It’s Actually Happening

A few days passed and I hadn’t heard anything back about Florida. Was it all just a beautiful dream?

But I am strangely calm about it all. If there is one thing this whole journey has taught me is to trust that it will all work out. What ever will be, will be. If it is supposed to happen it will evenuate. If not then it wasn’t supposed to happen.

But then the call came.

“Hi Miranda, it’s Mark. I’ve booked your flights, you leave Wednesday week. I’ll send through the confirmation details and I’ll see you there.”

I hung up the phone and turned to Mum and grinned.

We both laughed and squealed. I’m going to Florida!

What a crazy adventure this cyborg life is.

“Who knows were this leg is going to take you,” Dad remarked later that night.

Cyborg life is exciting like that.

 

Can You Believe It’s Been Nine Months?

“You’re femur looks longer,” Dr Al Muderis remarks as he peers at the x-ray.

“It looks like it has moved.”

I’m confused and slightly concerned.

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“What do you mean? Is that possible?” I ask puzzled.

Bones don’t just move do they? Surely I would have felt that?

“I’m not sure. Maybe it’s just been a while since I’ve seen your x-rays,” he responds.

“There’s some very good bone growth from the weight baring.”

He smiles.

“I’m very happy.”

Mum and I grin at each other. This is great news.

I can’t believe it’s been nine months since I had my first surgery. It feels surreal really. It feels simultaneously like it was only yesterday I was nervously being wheeled into that operating theatre and yet at the same time a life-time ago.

So much has happened between then and now. So much has changed. I was a different person back then. Mentally, physically, emotionally: the difference in the Miranda who first embarked on this cyborg journey and the Miranda that writes this today is remarkable. Looking back and reflecting it is mind-blowing.

And I have to say I love it. I quite like this new improved Miranda 2.0. I often find myself almost having to pinch myself that I could be this happy. That my leg could feel this good. It hasn’t been an easy journey and there is still much ahead of me, but boy am I glad that I stumbled upon that brochure almost a year ago.

A year ago I had no idea of this surgery. I had no comprehension of the dramatic turn my life was about to take. Thinking back on this makes me incredibly excited for the future as we really have no idea just what exciting adventures are in-store and on the horizon. Life can change in the blink of an eye.

“How’s your hip going?” Dr Al Muderis inquires.

I tell him there has been no dramas, no real pain.

“Good, we’ll leave it then. If you haven’t had any pain by now it looks like you could be set for life.”

I grin. This had been the biggest gamble about me having this surgery. It was the great unknown and from day one I had been warned ‘I would piston and I would have hip pain,’ but (touch wood) none of this has eventuated.

I do like to prove people wrong after all.

It’s kind amazing what the human body is capable of.

“So are you going to the conference in Florida?” He asks me.

A couple of weeks back when I had called Dr Al Muderis about a cyborg leg related matter he had raised the possibility of this trip.

The conversation had gone something like this:

“I would like you to go to an Amputee Conference to talk about your story and the surgery. Would you be interested?”

“Of course,” I had replied.

“Oh good. It’s in Florida at the end of the month.”

I think my heart had stopped beating for a second. I worried I had heard incorrectly but dared not clarify in case I had.

“Oh awesome, that sounds great,” I responded in what was probably the biggest understatement of the year.

Florida! I pinched myself to see if I was dreaming.

“Good. We’ll see if we can organise the funds and someone will call you in the next couple of days.”

But then a couple of weeks had passed and I hadn’t heard anything so I thought perhaps it was something that wasn’t meant to be this time around.

But here it is raised again. I dared not hope.

I told him I hadn’t heard anything from Mark, who works for Orthodynamics which is the company that manufactures the implant in my femur.

He pulled out his phone and immediately dialed the number.

“Mark its Munjed. Miranda wants to go to Florida. Yes she’s here, I’ll pop her on and you can organise it.”

My heart quickened like a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

He explained that since Osseointegration hasn’t been FDA approved and is still in clinical trials in the US that we weren’t allowed to openly promote the surgery at the conference. The keynote speaker is a surgeon who is wanting to launch the surgery over there and wasn’t too keen on Dr Al Muderis speaking or presenting any competition.

So we had to be a little sneaky in our approach. We would go over under the banner of of Mitch’s gym, Good Vibe Fitness. We would focus on the importance of fitness and keeping active for amputees. And it would just so happen that Mitch, myself and Fred (who had recently come over from the US for the surgery and had been training with Mitch) would all have had osseointegration and we could share our personal stories, our experiences and our triumphs and successes.

