I’m biting my lip, thinking about how many times I have thought of my former post, Why Me? since last Monday.
I spent the day attempting to work from home while enduring severe neck and shoulder pain. It had worsened after the initial muscle pain from my previous surgery. My surgeon sent me for a CT Scan over the weekend and my intuition was validated when I answered his phone call on Monday afternoon.
It’s never a good sign with the Neurosurgeon calls ahead of your planned appointment.
Long story short; my fourth cervical spine fusion failed. Four screws are loosening from pressure above them and the only solution is to remove the hardware and fuse further below, into my thoracic spine.
His voice cracked while telling me. I felt numb. I shifted my way over to my dog and held him for a few minutes before telling my family.
So, how do I not want to curl up and avoid the world? How did I practice a growth mindset? Was I positive?
For the record, I did want to curl up and avoid everything, but curling up would be extra painful. So, I laid down. I accepted many snuggles, both human and puggle.
I let the doctor’s words play over and over in my head, acknowledging frustration and anger. These surgeries are intense; emotionally, mentally, and of course physically. I could not believe I would have to do it over … again.
The anger became sadness and fear as I talked with my therapist, but I knew they were just feelings, natural with what was happening to my body. As I spoke more about it, I began to practice my growth mindset.
I am unsure why this challenge has entered my life but I chose to focus on the fact that this surgery and this recovery will give many people, especially me, the opportunity to grow. All of my doctors (and yes, it is quite an amazing team) will learn more about Ehler Danlos Syndrome and the effects of hypermobility to my neck and others who may be similar. The opportunity for me to grow, to learn more about my body, to grow healthier, to grow to learn more patience and courage.
While it may be a setback to my life (I’m supposed to move! I should be at work! Pushing through pain to live is hard!), I promised myself to prepare for the best possible recovery so I can grow and improve.
I have downloaded inspirational and motivational TED Talks, podcasts, and have my meditation app ready. My iTunes playlists are full of Lady Gaga, JayZ, Eminem, Hamilton, Linkin Park, P!nk; music to get me up and moving. Currently, I am making a list of small but attainable goals to achieve each day, such as mini walks, practicing meditation, reading, reaching out to friends, all things to stay busy and positive. I will eat healthy to promote healing (but the occasional ice cream WILL help) and will follow doctor’s orders.
I will enter surgery with good thoughts and intentions, which has been and will continue to be practiced. After all, practice makes perfect.
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