Sunday, March 16, 2014

Road Blocks

I never quite know what to say when folks tell me that I am a strong person or that I am an inspiration.  Truthfully, I've known myself for my whole life and do not find myself uniquely strong or inspiring.  Conversely, I tend to find myself more as just plain stubborn and determined, with the necessary thrust of human connection, peppered with a lot of grit and some occasional self-pity (okay, a lot of self-pity lately).  

Yeah, this week has been a rough one.  While I was forewarned to expect a year of frustration after my amputation, I did not expect that I would be this frustrated, confused and down about the whole thing.    It has been challenging to say the least.  

I was really psyched at the beginning of the week to finally be getting my prosthesis....for my "walking day," as it's generally called in the amputee community.   While I knew I would encounter some discomfort and mixed feelings,  I did NOT know that I would be forced to confront the fallout of my multiple traumatic injuries, as well as how they still impact the way in which my body continues to respond.   

One of the symptoms resulting from my pelvic fracture was a peroneal nerve injury.   The peroneal nerve originates at the base of the sacoiliac joint (as part of the sciatic nerve) and runs down the outside of the leg, around the edge of the fibula (outer leg bone), and over the foot, where it ends
between the first and second toe. (see pic at the right).  When I still had my foot, I could touch between my toes and it would be numb there...which was really no big deal, as I got used to it and it really did not affect me much.   I also had, and continue to experience a lingering numbness along the outside of my thigh, which turns into a tingling sensation when I press on the top side of my calf-muscle.   Again, no big deal......that is, unless you're trying to fit a prosthetic socket. 

Earlier this week while my prosthetist and I were trying to work on getting a comfortable fit in my socket, I felt a shooting pain across the outside of my shin.  I pointed to a small lump which seemed to be the culprit.....and was informed that what I have is called a neuroma.     Neuromas can present quite a challenge when fitting a prosthetic socket, as the pressure put upon them when bearing weight can cause significant pain and cramping.   Needless to say, my hopes to be up-and-walking came to a standstill, because at this point the socket is too painful to wear.   On Monday we  are going to start over with a new check-socket and see if it is possible to make a few adjustments to accommodate the neuroma.  If it still continues to be problematic despite multiple attempts at socket corrections, steroid injections can be attempted, as well as surgery to transect and bury the neuroma deeper into the muscle tissue closer to the bone.    Obviously, the last thing I want is another fingers are crossed that we find a better solution.  

I guess that  this is where I am humbled and reminded that the human body has its own logic, and no sheer force of will can change that.  I have been pretty concerned and I've obviously been looking forward to getting my life back.   It is sometimes hard to trust when one experiences setback after setback, or to catastrophize and think that I'll never be walking again.   So I try to get scrappy and educate myself about all of my options, as well as connect with others who share similar struggles.   Still, there are days where it is just plain hard. 

Still Searching for "Normal"

I think the most difficult part of this experience is the length of time it is taking to regain some sense of normalcy.   I want so much to be in a good head-space for my kids and family, but find myself feeling sad as I sit back and watch them participating in the fun stuff I would love to be doing.   I also find that my patience is lacking, as well as the joy I used to feel on a regular basis as a very active person.  I guess my energy tank is running on low, and the long hard winter has compounded the arduousness of the journey.    Usually at this time of the year we would be making plans to camp, hike and the snow melts away and we prepare for increased time spent outdoors.  Unfortunately at this juncture we are unable to plan with much certainty, which is tough.    Luckily, my tough German temperament pushes me I kick myself in the butt to stay as active as I can be, and surrounded by good people.  I try to find joy in the small things, such as richness of conversation with friends, holding my kids on my lap, watching the birds come to our feeder, getting in a good swim, or listening to my cat purr as I scratch him under the chin.  (I do this to my husband too sometimes, but he doesn't purr....).

Somewhere in the back of my mind I know that this will not last forever.  And I look around to see all that I have been blessed with.  I am thankful that through all of this, my children are learning how to be helpful, how to be compassionate, and how to press on through difficulty.   Of course, they are also learning new skills, such as how to throw their snow-covered clothes into the dryer and how to empty the dishwasher!   I look forward to some exciting goals on the horizon.....and try to embrace the understanding that these things happen in their own time, which may be outside of my
control.  (I can be so impatient!)

....and we continue taking things one. day. at. a. time.    


  1. Thanks for sharing your heart, Chris. I really admire your honesty and determination as you discover how to adapt to this new path in your life. Hoping today will bring fresh perspectives and hope. On a note about your neuropathy, there are essential oils that may help with the pain, inflammation and possibly even the nerve damage. I'd love to drop off some samples you could try ~ Sue P

    1. Thanks, Sue! I actually rode the stationary bike at the Y tonight for the first time. Woot woot! :) What kinds of oils would be helpful? I'd love to hear more about that.

  2. Have you ever heard the song "Hall of Fame" by The Script? You are that song. Here is a link to the lyrics....

    You are allowed to have bad days. It's just so very important that you not dwell down in that dark place. I'm glad you have motivators to help you pick yourself up. Hang on tight to those precious things and know that there are many of us out here pulling for you.

    1. Karen, funny you mentioned that has been on my playlist for a while and one of my favorite workout songs! :) Thanks for your encouragement. There have definitely been more up-days as of recent, and having good people around definitely helps!