He said he hadn’t contacted me as he wasn’t sure where I would fit in the with the fitness aspect.

I laughed a little. Fitness, me? Well it’s pretty much my life. I explained that I train at the gym three hours a day, have rock-climbed, done my first 5km fun run/walk and was just about to start my Cert 3 in Fitness.

“In that case I’ll look into some flights today,” he said

And that was it, I was in!

But until I saw the official confirmation I dared not yet believe it was actually happening.

I couldn’t be that lucky could I?image

In what now seemed like perfect timing I had arranged to meet Mitch at his gym that afternoon as he was hoping to take some photos and footage of me working out to show on a screen at the conference.

I excitedly told him I would be joining him in Florida and he grinned before handing me a Good Vibes shirt and putting me through my paces doing some strength and cardio exercises that showed off the leg’s capabilities.

Ah my second fitness shoot. Now I just need Woman’s Health to give me a call.

Since day one we had heard nothing but how amazing Mitch’s recovery and journey to walking had been. While we had been told not to compare ourselves we had constantly heard how Mitch pretty much just strapped the leg on and away he went. A few weeks later he threw the crutches away and that was it. During those rehab days oh how I envied him. Chris would constantly tell me not to compare, that everyone was different, my journey was my own. I knew he was right but at the some of the time I would find myself only half listening as my my inner negative voice chirped away telling me I wasn’t good enough, working hard enough or strong enough.

But talking to Mitch today he told me he wished he had stayed on the crutches for longer. He had thrown them away on a boys weekend to Melbourne but really should have used them for longer and he had noticed a difference in his walking.

imageThis was a surprise. That first day back at the clinic nearly a year ago when I had met him he had made walking seem so simple, so blasé and here he was telling me that it was important to take it slow and not rush things.

I had just days ago been again beating myself up for not being further progressed after seeing the videos of Fred walking. He was only 20 days with the leg and he was already walking to what I perceived to be better than me. I couldn’t help it but I cried when viewing the footage. I had felt so inadequate. Just the day before I had felt so elated with my progress and then like a ton of bricks slamming down I realised how far I still had to go and perhaps I wasn’t doing well enough. I worried I hadn’t achieved enough. This has been a common theme for me throughout my life, not feeling good enough. Not being ‘enough’. I have come a long way but there are still days when the doubts weight heavy.

“Everyone is different and how long they need the crutches for really well depend,” Mitch said sagely.

“It’s not a race. Or a competition.”

He is right. No one is scoring us. There is no medal for walking unaided first. They are happy with my progress and I’m making progress and getting stronger everyday. Already I am able to do so much more than I was six months ago and more than even before the surgery.

I need to focus on my achievements and what I can do rather than what I can’t do and what I still need to work on.

This is the key not just to cyborg life but happiness and life in general. Be grateful for what you have rather than sad about what you do not.

I had been emailing and keeping in touch with Fred throughout his whole journey and surgery process and was looking forward to finally being able to meet up with him in person.

Mum and I gatecrashed his physio session. It was strange, we had just met this guy and yet we were privy to what was something quite personal but it didn’t feel awkward, forced or unnatural at all. It almost seems like there is this unspoken bond, this understanding between us cyborgs. We are part of an elite group after all.

imageHe’s a pretty incredible guy. He started looking into the surgery a couple of years ago, organised an event for Dr Al Muderis to speak to amputees in the US and then came out for the surgery this year. He and his daughter have been living in Mosman for the three months he is over here and he travels across the city to train with Mitch and for physio via public transport in his wheelchair. Not an easy feat when you are in another country and recovering from surgery. He has lost about 20kg since training with Mitch and like me this surgery has completely changed his life. Like my journey it’s not just about the leg. The flow on effects this surgery can have is just incredible.

Nine months ago I was heading into surgery unsure how it would all turn out, now I have quit my job, have a whole new life purpose and am heading to Florida to talk to other amputees about it.

Who would have thought? If this can happen in just nine months, what does life have in store for me next?

I’m back!

Firstly let me apologize.

I should have written this earlier. Weeks, no months ago.

I am terribly sorry for the lack of posts of late.

I had so loved and enjoyed the process of blogging my way throughout this whole journey. I loved being able to look back on my posts as a record for myself and I loved being able to share my story and connect with others.

I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say

I found it a therapeutic way to sort through my emotions and feelings and would often surprise myself with what came out. I once read a quote ‘I don’t know what I think I read what I have written’ And I have to say I find this  quite accurate. Writing helps clarify my feelings and helps to sort through the tangle of thoughts, they are easier to deal with when they are nicely arranged and packaged into neat little sentences.

