For two years I did everything I could to avoid surgery, including denying the problem and making excuses. Meanwhile, I gradually eliminated activities over time until I reached the point that there was very little I could do other than lie flat on my back.
That’s when a dear friend asked me a very simple question that gave me pause: “How much longer are you going to let this rule your life?” It was time to take an honest look, cut through the excuses and take responsibility for my life. I made appointments with two highly regarded surgeons – each giving me exactly the same diagnosis.
The first step was admitting that it was time to make the decision that I was no longer going to compromise my life or settle for just getting by. Step 2 was finding experts who had a proven track record and a personality that related to me, not just my physical crisis. Step 3 was to follow through on the recommended action regardless of my fear about having surgery on my spine. The surgeon provided me with a solution, a way to end my pain and suffering so I could live life rather than merely get by, actively engage in the activities that I love and take responsibility for my future.
That brings me to Step 4, and that is today, six weeks post-surgery, virtually pain-free, getting stronger and more mobile each day, and experiencing a resurgence of engaging with life. There are so many people who have encouraged, helped, cajoled and pushed me on this road of recovery. Has it been easy? Absolutely not! Has it been worthwhile? A resounding yes!
This adventure has taught me innumerable lessons. Here are just a few highlights:
- To achieve something that was other than what I had, I needed to make the decision to take action and accept responsibility for my future.
- I had to find the experts and ask for help.
- I had to follow through on the recommendations regardless of how fearful I was.
- I had to be willing to do the work that would give me the results I wanted.
My “work” continues, as my physical therapist will be here shortly to take me through the exercises of the day. Each day I get stronger. Tomorrow I’ll be able to do more than I can do today – and that reinforces the knowledge that I made the right decision. Each day I appreciate the life I have and am grateful I was willing to step out of what was and into the power of what could be.
Most important of all is that the opportunity to increase my self-knowledge – getting to know me; being my best friend; accepting my flaws and faults; and believing I can be, do and be more – is a never-ending adventure. That adventure is filled with awe-inspiring moments that lead to living, enjoying and experiencing an amazing life. Making the decision is just the beginning.