August 27, 2014. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I woke up from my drugged induced slumber and looked down at my right leg. There I saw it swollen and covered in bandages, placed on this strange looking hospital machine. Then I felt the pain. The pain of having your leg sawed in half, and a foreign object placed to hold everything together.
My first thoughts: What the heck did I just do? What did I do to my body?
I immediately felt the burden of the situation. I felt incapable of making it through this journey. And at that moment, I wish I had made the decision not to have surgery. I knew it was going to be a long process, of physical, mental, and emotional pain, and I wasn’t sure if I was equipped to handle it. And then knowing I would have to do it all over again for my other leg, reality sunk in.
But what a difference a year makes.
August 27, 2015, I sit writing this post with a smile on my face. I made it through. This year, by far, has been one of the most difficult years of my life. I went through two broken legs, months of being bound to a wheelchair, a year of painful physical therapy, and learning how to walk again… which I’m still trying to master.
And while I can’t stand for extended periods of time (yet), I stand triumphant and proud. Because just 365 days ago — which really isn’t that long— I didn’t think I would make it to where I am today.
When I look down at my legs, now scarred from surgery, I feel blessed. Why? Because I know it was only through God that I made it through. He truly carried me, protected me, and healed me from the moment that I stepped (or was rolled) into that surgical room. The risks of never recovering were high — I could have permanently lost feeling in my legs, I could have had my legs amputated, I could have lost my life. But God kept me.
I also had a great support system. My parents are my heroes. As much as this journey was difficult for me, it was just as taxing on them. No parent likes to see their child struggling and in pain. My parents held my hand every step of the way. They cared for my wounds, both physically and emotionally, and ensured me that everything would be okay. And for the months that I couldn’t make it upstairs to my bedroom, they slept downstairs on an old, uncomfortable couch, as I lay in my home hospital bed. They always made sure that I was comfortable and not alone. I have always loved and appreciated my parents. But going through this journey amplified my love and appreciation for them. I am so blessed to have such great parents that would sacrifice their comfort and their time to guarantee that I would be okay.
Lastly, my friends kept me grounded in who I was as a person, and not who I was as someone who couldn’t walk, couldn’t stand, and for some time couldn’t even move my legs. I never felt isolated. Even though I couldn’t do the things a typical 24-year-old could do, they always kept me connected to the real world. Even when I didn’t feel like being bothered. And for that I can never be thankful enough. It’s in times such as this that you realize who your true friends are, and I am so grateful for the ones that I have.
So I made it through my first-year post major surgery. Although this year was extremely difficult, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. It made me stronger. I can now look back at those moments when I thought I wasn’t going to make it, and smile. Because I did ‘make it’. And I am continuing to ‘make it’. My journey is not over, but I already made it through the hardest part, and I look forward to what is next in my future.
We all have different journies to take. Some will leave you feeling incapable, wounded, and broken. Remember to remain strong. Whatever your journey is, you will make it through. Trust in yourself, and most importantly trust in God. He will carry you through your situation. It’s okay to have moments of weakness, we’re only human. But you must keep going. Rely on the strength of your family and friends to help you through it. Then, before you know it, you will look back on your life and say, “Wow. I did that. I’m still standing.”
What a difference a year makes.