But like when I originally set out to start this blog life simply got in the way.

I was ejected from rehab and within a few days catapulted back into real life. It was an exciting time but also an incredibly busy and at times overwhelming time.

While rehab certainly hadn’t been an easy ride there was a certain sense of safely of being in there. Chris had told me before I left that often patients were nervous to leave the security and routine of the place. I did identify with this to a degree.

In a way I feel it was a similar feeling to when I was at university. I was working hard and doing my best to achieve my goal for the next stage of my life but at the same time real life hadn’t started yet. It was a safe bubble of time where the future glittered and shimmered with possibility just ahead of me.

And then the real world hits. My days had been so ordered and organized and then real life came along like a bounding slobbery dog and suddenly life was chaotic and not at all neat and orderly. It was an exciting time, don’t get me wrong but it certainly was an adjustment.

I missed Chris terribly. I missed being able to talk through anything and everything with him. He understood all the things that come with being a cyborg and had been such a huge part of my journey.

I missed his guidance with my walking and his constant support and encouragement. I missed his friendship and I even missed him telling me to ‘take it easy’.

I missed my daily gossip sessions and chats with Nicole.

And I missed being able to work on my physio exercises three times a day.

But the hardest thing was how tired I was all the time.

There were days where I would be so completely exhausted and drained staying awake was physically painful. Like Fifi Box remarked once, I was too tired to blink.  At times I didn’t even have the energy to talk.

I worried that I was a failure and not strong enough as the other cyborgs didn’t seem to be this low in energy and this utterly exhausted and drained by everyday life.

But in saying that I was working out for two hours at the gym as well as an hour of physio each morning on top of working full time in a stressful job with constant deadlines. And then there was all the socializing to catch-up on. Five months away from my friends, there was a lot of ground to cover.

And I discovered I was low in iron so the tiredness wasn’t entirely cyborg leg related.

But between the exercise, work and socializing and heavy weight of exhaustion there wasn’t much time nor energy left over for writing and blogging.

I fell behind. And then I fell even more behind. And suddenly I was so far behind the enormity of the task of catching up on all the posts I had missed loomed so huge in front of me it was easier to hide in the corner.

I still had been writing notes and bits and pieces but no proper fully formed posts. Just skeletons really.

And the more the days went by the more and more daunting the task seemed. I felt paralyzed whenever my fingers touched the keyboard.

But the guilt of not writing weighed heavy around my neck and followed behind me like a dark shadow as each night I hoped into bed without updating my blog.

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My perfectionist nature kicked in and I was afraid of my blog not living up to the expectation I had established in my mind and I simply couldn’t start to write again.

The guilt and pressure was too much. I felt like I was being squashed under it, like an obese elephant had taken up residence on my shoulders.

So consumed with guilt and worried that I had failed, really I was just sabotaging myself in not writing.

The longer it went the worse I felt about myself and the more people asked about my blog the guiltier I became.

But it’s time to just bite the bullet and launch back into it.

So many incredible things have happened throughout the past four months, I can barely believe it.

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I have been filmed for a story on Totally Wild, appeared in the Fernwood magazine, had the weekend cover story in the Sunshine Coast Daily, and been contacted by Lorna Jane to share my story.

It’s also been a huge time of transition for me, from rehab to real life, back into work and the gym and sharing my story with my co-workers and gym friends. Most have been incredibly supportive. Some haven’t. One particular girl who I considered one of my best friends was particularly nasty, constantly making snide comments to my face and then viciously talking about me behind my back. The fallout was very unpleasant and incredibly upsetting. Seems not everyone likes a cyborg.

But I have also been blessed with new friends who rather than tear me down like she did, they constantly lift me up and support me.

5Km Walk

On the leg front, I could not be happier. I have already ticked off two of my cyborg goals, I have returned to the gym in almost full capacity and more and I completed my first 5km fun run/walk three months ahead of schedule.

 

I have trained with Commando from Biggest Loser and made Michelle Bridges cry when I met her and told her my story.

I sometimes have to pinch myself at just how incredible this leg has made my life. Gone are the days of constant pain and rubbing and bulky sockets. While there have been painful days and moments it is not like before. My leg gets sore but it’s more like a muscular sore just like when you have completed a tough gym session.

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I am loving being able to wear exercise tights and any type of pants I want.

