When you’re a kid you think you are invincible and the thought of “growing old” is not even in your consciousness. When I tell childhood stories I sometimes want to describe people as an “older person” but then I have to pause and think, “Everyone seemed much older than they probably were”. So, I really don’t know if my description is accurate. Who knows, they might have only been in their 30s or 40s, but to a child that is pretty old. But it ‘s funny how your definition of “old” changes as you rapidly approach the age you considered old. I remember being so depressed when I turned 26 because I had passed that magical number of 25, which meant that I was closer to 30 than 20. In my mind, 30 was officially a “real adult” and, although I was a mother already by 19, I still thought that I was a kid. But, when I passed 30, then 40 became the new “old age” for me. Each decade, I raise the bar on what it means to be “old.” Since when did 40 become “young?’ How about 50? To me that is now “young” or at least still “young.” How many times have I heard myself saying lately, “They’re not that old”, referring to someone in their 70s. The fact remains that the world is geared to youth and no matter how “young” you think you look, feel, or act, you are not young, and you are often treated as such. People say that age is just a number, and you can remain “young at heart”, be active, athletic, keep yourself in shape, but time is rapidly advancing, and it seems the older you get, the faster the years go by. I remember endless summers, being the playground champ, spinning tops, playing Skelly, melting bottle caps on manhole covers, eating Good Humor sold by old man Joe, the ever present ice cream man. Then, going home for dinner only to go out again in the evening. I was athletic and that was my life during those magical summer days and nights. It seems almost as if those days were just yesterday, and I sometimes wake up and think, “how the hell did I get to be this old and when did this happen?” I remember hearing about “the Golden Years” but I have recently found myself thinking that is such a fallacy. Often the “golden years” are fraught with age-related illnesses, even if you think you are healthy. With aging often comes a gradual betrayal of your body. There are exceptions, and I believe that if you keep yourself in good physical condition, taking care of what is so precious, you may skip the extreme decline. But the thing about life is that unless you have a crystal ball, or a link to God, you don’t know what the future holds. I am a firm believer that we should live NOW, and not look too far into the future. The media is famous for preaching about the evils of retiring too early (taking your Social Security too soon). I laugh when I see these dire warnings because I know from experience that life is very fragile and you should take your happiness now, if you can, rather than later because later may never come.

Surgery Log – 2013 – The Y and exercise

January 3, 2013

I am now going to the Y and it feels like home again. The first 2 days I did workouts on the Arc Trainer and other machines. It felt good at the time, but afterwards, my symptoms seemed way worse—almost unbearable. I went back the next day and did the same type of exercises, and this time later in the day, it was terrible. I don’t know if there is a correlation between the two. I had the file sent (if they at least sent it yet) to the new surgeon that Michael recommended. I have to investigate all avenues at this point. I have now started aquatics therapy in the new Y pool specifically for the handicapped. Who would’ve thought that this would happen to me; just like who would think that they would become a quadriplegic—you just never know what life will present to you. I am totally exhausted now and actually having a hard time walking again. I hope this is just because of the strenuous nature of the pool therapy. I really enjoyed it and want to continue tomorrow.

January 4, 2013

It seems that no matter what physical exertion I do—either “strenuous” or just cleaning, I feel worse nerve pain. I don’t know which is worse, the intense pressure on my abdomen and back or the burning and not being able to walk in my legs. If I could just get up in the morning and feel that there was at least SOME miniscule improvement from the day before I would have hope. But, it is exactly the same as the day before, no matter how much or how little I do. I can’t just stay in bed or on the couch all day because they want me to exercise (probably just a little) but it is 2 months since surgery and this is ridiculous. If I just sit around all day I will gain tons of weight and be super depressed. I don’t know what the answer is at this point. I was hoping since I took the Gapapentin last night I would feel less terrible. I say LESS terrible because I never, ever, feel really good anymore. “Less terrible” is my new reality; I can’t even hope at this point for “feeling great” or “feeling decent” or walking normally. I would settle for just having at least less pressure on my belly which is unbearable sometimes. I don’t know if anyone who hasn’t experienced this knows what it is like to feel like you have a lead corset pressing in on your belly every day. The pressure is so intense that I cry sometimes. It is so hard to live at this point. I am going to the pool today, but yesterday it seemed like I felt worse afterwards and at this point I am at my wit’s end; I just don’t have any answers anymore. My current doctors seem to have just given up on me. I guess when the surgical result is not what they want they just throw in the towel. In this modern day of miracles, I cannot believe that there are no answers. There has got to be something else wrong with me that they are missing, and I just KNOW this! I just need help from above. I pray each day for a miracle or at least a little bit of progress—maybe today is that day! HOPE, that is what I need, HOPE—hope is everything, after all!