My post title is a lyric line from my song “In The Past.”
The full line is: “Pain that made me cry, gave me wings to fly”
Link to other recordings and stories about this song: IN THE PAST
I couldn’t believe it was already fall. After spending the entire summer in a wheelchair, (three months of NWB, an acronym for non-weight bearing), I was finally able to walk again.
Over a month’s time, I slowly improved. I could handle longer distances and my balance was better. But pain continued to plague me. It seeped into my heart and forced tears from my eyes with every stabbing sensation. I was clearly struggling because I could hardly carry on a simple conversation without crying. And I had a lot of trouble singing, too.
My physical therapy appointments were excruciating and the exercises wore me out. I made progress with more flexibility, which was encouraging. I had one appointment every week for two months.
I had one last appointment with the orthopedic department. I was told that I was graduating because my fracture had healed on the x-ray. When I mentioned my intense pain, I was told it was “normal.” The doctor gave me a referral to a podiatrist; perhaps I had another foot issue unrelated to my ankle surgery. He also said I could have developed a pain disorder due to my extreme sensitivity. “Like Paula Abdul,” he said, “It happens with injuries sometimes.”
Occasionally, I listened to my own grief course. It was strange – even though it was my own voice speaking, it sounded like someone else. I let my own advice drill into me, and amazingly one of my suggestions set off a light bulb. I had recommended finding support groups with other people going through the same thing.
I looked online and discovered there were ankle fracture recovery groups! I signed up for one and it was mind blowing. People were all sharing their fracture experiences with pictures, information and questions. When a woman wrote about taking her first shower on her own, the supportive messages made me want to cry. I remembered when I did that!
There were plenty of posts where people wondered how long the pain would last. I scrolled down and there was a post that really knocked me over. Under a photo of a tennis court, a woman wrote: “Played tennis for the first time since my accident in July.”
My accident was on July 1st. I was so happy for her!
We began corresponding and her name was Missie. She lived across the country from me, but we wrote back and forth about the trauma we had gone through, as well as our love for tennis. Missie had fallen down the stairs backwards. She was scheduled to have her hardware removed in a month because her doctor told her, “Missie, let’s go in and take the hardware out so you can get on with your life and not have to pay another big deductible next year.”
I had already begun deciding to plan ahead for the surgery to remove my hardware. The metal plate and screws were not welcome in my body anymore and I could feel them all the time. From what I read, the removal alleviated pain for many people. It improved mobility and also prevented possible arthritis later on.
Missie was my new friend and I was eager to hear how it would go for her. All of this new support was definitely helping me. I was so isolated all summer and I wished I had found this site sooner.
There was a bright spot during all of this. I had an amazing 60th birthday party.
I had dreaded turning 60; with no idea how I could celebrate the way I was feeling. One day, my close friend Janis came to visit and bring lunch. I mentioned my upcoming milestone birthday and how sad I was thinking about it. When she offered to host a party for me at her home, it seemed like such a lovely idea.
I decided to invite only my closest girlfriends – this way it would be very intimate. As the party day came closer, I wished I felt better. My eyes were still faucets and I was easily exhausted.
My party was unforgettable. The love in the room swirled around and inside of me as I savored every moment. I’m going to share an extremely heartfelt and vulnerable video clip at the end of this post.
Last week, my appointment with the podiatrist arrived. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was sure I would be crying. The doctor was a lovely young woman and sure enough my tears began falling when she asked me how I was.
She gently explained to me that it was only five weeks since I had started walking. It was still very early in my healing and recovery. She said that it would definitely get better, but it was a very slow process and pain was to be expected.
We discussed whether a cortisone shot might help me. I had benefited from one once before when I had tennis elbow. She said it was certainly worth trying.
She gently injected the large needle into my ankle in two places. I couldn’t stifle crying out from the pain. She said, “I feel a lot of scar tissue in there and hopefully this will loosen it up. You’ll be sore for a day or two, but might see some benefit after that.”
I promised her I’d let her know.
The following day, I was very sore, but gradually my pain began to lift.
It was unbelievable! Suddenly, I could walk normally. I went for a walk and my tears were happy ones.
I couldn’t wait to tell Missie and share my good news with my new support group. And of course, send a message to the podiatrist to let her know what a difference our appointment had made.
As I walked, there were no words to describe my elation. I kept imagining all the things I would be able to do again without pain.
It was miraculous and I felt like I could fly!
Life held magic once again.