photo by Surely Sweet Photography

Changing Diapers: the Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering

Monday, January 9, 2012

This year WILL be better!

Hello, old friends!  It has been way too long since I've had a chance to sit down and write.  I've missed it.  So this post is kinda long, playing catch up.  But I've included pics of my cute boys to make up for it!

A lot has happened in the last few months, including 3 major holidays, Eli's 2nd birthday, knee surgery, lots of physical therapy, my uncle passed away after a sudden stroke, Ryan's great-uncle passed away, my computer crashed, the DFW Cloth Diaper Project officially launched, and the DFW Cloth Diaper Group has grown to nearly 1,000 "likes".  Oh, and Ryan went on his first ride since the accident.  It was for a great cause, a motorcycle toy ride, but my nerves were beyond frayed that day.  All this on top of the normal daily routine with 2 young kids.  Things have been hectic, to say the least.

Things got so busy we didn't even have an actual party for Eli, just a fun family lunch at Babe's Chicken House!  Riley ate 7 pieces of smoked chicken and a cupcake.  Eli loved all the attention!

This is piece #6.  It really is that good.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Eli!

Yes, I mentioned more surgery.  Which makes #6 in an 8 month span.  This one was on the knee.  I finally went to see about it (since 2.5 months of PT didn't help as much as it should have).  They did an MRI and scheduled more PT.  After 4 additional weeks of PT, the doctor told me I had 3 choices:

1. Live with the pain.  Yeah, not happening.
2. Try more physical therapy.  Um, I've had a total of 3.5 months on it, 2-3 x's a week.  It's not better.
3. Do orthoscopic surgery to fix the tiny tear he thinks he saw on the MRI. 

So surgery it was.  On December 9 (just 2 weeks before Christmas), I had my knee scoped, and it was the best decision!  I am exactly one month out of surgery, and my knee is world's better!  I have a general soreness from surgery, but the sharp pain is gone.  I can walk through the store without feeling like somebody is stabbing me in the knee with each step.  He sutured a partial tear in the medial meniscus.  And also "filed" down some scar tissue on one of the bones.  It feels like my knee will be somewhat "normal" again once it's fully healed. 

Left knee a couple days post-op.

Scarring on the bone before he filed it down.
I just finished the last of my PT.  I am done, and it feels so strange.  Only one more doctor's appointment, a follow up on my knee (which the doctor said is looking great!).  And then I will be completely done!!  It feels so freeing to be (almost) done with all of the appointments.  I've had 4 different doctors (orthopedic surgeon, plastic surgeon, podiatrist, and a sport's medicine doctor; and one awesome physical therapist!).  Am I completely back to how I was before?  No.  And I never will be.

The long term effects are now apparent.  I can't squat.  At all.  My ankle just won't bend.  And my physical therapist told me that while it's not impossible, it will be very difficult for me to be able to run again.  Not that I'm a runner, or do frequent marathons (ok, none).  But I've always thought that maybe someday I would do one.  Just to prove I could.  But chances of that happening are small.  At least, running one.  I could always walk it.  I'm not even concerned about that.  My focus is more on the simple things, like What if my kid runs to the street or parking lot and I can't chase them?  I can't do that.  And it's frustrating.  And scary. 

When I returned to PT for my knee and ankle in November, I got a special splint that will help the range of motion in my ankle.  It helps some, but not a lot.  The biggest problem is I can't walk in it.  That's impossible with kids.  So, the best time to wear it is when I'm sleeping.  But it's uncomfortable, and I can't sleep with it on.  Ideally, I should wear it 12 hours a day for maximum benefit.  That doesn't happen.  I'm lucky if I wear it 2.  The PT said to use it for a couple more months before returning it. 

I wore this stylish shoe for a couple months before seeing about my knee. 
It kept all pressure off my heel so the one spot where the skin graft didn't
"take" could heal properly.  Skin grafts on the heel are a tricky thing.

The not-so-awesome-and-very-uncomfortable ankle splint I get to wear.

I am finally feeling like I can do some things without great pain.  Like cooking and light cleaning.  Picking things up is hard, since I can't squat.  But I like that I feel well enough to do this stuff.  Only problem is, I'm out of the habit.  It's been 9 months since the accident.  I'm having to figure out my new "normal".  I can't physically function the same as before, but it really won't improve much more.  So I just have to figure it all out, and deal with any discomfort.  It's not easy.

Today I took the kids to the mall to get a haircut, eat lunch, and let them play.  It's cold and wet outside, so I thought I'd let them run off some energy.  Eli was super cranky.  I forgot the stroller wasn't in the car.  I didn't worry, since I figured we'd just get a mall stroller.  But the atm wasn't working, and the machine only took cash.  I had 3 $1 bills.  It cost $5.  So, no stroller.  Eli wanted me to carry him.  The whole time.  Not only is he heavy (about 33 lbs), but the extra weight still hurts my leg.  I can only tolerate carrying him for a few minutes.  If I didn't carry him, he stood there screaming.  If I carried him, it hurt.  I was frustrated, as eyes started at me as if I was torturing my child, that I couldn't carry him easily.  Normally, I don't let the stares bother me.  But today it did.  I felt like a bad mom because I can't carry my child without pain.  I know, I'm not really a bad mom.  But it's still frustrating that I can't carry him when he wants/needs a little extra comfort. 

I'll figure it out.  I know I will, and these frustrations will be a thing of the past.  I'm still so thankful that Ryan and I did not die in that accident.  I'm also thankful that I still have my foot.  And that I can walk.  And hold my kids and watch them grow and learn each day.  My heart aches when I think about what could have happened.  God has blessed us beyond what we deserve!  He has been right here with us the whole time, giving us the strength and comfort we need.  I still need that strength and comfort.  I think the end of this chapter in our lives has been harder than the beginning. 

I was sad on Saturday as I watched Ryan and the boys play Hide and Go Seek in the yard.  I wanted to run and chase after them, and I was reminded of what I won't be able to do with my kids.  I almost feel as if I'm mourning the loss of my old "normal" life, when I had no restrictions on what I could do.  But when I get a little down about this, I just need to look at 2 wonderful little faces to remind me of how truly blessed I am.  I may not be able to run after them, but they can run to me.  And for that, I am thankful.  And my heart is full. 

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