After the accident, I pushed forward. I expected to walk again. I expected to get my life back. But life kicked me in the ass. After months of recovery and physiotherapy, there was still pain, and I still couldn’t walk like before. After further examination, the doctors discovered a bone chip in my foot. The crack in my femur healed. The pieces of my knee knit back together. But the tiny fragment in my foot, even removed, continued to cause problems.
While in recovery, I was sent to a program to help me to deal with “chronic pain”. At the time, I thought “chronic pain” was disabling. I wasn’t like the people in the room at orientation. My foot only bothered me if I over did. I only had pain at the end of the day. Not all day. Sometimes not even every day. I only needed pain meds once or twice a week. And, having gone through labour, my pain on a scale was low—a one or two on a scale of ten – nine times out of ten.
But now, I’m beginning to understand now what chronic pain is. It’s doesn’t have to be a high level of pain all the time. It can be a low level of pain. It can be intermittent. But it is never fully gone. It’s always casting a shadow.
When I allow myself to wallow, I realize what a bitch it is. It’s robbed me of so many things. I didn’t get to teach my eldest how to ride a bicycle. I didn’t realize that the last time I picked him up and carried him was the last time I was going to be able to pick him up and carry him. It robbed me of a part of his childhood—and I’ll never get it back. It continues to limit my ability to keep up with them. I can’t run with them, or after them. Winter snow isn’t a fun time, it’s a time when I have to be extra careful not to slip and re-injure myself.
But here’s the thing, I can’t go back. What is, is. And I have to accept that. I can’t wallow. I have to believe I made it through for a reason. I have to believe that whatever reason that was, whatever I think I’ve lost, there is so very much I’ve gained. A husband, a child. A life that’s absolutely worth living. Even with the pain. I look at that pain as a reminder—not of what I’ve lost—but instead, what I’ve gained. And even though the shadow is always cast, if I cast enough light over it, it ceases to matter.
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