Thanksgiving was bittersweet this year as my cousin is in the hospital, waging an epic battle against pancreatic cancer. I began the day with a visit. It is hard to enjoy anything, let alone a holiday, when you see a loved one in such discomfort. My God, I love my Cuzzie Paul and he never really leaves my thoughts these days. His beautiful family is being amazingly strong and as always, I wish there was more I could do to help. Cancer is pure, pure evil. Ugly and destructive, and it doesn't care who it takes and how valuable they are to others. Brutal.
In addition to this constant concern, preparations are underway for back surgery now. Making lists of everything I need to do, stocking up on heavy stuff, preparing the pet food and supplies. Cleaning and laundry. Went for three hours of pre-op visits yesterday and it became clear that boarding the big birds might be a good idea. So, reservations are made. When I came downstairs this morning and heard Kizzy shout "Hell-loo!" and then Hap say in a little voice "Hi baby!" I wonder how I will heal without them. I hope they have a good experience, and am at least grateful that I love the place they go and trust the overseer, Matt, more than I trust myself with my birds. I am keeping my little fellas, Boncuk and the still injured Zaza, as I need a little feathered sunshine around. And they provide a lot!
Also, I am thinking about what I will be able to do for art when off. Since I have to be less active for a bit, and not lift anything over five pounds for a while, I'm hoping that I can work with my hands. I am not sure how much sitting I will be able to do -- standing is ok, walking is ok, laying down is ok, but sitting might be hard. Maybe stitching? Beading might be tough. Right now the thought of standing to do anything seems impossible. I know that is one reason why I haven't been working on art much -- to stand and move around in my art room for more than an hour at a time is painful and tiring. If I sit it is better, but still, after about an hour I have to give up. Maybe I can work on a simple black and white stitched project while down and out. We shall see!
I think about the possibility of standing without pain and get internally giddy. Some people wake up from surgery with no pain at all in their legs. Maybe the numbness and weakness continue, as that takes a while to come back, if it ever does. But no pain? I can't think of a time when I haven't had pain in my legs. The severe, continual pain started a few years ago, and was attributed to RA. Now that the arthritis is pretty well controlled with Rituxan, I can clearly see that there might be another cause. When I start freaking out about having my back cut open, with people's hands in there messing around my spine, I try to visualize what it will feel like if the pain is better, and the things I will be able to do. Go to the MFA and not grimace. Maybe travel somewhere again? At least keep my house clean? Walk my dogs without gimping?
Just like when my foot was really bad and the toes were dislocating, I couldn't see how bad it was until it was all over. Looking back, it was one of the toughest physical things I went through because the pain was so immobilizing. This moment sort of feels like that -- hearing so many people tell me that they can make this pain go away is somewhat amazing to my rational brain. I was told with RA to expect severe pain all the time and just deal with it, and I've done that. Work around it. Compensate. Make reasonable changes to personal expectations. Medicate. Rest. Accept. I've surprised myself at how much pain I've been able to handle. Just because it can't be seen, it doesn't mean it isn't there, and I do not wish this on my worst enemy (well, maybe that isn't really true. And she knows who she is -- forgive me for my meanness but it is what it is.)
I truly hope this surgery isn't a mistake that causes more severe pain and no improvement. While the promise of pain-free legs looms like a much desired unopened gift on Christmas morning, I have to be prepared for opening a box of unexciting socks. Just more pain, the same numbness and weakness, and a temporary slowdown while the incision site heals. That very well might happen. I have to try this though, or I'll never know. Oh, life is such an adventure filled with difficulties and challenges. I sure hope at the other end of the rainbow we learn why we all have to suffer so much.
What will you make today?