Monday, December 31, 2007


Here it is, the last day of 2007 and I feel obligated to take an overall look at the year. I don't really like to do it - I prefer living one day at a time. But in some ways I'm just escaping looking at my situation in it's entirety. So....

Last year at this time I was still in the exhausted fog from the extensive surgery I had in September 2006. It was a long and difficult surgery with a long recovery time to even learn how to take care of myself again. Although I got a new hip, it turned out that my femur was very much not healed and there was nothing they could do for my knee. I was very upset and decided to plan on having my leg amputated and getting an artificial one to speed up the process of being able to function. (I changed my mind about that eventually.)

As it turned out I stayed in that fog for the whole year. I felt worse than I felt after the wreck in some ways. Often I just could not get up in the morning. Sometimes I slept as much as 18 hours a day. Obviously, work wasn't going that well since I was barely able to work. I mostly tried to eat, sleep, work as much as my condition would allow and go to as many meetings as I was able. Grief at losing Ron receded into the background somewhat - partly due to time passing, partly due to the grief work I was doing, partly to the amount of effort it took to get through a day, and partly due to Cymbalta (the anti-depressant I was on).

I began going to counseling again in January of last year. In the beginning, counseling consisted of trying to find ways to write (which is what I want to do). Pretty soon we gave up working on that since I was clearly not able to to add anything to my life in the condition I was in. We just talked about how to handle the exhaustion, etc.

Sometime in the summer I was able to go back to getting some body work that has helped with my PTSD in the past and was immediately a lot better. We thought (the doctor and I) that my leg was healing so I went from the walker to a cane and then to walking on my own. Almost immediately I had severe pain in my leg and a ct scan showed that the bone was not actually healed. Sooo - back to the hospital for another bone graft surgery in September.

In June my boss told me they were putting me on part time and changing my title from Vice President to Director - and, of course, changing my salary accordingly. I lost my private office too. I was actually fine with it since I had been thinking that I should probably request the same change. I felt stressed every day because of my inability to function. Unfortunately, I still felt stressed because I still wasn't able to handle even the part time schedule. In August the Association's national office decided to have an event in Oklahoma and I was not sure I could handle that and neither were they. While I was worrying about that, I found out that I was going to have to have yet another surgery. After talking to a couple of people in the program, I decided to tell my boss that I thought they should hire someone to do my job and just contract with me for some of the loose ends I needed to take care of. As soon as I made that decision, I felt a whole lot better. We agreed to work out a contract which I'm now working under. It doesn't require much of me and doesn't pay much either but I feel sooo much less stress.

One of my friends asked me if I was going to be able to make it on what I have coming in which includes Social Security. My answer was that I have no idea. What I hope is that as I feel better I may be able to work more doing something else. Right now shelving books in the library sounds lovely, peaceful and calm.

When I thought my leg was healing, and that I was going to be walking within the year, my oldest daughter, Liz, and I booked a cruise to celebrate. Of course, it turned out I had surgery instead of walking, but we went on the cruise anyway - six weeks from the surgery. It was a lovely week. There's really nothing to do on a cruise except eat, rest and have fun. We did all that and we both felt very renewed when we came back. My theory is that everyone should take one week a month and go on a cruise. We would function ever so much better when we get back.

When I wasn't on the cruise, I was setting up my new business called, "Empowerment Services." I'm not that fond of the word "empowerment." But I couldn't find a synonym that described what I want to do. I want to help various groups of people with information and support to function better in their lives. It's all stuff I really love to do and stuff that's needed. I have learned that what's needed isn't always what's wanted so it remains to be seen whether this stuff works out.

I still have some more to do to get Empowerment Services operational. But I'm close. At my last visit to the doctor, we talked about what's next with my leg. It appears that nothing is really happening in the healing. So, I probably have another bone graft surgery in my immediate future.

Well, 2007. You haven't been that bad a year, all-in-all. I've been a lot more disabled than I had hoped but still have been able to do many things I wanted to do - the cruise being a prime example. My family, my program, my friends in recovery, and my Higher Power continue to sustain me. I am so grateful for the love of God and my friends and family. I have four marvelous grandchildren and have been able to spend more time with them this year. I know everyone thinks their grandchildren are special, but mine actually are incredible. Anyone would say so. So, of course, are my children or they wouldn't have their fabulous kids. I'm looking forward to 2008, having learned a lot about how to manage myself in my situation - what's important and what's not. Welcome 2008!

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