Three years! Three years ago on this day I had my back surgery. It changed my life.
Three years may have passed but I can distinctly remember the pain, the inability to move, curling up in a ball, the attempts at relief, the feelings of isolation, the fear, how the nerves screamed out any time I took a step or tried to move. I remember the hours of physical therapy, traction, my saving grace, the reason I was able to gain the strength to go to work. It was a battle those months leading up to surgery. There were many things I could not do for myself. There were things I could not do for my family. I remember.
The decision for surgery did not come easily. While the majority of those months were one step at a time and pain filled, I was seeing improvement at times. My diet changes had improved the inflammation. The therapy had allowed me to get up and go to work. The meds took off the edge, most days. Even so, every day was a struggle and as the days passed it was clear that this was not how I wanted to live my life.
Some people ask me why I hike. It's complicated. The simplified answer is because I can. After my surgery, I vowed to never take my mobility for granted ever again. I decided to live life to the fullest. When an opportunity arises, I seize it. Europe? Absolutely. Those feelings of being trapped, unable to move. I could barely make it from the bed to the bathroom most days. So when offered to cross the ocean and explore, it was one that I could not turn down. Travel I must. It launched a new kind of exploration for me. When my daughter took a fascination with Broadway and musicals, we had to go. We had to see as many shows as we could. (Glad we did! We miss theatre.) There are things that I have done in the last 3 years that I probably would have found excuses for prior to my surgery. I'm frugal. I'm practical. I am still those things but they will no longer stand in my way of an adventure. Another big contributor to my not taking life for granted, is the loss of my sister in law. Cancer took her far too early, and it solidified in my heart and mind that we are not promised tomorrow. We must live today. So I do. I hike! I get outdoors! I say yes to nature and exploring the world. I seize the day. I marvel at each sunrise for it is a new day. I cherish each setting sun as it is another reminder of a day well lived. I find beauty in the smallest of things, for I don't want to take anything for granted.
Today marks the anniversary of a surgery. But for me it is far more than that. It is the anniversary of getting my life back and putting me on the path of adventure. For that I am very grateful!