I love being fit and mobile and more active than I had ever imagined.

I thought I was happy before. I think I even wrote earlier in the blog just before I left for the surgery that my life was pretty much perfect.

But I have never been happy like this before. I feel like I have become the person I was supposed to be. I feel like my life makes sense and I am on my true path.

Physically, mentally and emotionally I have changed and for the first time in my life I truly like myself and accept myself.

After years of hiding my disability I want to embrace it and celebrate what my leg or lack thereof, is able to do.

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And so the life changes keep coming. Returning to work I realized that this job in the media, this world of gossip and entertainment reporting no longer was my passion, it was no longer the right fit for me.

I want to help people in a more tangible way. I want to inspire people, help them to find their true selves and live their best lives. Like how Chris helped me.

And so I have quit my job and decided to return to uni and become a physio as well as get my Cert 3 in Fitness as health and fitness as become a huge part of my life and one of my greatest passions.

A pretty dramatic career change right? It’s not going to be easy but it sure will be worth it. And since when have I ever shied away from hard work?

My last day is tomorrow and then my next adventure starts. It will be sad to close this chapter of my life and if nine months ago someone had said to me I would do this I would have laughed in their face and told them they were crazy. But it feels right and exciting.

Oh and I’m off to Florida next week to attend the USA Amputee Coalition Conference in Orlando along with Mitch, Fred and Mark from Orthodynamics.

But more on that shortly.

Cyborg life sure is exciting!

So the plan is this, I will continue to blog this crazy adventure each day but I will also work on catching up on the posts I have missed as there is still a lot to fill you in on. So don’t feel too cheated. I will flash back to these shortly. Better late than never right?

But for now I will keep on top of everything that is currently happening and get back to updating regularly. Please forgive me for the delay.

Sincerely,

The Girl With The Cyborg Leg

Apologies

I really must apologise. Things have been quiet on the blog front of late, so much so you would be forgiven for thinking The Girl With The Cyborg Leg had gone awol.

Perhaps you thought she had been crippled by the mysterious pain that ailed her when last we spoke. Or if she had been locked up in the mental health ward after getting hooked on pain meds and falling down the slippery slope of drug addiction.

I can assure you that neither is true.

It has just been a very hectic, challenging but ultimately exciting time for this beginner cyborg. The past two months have included a bust out of rehab, graduation from cyborg walking school, a tearful farewell, an embracing of self and cyborg status, more lessons learnt and a return to the real world as Miranda 2.0. Then came some completing of cyborg goals, falling out with a friend who couldn’t accept the cyborg that returned and a call from Totally Wild interested in featuring this cyborg in an upcoming episode.

It’s been a triumphant time, a time of great excitement and hope for the future. It’s also been an incredibly tough and challenging time adjusting to life on the outside.

But still I do have to apologize for the lack of posts of late.

Fear not, every feeling, thought and event has have been noted and the bones are there, they just need to be fattened up before public consumption.

You will be able to catch up on all the adventures, lessons and happenings very soon, cyborg promise.

Just like this learning to walk business, it will be worth the wait.

Finally Some Answers

Despite the horrendous night of pain I have just experienced and my nerves about what it all means, I feel strangely calm about it all. I feel a peace descend upon me in the shower and I feel calm and relaxed in the face of it all.

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I am confident that whatever is meant to be will be and I am strong enough to tackle whatever that is.

Mum couldn’t wait to hear the verdict and has called Dr Al Muderis herself. He tells her the x-ray hadn’t been sent through but he is not too concerned about it all. He will send Belinda, his assistant out this morning to check everything and have a chat with me.

I reunite with my leg and nervously stand. There is a jolt of pain with that first step and I wince. Just breathe Miranda, breathe.

I head down to the gym and every step is a battle. It is not excoriating but it is not pleasant.

I have to stop in the hallway to lean against the wall and breathe through the pain.

Right, smile on, let’s get into the gym and do this walking business.

I manage a few laps before Chris arrives.

He tells me to take a seat.

“I have only been walking a few minutes,” I protest.

He gestures to the seat again. There is no smile.

This is not good.

He sits next to me and I brace myself for whatever is coming.

Forced to be apart again

Forced to be apart again

“You are not going to like this but I need you to take the leg off.”

I begin to protest again but he interrupts.

“I know you don’t want to, I don’t want it for you but professionally I can’t let you wear it. I can’t let you be in as much pain as you were last night. That’s not good for you. And I know you will struggle through and tell me you are fine but I don’t want you to be in pain.

