To all family, friends, fellow patients and medical professionals: May this Thanksgiving and Christmas Season bring you peace and harmony and draw you closer to the source of it all–God and His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, forever Amen!” “A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven……..”