Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Time to pack up the sharks and shame the CPM

Wow! Summer is coming to an end and I have no idea where it went...well, actually, I kinda do know where it went. Approximately 252 hours of my summer were spent on the damn CPM (Constant Pain Maker) - the knee bending machine. I'm sure you are all dying with anticipation...can her knee finally bend? Did her perseverance and "never say die" attitude pay off? Did she avoid the scar-cutting, knee bending surgery? The answer is.... no. It's definitely not the fairy tale ending I was hoping for. You know the motivational saying, "You can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it"? Someone needs to add the clause, "...unless you have a shitload of scar tissue in your joint capsule."

Despite my best efforts, the knee's progress is too little, too late. It's now bending to about 85 degrees, which is progress; however, it's not quite enough to be functional (The average person's knee flexion is about 135 degrees). The Penn Med protocol states that at 12 weeks post surgery I should be able to touch my knee to my ear whilst funnelling a beer and one legged squatting on a surfboard. Not there yet. I continue to get stuck trying to get out of the bathtub and hot tub, as well as struggle to climb stairs. The knee is very stiff and painful. My surgery team in Philly suggested that it was time to come in for a scope in order to remove scar tissue and manually bend my knee under anesthetic. The surgery was booked for August 7. About 10 days before the surgery, I contacted the surgery team and requested that the surgery be postponed. I explained that I am in no place, physically or mentally, to endure another surgery and recovery. It's been a hot second since surgery #9, I'm underweight (but gaining!), still requiring a high dose of pain medications, and feeling pretty defeated at the moment. My surgery team listened intently and supported my decision, stating that I basically have until October to fix the flexion under the knife. Fine. That's a "future me" problem...I guess. Until recently, I continued to hold out hope that I could achieve flexion on my own. I've finally come to terms with the fact that I cannot fix this problem and that another surgery is inevitable. A part of me feels like I am accepting defeat. My rational side says that this is not my fault. I tried my best. My very #$%#ing best! Aside: I spent $1500 renting this damn CPM machine. I want my money back! I wish I could throw this damn machine in the lake. Note how I cannot reference the CPM without preceding it with "damn." haha.

CPM shaming
We head back to the island on Saturday and I'm back at work, full-time, next Wednesday. I had envisioned my return to work to be much different than the reality that I'm now facing. I will be heading back to work on crutches and an unbendy knee. Not ideal. It's incredibly disappointing and daunting. I'm struggling to wrap my head around how I will do this. My contract is up for renewal this year, and although I've never felt direct pressure from my employer, I feel an obligation to get back to work in order to ensure that I am renewed. I love where we live, enjoy my job and the people, and do not want to jeopardize that. Plus my job comes with the amazing health care that is covering my surgeries. I'm in a tough spot. The last year of work has been a battle - struggling to get through the work days in intense pain. My goal is to one day return to work and thrive, with my only focus on providing awesome speech therapy, as opposed to strategizing how I'm going to drive, carry materials, sit and get off of little people chairs, and walk students to and from their classroom.

This is a tough week. This is the week that I say goodbye to all my family and friends in Canada. I know that the next time we return, things will have changed. A few of my favourite people in the world are facing tough challenges right now. I wish that I could be here to support those special people in person. It's difficult saying goodbye, knowing that the next conversation will be over text, email, or Skype. I'm not a touchy feely huggy person, and I'm feeling especially flat this year (I blame the pills), so as I'm saying goodbye this week, I'm not crying or feeling particularly emotional. But I have something important to say to my family and friends, and even though I am struggling to express this verbally, I am able to put this in writing. Family and friends: YOU ARE THE BEST. You are the reason that I made it through the last 3 months. Despite the fact that I have been agitated, sad, and irrational, you did not give up on me. You came to see me, you brought me treats, you took me on the boat, you towed me on my paddle board (Kayla!), you made me laugh, and you made me feel loved. You never made me feel like I was a burden. You always encouraged, supported, and lamented with me when I needed it. I'm not sure how I would have survived the past few months if I hadn't been here, at Candle Lake, so close to the people who love me unconditionally. I am incredibly grateful for that. I won't give up. I keep going because my people need me to keep going. I love you guys. I apologize for every shitty thing that I said or did whilst angry and medicated! Thank you for sticking with me. You have no idea how much I will miss you. Soon come.

On a brighter note, the pets have received their import permits, clearance to re-enter the Cayman Islands, in record time this year! After 3 years, blood, sweat, and tears, I think that I may have finally resolved how to successfully import an animal to the Cayman Islands. To celebrate, Dundee insisted on donning his scary shark outfit. He can't wait to wear it on Seven Mile and scare the crap out of unsuspecting tourists. Who are we kidding? He can't wait to don his scary shark suit to Macabuca and pick up bikini-clad babes.

The perfect outfit for intense tropical heat!

Adios Amigos! See you in paradise.

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