Back to Normal

These days I spend so much time on the computer for work, that it takes extra effort to find the motivation to stay on it to update my personal blog. I have felt the need to post about my 1 year anniversary from back surgery for quite a while – but haven’t been in the right place emotionally do it.

You see, I don’t look back – I blaze forward. In life I take the hits, try to process what happened, quickly pick myself up, and if necessary change course. I’m not sentimental, I don’t keep memento’s, and I let go of things and people who bring me down.

Typically, I don’t look back.

I think the reason is because it’s flat out too hard to do so. This morning, I was trying to get through my insanely full inbox of e-mail when I read one from my sister, Lisa. She’s finally posting about her latest journey {{whoohoo!!}} and at the end linked to her post when she came up to help take care of my family when I ruptured a disc in my back. In that post she quoted a Jason Maraz song and gave me the best compliment that she’s ever given me, “You’re an island of reality in an ocean of diarrhea”. That’s so like Lisa! {{giggle}}

As I reread her post, it brought tears to my eyes remembering the extreme pain and emotional trauma I experienced during those 6 weeks prior to my surgery. And then afterward, the 8 weeks of physical therapy and rehabilitation I spent trying to heal the atrophy in my left leg.

The week of Thanksgiving (one year since the rupture) I purged my feelings onto paper. Below is what I wrote:

“Next week will mark the one year anniversary of the ruptured disc in my back. This time last year I had great momentum with Tip Junkie as I felt like I had hit my stride and doing some unique and cool things. The quality, popularity, and influence was at an all time high and I had found a “balance” (if there is such a thing) between work, life, and play.

I was also preparing for our first multi-family vacation where several of other families from our church were planning a weekend in the mountains. Growing up my family didn’t travel. Not even to see relatives. It just wasn’t ever an option. So this event was so exciting for me on many levels. Personally, I felt like I had achieved many goals and felt very grateful.

How our minds protect us from trauma is such an interesting phenomenon. A year ago, I had no idea the trauma my body would have to endure. In all honesty, I feel like I should be over it by now. That I shouldn’t talk about it anymore and that it should no longer consume my thoughts or effect my psyche. I feel guilty when I struggle with my achy body or complain (in my head) about feeling like an old woman when I wake up every morning. I struggle with really identifying the lessons I was supposed to learn and try so hard to keep those in the forefront of my thoughts instead of regret and wishing life was back to normal.

I didn’t realize it until recently – that I’ve been on auto pilot with life. Nothing has inspired me, nothing has ignited my creativity, and my drive and passion has been lost. It’s a miserable existence to live day to day – minute to minute. I was in survival mode and not planning for or being excited about the future.

For me, that happens when I’m holding something back, pushing my potential down, or not allowing myself to pursue my passions. Preparing for SITScation (in October) and not wanting to disappoint Tiffany & Heather and their guests; awakened me in so many ways.

I had to put down in writing my mission and vision for Tip Junkie. Thereby defining what I really wanted to accomplish. I had to put on paper what I know that others may not. Which baffled me since I’ve never been categorized a “smart” person. Seriously. Cute – sure. Positive – yep. Stubborn – hell yes. Smart – not so much. However, I’ve always felt like I have more to give.

Then it hit me – what do I know a lot about? Struggle, trial, adversity. So I focused my speech and my message to what I live by every day. “Create Your Own Experience”.

I will never be able to truly express the degree of trauma or the dark places I went while my sciatic nerve was being pinched and swollen and irritated for 6 weeks. Which caused constant pain that even high doses of pain pills couldn’t relive. I will never be able to comprehend what it did to my family to see me endure such agony, as I lost my ability to stand up straight or walk. And then to watch the light in my eyes go out as I lost myself all over again.

Sometimes defining moments are not moments – they are months or years. I know that I shouldn’t be ashamed of still struggling; but I am. My 34 year old body is weak and exhausted with the daily struggle of waking up every morning feeling old and decayed.

Next week marks one year since taking my body for granted. I have learned much, become grateful for much, humbled over and over again. I guess the one thing that is a recurring theme in my life is adapting to trauma and creating a better experience from it. (Every one of us can relate.) Maybe I needed the experience if just to know that I can live through it.”

I now see life very differently. I’m no longer dreaming and planning for the future but and trying to accept reality and live in it. My perspective on life as a whole has completely changed. My purpose in life is steadily coming into fruition and I’m trying to accept that responsibility. I am not the person I was, November 2008. It’s a shame because I really liked her. However, I realize now that I had to break in order to become whole.