“I don’t want to be, but I have to be tough. Stefan is coming to today and I want you to be able to walk for him. I don’t want you to be in too much pain by then.”

It’s the last thing I want to hear and I am frustrated to feel like I am again taking a step back but I understand. He is just looking out for me.

There is a part of me that is almost relieved to take the leg off and not have to struggle through anymore steps. The minute I unscrew it, I can feel the pressure release and my pain lesson.

Looks like it’s back to weights and core work for a while.

There is an old guy to my right who every few minutes mutters to me; “you have one leg,” like it might have slipped my attention. Like I have simply forgotten to put my pants on. He keeps remarking to the physio, “but she has one leg!”

I’m not sure what he would like done about it.

The rest of the oldies in the gym pepper me with questions about why I am not wearing the leg and I need a breather. Just for a minute.

Despite my resolve to be calm, take it as it comes and knowledge it will all work out in the end, I can’t help it. I allow myself a few tears in the bathroom accompanied by some deep breaths. I think it’s the uncertainly of what is going on and partly due to the constellation of pain throbbing in my leg.

I fix my mascara; readjust my smile and head back to the gym.

Despite my best efforts somehow Chris seems to know exactly what I have just been doing and gives me a comfortingly pat on the arm.

Nothing gets past him.

Belinda stops by to deliver the verdict I have been waiting for.

“The x-ray is fine,” she says.

Oh sweet relief.

She shows me the text from Dr Al Muderis who has said the implant looks fine and it is not possible for it to have moved. He is upset the other doctor even put it into my head that something would be wrong with the implant.

Excellent.

We discuss my pain and she doesn’t seem concerned that the pain in the hip has anything to do with my lack of a hip joint nor does it indicate a hip replacement is on the cards.

She mentions that it is quite normal to be in pain in the hip and they always thought this would be the case for me.

The other pain I describe she seems more puzzled by. She mentions it sounds like nerve pain which is unusual.

Dr Paul Whiting, the anesthetist will come by tomorrow to prescribe some more drugs in order to get this pain under control. Time to bring in the big drug guns. I might just leave this rehab only to need to go to another rehab to get off the drugs. Now that’s a little awkward.

While she is keen for me to go home as soon as possible in order to do so I need to eliminate this pain.

At lunch Dan suggests heading over to Norwest Hospital to show off our new legs to the nurses who looked after us there. I am keen to see Nicky and the gang and show off my new toy.

The only problem is Chris has confiscated my leg.

I think I know the answer to my question before I even ask but I ask it all the same.

“Do you think I could possibly wear the leg if I only put it on when I got there and only did one lap?”

He tells me to take a seat.

Only bad news is delivered from a seat.

He looks conflicted.

“I know how much you want to do this and I want it for you,” he begins.

“But I really don’t like the idea of you wearing it for the first time in four days out unsupervised.”

My heart sinks.

“Plus who are you kidding, one lap!” He laughs.

“You won’t just do one lap.”

He is right.

“Look I can’t stop you but I really don’t want you to wear it,” he says.

“Please don’t hate me.”

How could I hate him? And while I don’t want it to be this way, he is right. I’ll behave. It was unfair of me to put him in this position in the first place.

I shouldn’t have worried.

The nurses were excited just to see us up and about, beaming and full of joy.

They don’t seem surprised at all that my leg would have been confiscated.

“Have you been going too hard,” they chide me.

“You need to slow down,” they say with a laugh.

future

I show them the videos of my walking and they exclaim with excitement and I can feel my grin widen. It feels good to be excited about walking, about my progress and my future again. It is infectious and I leave on a high akin to the one I felt earlier during my boxing session with Chris.

I even score a few free magazines from Dr Al Muderis’ rooms at the hospital while I am there.

Boxing, free magazines and a rekindled excitement, despite the turmoil of the morning and the pain situation, it has been a good day. There is always plenty to be grateful about it would seem.

I am allowed to be reunited with my leg just before Stefan arrives and surprisingly it doesn’t feel too bad. Nothing like this morning.

Things are looking up.

I chat with Stefan about the pain and he is perplexed. He brainstorms a few possibilities with Chris. Squashed nerves, torn tendons, bone pressure, it is all thrown into the mix. I try to follow but it is all a bit above my head. The end result is the pain is for now a mystery. Like fog clearing, hopefully more will become clear in the following days.

Again it is a waiting game.

Ah patience, you and I are getting to know each other quite well.

happen

Tomorrow, the leg and I can get back to proper walking school. Chris warns we’ll have to talk it easy and slower than last week but we are getting back on track. And despite having not walked in a few days he mentions it has improved since he saw me walk on Friday.

