It’s finally here, the day I’ve been waiting for now for over six years. Liberation day. As of tomorrow, my almost 6.5 year-old daughter will be in a most-day camp for the rest of the summer, and then as of August, she will be entering first grade. So essentially starting now, my life begins to resemble some sense of normalcy for the first time since before I became pregnant. It comes with continued sacrifices and pain, but it is so refreshing I can’t even begin to express the emotion I’m feeling.
I’m about to embark on my first overseas trip in five years. The flight alone would’ve killed me one year ago – the pain of sitting being so intense. So it’s a good time to reflect where the past five years of pain have taken me.
This video clip came into my inbox this morning of Phyllis Greene, who started blogging from bed rest, like me, but who is in hospice. She’s 90 (as her blog, appropriately, is called wedeb90). It’s inspiring to see that. I have a 99 year-old friend who’s on Facebook. She too inspires me. She’s not moving around as much as she used to, but the bottom line is that new media can enable us to reach out and be active in communities in ways that we never could before, providing opportunities to feel much less isolated and alone. We’re lucky to be living in the new media age to have these opportunities.
Soon I’ll be on the longest flight I’ve taken since I was pregnant and this pain journey began. I’m taking all of my pain medications along, and I have all of my other pain management tools that I’ll bring also. Let’s hope I don’t go over the weight limit. Wish me luck!
Giving birth to my daughter I thought would save me from a really hellish, long, exhausting, painful and really annoying pregnancy. After spending the majority of the 9 months on bed rest, I was excited to regain my life again. Little did I know that over four years later, I’d still be in pain. Still, although it’s been a long, arduous journey, I’m beginning to feel like I’m emerging from the fog. The pain and the constant need to put my daughter first took me on a journey away from myself and into a coping pattern that I feel is beginning to break.
I have a dream… an Olympic dream. Mine isn’t quite like others. I just want to be there to observe and to write about my experience. I just want to breathe the crisp winter air and see magic transpire on the ice and snow, hoping for a day when I can compete again.
I first laced up ice skates at age five, and my parents tell me that the look on my face told them I was hooked. I never had Olympic aspirations – I knew I didn’t have that kind of talent – but I also never lost my love for skating. I kept at it, even after college, and I’m proud to say I’m a national adult figure skating medalist. Not at the highest level, but that doesn’t matter.
It’s all about toast. I really love toast. In college, my cinnamon & sugar toast became so famous that I actually was teaching friends of friends how to make it just right. (That was about the extent of my cooking skills anyway.) Toast has also become a theme in my management of pain the past four years because it’s an easy way to explain the good days vs. the bad. On the good days, I can stay standing next to the toaster, doing other things in the kitchen while my bread toasts. On the bad days, the pain is so severe that it hurts too much to even stay standing long enough to toast the bread. That’s about 4-5 minutes.
This pain began with early bed rest in my first – and only – pregnancy. I started bleeding a few days into the pregnancy and was having a lot of abdominal pain. The doctor advised me to take it easy and my husband had to keep reminding me that in 80% of cases, early bleeding was not an indicator of miscarriage. So I rested. Over the next few weeks, the embryo developed just fine and we could see the little pulsating blob on the ultrasound, which we named Dot. Still, the first trimester kicked my a** and I was exhausted all the time, I couldn’t focus well, and I was in a lot of pain as the ligaments stretched (and it’s possible the stretching of my nerves in the pelvic area began here as well.)