It’s time to change course and blaze forward.

5 thoughts on “Back to Normal

  1. What a powerful realization it is to switch gears from what you're dreaming of to what you ARE, it's so much more. 🙂

  2. What a great post Laurie. Not a bit of sugar coating life. First Im so sorry about you back – prior to staying home I was a PTA for an outpatient clinic. What a long journey you have endured!
    I can remember when I use to hope and dream for the future, well I guess I still do but it is quite different now. Your wants and needs change.
    You never now what tomorrow will bring but keep your head up, YOU are doing some pretty amazing things. Inspiring many.
    I have just been diagnosed with Lupus. It's been a year full of frustration and being tired of not knowing what was wrong. It is hard to look in the future when you are just doing your best to get through days. So many different emotions. And still attempting to tackle the daily chaos. It's funny as I had to rock my 1 yr old last night I realized I needed to change some things, regroup, and write down the direction I want to take.
    Blogging has definitely helped me. I have met some amazing women. It has given me inspiration, purpose, and driven me to do things I am passionate about. So you see, we all have our moments. And talking about them makes us realize we arent alone. Thank you for your honesty and inspiration 🙂

  3. you're awesome… thanks for being so real and so willing to share your struggles and what you've learned with others!

    And I can relate on the whole 'never feeling or being looked at as smart'. I think you've showed those that thought that a thing or two!!!

  4. A very touching post Sweet heart!! First I must say – you have ALWAYS been SMART!!! You talked very early and in complete sentences – people were just amazed, you made up songs , almost from birth, you were ryhming words when you were 2 or 3 !!!! Not Smart??? How silly!!!! Do you remember how for Family Home Evening every week, you would make up a play and write out scripts for all the other kids, (even if they couldn't read yet) and you were the author, producer, director, and usually the star of the show not to even mention, scenery, wardrobe, hair and make-up !!!! You have always been on top of everything and so fun to watch!!!!
    On a more serious note, I have often wondered why life frequently has to be so hard and painful. In my own experience, I have been amazed at the level of shear physical pain a person can just live with – because there is no other choice. Pain killers rarely do much to help and, at least in my case, did more to make the mind fuzzy, than to relieve the agony, and therefore were avoided as much as humanly possible. There are those days when you just have to have a little relief. I'll never forget, after my first car accident and they finally gave me the morphine, I suddenly understood how people can become addicted to drugs. How they can crave that temporary relief! Living in constant pain, that either never does, or seems like it never will, go away changes a person. Some it actually changes for the better, and others for the worse. Do you remember Sister Cluff? Your Aunt Lynette's Mom? She was always so calm and serene – she had a calming effect on everyone around her. You probably never knew – but she lived in constant excruciating pain all those years!! It is how we choose to accept what we can not change that makes the difference. But it is a process, often taking many years, and trials to find our true self. And that doesn't even touch the subject of emotional pain. The two always come together, one causes or magnifies the other. So they feed on each other too. It is a struggle to come to terms with them, many never really do. Some times I think I have, and other times I know I haven't. But life goes on, even when you don't want it to. And we each have to find our own way to cope with what we have to face in our lives. When I was struggling with my horrendous pregnacies and all of the deaths and etc, I used to wonder what good would ever come of any of it. I think the ability to reach out an help others who are struggling similarly is a big thing, because you truely understand what they're going thru. When Tresa died the most comforting friends were those who had also lost a child. But even more importantly I think it can help us have more empathy for all people, more understanding that we all struggle, we all suffer, may times in ways that other can't see or know about. Many of us suffer incredibly in silence! You usually never know what the person standing or sitting next to you is, or has been, going through. My hope would be that having our own struggles and pain teaches us to be less judgemental of others because we can't know their pain, just as they can't know ours, and that it also gives us just the tiniest bit of understanding of the pain our Savior suffered in our behalf. I have lived with incredible pain my self, I have witnessed my Father suffering horribly after his heart surgery and his strokes, and I have seen you, my own child, in utter agony, but I have never witnessed any of us, bleeding from every pore. So I think we only get the tiniest taste of what he suffered for our Eternal Souls.
    This has probably gotten too personal, but please know that you have always been brilliant and creative, and beautiful and strong, and I am so incredibly proud of you, and truely honored to be your Mom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *