It’s a cliché! Life is full of surprises. We all know that and we probably all like to think we are prepared for them. Sometimes though they come when we least expect it and they are not always good.
This week has been a really tough week. I was happily thinking I had 3 weeks up my sleeves before my major surgery on the 23rd Feb. Time to rest and get as much strength as possible. Time to clean ( I always go through a crazy nesting type process every time I have surgery coming up. It’s as if I will never be able to clean again and everything must be perfect and in order.) Anyway, I digress…so I was looking forward to the next 3 weeks and it was all nicely laid out.
Hmmm…. always expect the unexpected really has been my life motto, especially since my body started failing me. That motto should have been front and centre in my mind as I woke up on Monday morning unable to weight bear at all on my good leg. That leg has been my friend over the past 15 months. I’ve been counting on it to behave so you can imagine how unnerving it was when I had severe pain in the mid shaft femur in my good leg, very similar to how my bad leg behaved before it snapped in two.
I began the reasoning process. “May be the leg was just tired. Maybe I had done something I shouldn’t. I’m sure with some pain killers it will be better tomorrow!’
I woke up Tuesday morning to more pain in that leg and couldn’t get down the stairs without it feeling like a knife was slicing it in two. So began a week of surprises 😦
Peter and I sat in the lounge room having a cuppa contemplating what should we do. We decided to put a call into my Surgeon and let him make the decision. He wouldn’t be happy with me if I didn’t tell him before my upcoming surgery if I was having a change of symptoms as he has been worried about what my bone disease was doing. So I made the call and his secretary ( who is lovely I might add and also his wife) assured me that I had done the right thing to call and she would talk to my Surgeon as soon as he finished with his patient.
We were relieved. We just had to wait for that call back. That came so quickly and so did our first surprise. My Surgeon didn’t want to take any chances, he was admitting me to hospital that afternoon for review. Wasn’t expecting that! Was expecting to be sent for an xray or a bone scan at the most.
Once in the hospital I found out my Endocrinologist had been conferenced in and her team were there to greet me once I was on the ward. The concern was that I had a stress fracture in my good leg ( or it was a good leg). My blood pressure was through the roof because of my pain levels so first priority was getting the right pain relief. The next morning I spent 3 hours in the xray department having an MRI and numerous xrays. I was also being prepped for surgery as my Surgeon was convinced I had a stress fracture and he was going to put a pole in the good leg. Aaagh… next surprise.
Just before lunch my Surgeons Registrar came up to see me to say that the MRI was all clear. They couldn’t find a stress fracture, no surgery required just pain management. I was going to be kept in a little longer to get the pain under control. They thought it was probably neural compression from the demands being placed on my lower back etc due to the left broken femur. That made sense, I was relieved and happy to accept that diagnosis.
During that night, I tossed and turned in the uncomfortable hospital bed, as you do, waiting for the next nurse to come in and take my blood pressure. As I lay awake I was thinking through the events of the past 2 days and my pain levels and how they compared to the pain in my broken leg and I had an overwhelming sense that something wasn’t right. They had missed something. I know my Surgeon is thorough and I knew if there was something they had missed he would march into my room the next morning and tell me.
Next surprise!! My Surgeon did march into my room the next morning with a very sombre look on his face. The poor guy had been in theatre until late the night before so I knew that had something to do with his demeanour but he is not a man to mess around. Straight to the point he says ” No fracture but the MRI is not clear as we first thought. It actually shows that you have bone marrow inflammation in the good leg. You are in danger of it fracturing.” My heart sank but I also felt relieved to know that my concerns were validated and my medical team were on the ball and we now knew what we were dealing with. My bone disease is active, possibly rampant.
I was allowed home with strict instructions to remain “wrapped in cotton wool”. No slipping, tripping etc. My bones are too vulnerable. I don’t often cry, I’m fairly resolved that my life is going to be one of surprises and challenges but it is a horrible feeling to think that your bones are so diseased, nothing can be done except surgery when things break, surprises will always be imminent. We still don’t even have a name for this bone disease. Still the closest they can come to is a rare bone disease called Osteopetrosis (opposite to Osteoporosis) but it seems my version is even rarer than that.
I sat on the hospital bed and a lovely nurse came in. We looked at each other and smiled. She said, “You’re not ok are you?” I really couldn’t answer her, the tears had begun to flow and we just sat there in silence. She understood.
I’m home now, waiting for my major surgery in 2 weeks time. Hoping not to have any surprises before then! I’m wrapped in cotton wool and being really good. I really don’t have a choice and I am scared that I’ll end up with 2 broken legs that won’t heal. Fear though is crippling and I don’t need to be afraid. I might be crippled physically but spiritually and mentally I have a choice to not let fear rule me but to replace it with trust and love. I trust that Gods hand is on my life, leading me and protecting me and there are so many moments over the past few days when I know that is so true and I am being well looked after. I trust my medical team. They care more for me than I could ever have expected. My Surgeon has even given me his private number to call next week if I need him as he will be on holidays.
Love, well that surrounds me. My husbands love and care and support lift me up and provide me with the comfort and security I so need. Friends and family are encouraging but mostly I love life! That is why I get up every morning and despite the obstacles find something within the day to enjoy. Something to laugh at, something even to cry about. Just to feel, just to breathe is such a gift and it is all of these things combined that make me feel that I can cope with what lies ahead and be at peace with the fact that “Life is full of surprises”