Success!

As for my discharge and return home, well that depends on how this pain situation plays out.

He explains it needs to be under control before they let me leave especially since I will be moving interstate and living by myself.

Again I feel strangely calm in face of this uncertainty.

The only thing that concerns me is the unknown reason for this pain. If it was a fracture or a torn tendon or something definite then I could face it head on and deal with it. But the not knowing, that is the worst.

I just have to trust the process.

Tomorrow is a new day after all. And cyborg walking school is back in session. My suspension is over.

If I Was To Be Trampled By A Horse…

I’m not sure it would hurt anymore than the pain I cam currently in.

After seeing Django Unchained I told Chris I might need to adjust my pain scale. If 10 is being trampled by a horse or knee-capped or stabbed than surely any sort of pain I am feeling pales in comparison.

Tonight I am not so sure.

I feel like my hip has been kicked by a fiery horse rebelling against its rider. It burns and throbs and aches, pulsating in pain in time with my heartbeat.

The rest of my leg has been set on fire and fused with an electrical current, which sparks and crackles and snaps.

The pain is taking up all space in my mind.  There is no room for another thought. I am possessed by an unrelenting demon. The demon laughs in the face of the painkiller I throw at it in order to pacify it. Oh how I long for the days of ketamine. It may have made me send loved up messages and buy random purchases online but boy did it slay pain.

brave

Since I have barely worn the leg for four days and have done nothing to aggravate nor put any strain on my hip, this is what concerns me most. If the pain was from doing too much, this I could handle. This would make sense.

But this pain makes no sense. Like trying to make sense of a puzzle with missing pieces, I don’t know what it means and it doesn’t logically add up.

I take an endone and get a couple of hours of respite but then the demon starts up again. I wake with a jolt of pain. My leg feels like it is being wrung out like wet washing by an angry gorilla and my hip feels like it has been kicked by a an elephant.

I can feel the tears threatening to rise and spill forth and I can do little to hold them back. Like the drug addict I feared I would become I desperately call out to the nurses and beg them for more drugs.  Stronger drugs.

At first they say no but I plead and wail and they relent.

I gobble those pain killers like candy.

I laugh to myself about what the nurses must think about my descriptions of the pain. A kick from a horse, cattle prod with jolts of electricity, a gorilla wringing my leg out like washing and a sumo wrestler sitting and squashing me; I’m not sure the other patients talk of their pain quite like this.

Dear hip and leg, please play nice. Enough with this pain nonsense.

Just A Girl Waiting For A Boy To Call

Essentially I am just a girl waiting for a boy to call. Except this boy is a surgeon and rather than a chance at a second date I am awaiting my walking fate.

This morning Dr Webber tells me he has spoken to Dr Nario and he is not too concerned about the gap between the bone and my implant  but we still need to wait for Dr Al Muderis to decide what it all means and if it is ok.

Until then it means no leg.

I feel like I am wasting yet another day. It has now been four days without the leg. I am frustrated. I have limited time here and I don’t want to be wasting a second of it.

Chris reassures me I am not wasting time nor have the days been wasted.

“You needed the rest,” he tells me consolingly.

“If you weren’t here what would you have done? You would have worn the leg anyway and just put up with the pain and it would have made things worse. And then you might have caused a fracture.

“At least here we have been able to monitor it and limit the pain.”

journey

While it is a frustrating situation, he is right. And the silver lining is since I am going to be here longer than expected I can make these days up once I am allowed to reunite with my leg.  I just have to be patient. Patience again? Universe are you trying to tell me something? Clearly this is a key lesson for me to learn.

I anxiously peer at my phone every few minutes constantly checking the time zones in Chicago like it might have sneakily changed in the minutes between when I last looked.

I can’t handle the waiting. Isn’t the saying life doesn’t come to those who wait, but rather those that go out and get it? So I take matters into my own hands and call Dr Al Muderis myself.

It goes straight to voicemail.

Damn.

I resist the urge to go all stalker-girl and call again. At least not for now.

If he doesn’t call by lunchtime then it will be too late his time and I won’t hear anything until tomorrow morning.

I desperately want to be wearing the leg and doing some walking this afternoon but as the minutes trickle by and turn into hours it looks like there will be no walking today and the fate of my bone is still unknown.

All morning I swing between being incredibly frustrated and desperate to know what is going on, to feeling calm, at peace and accepting whatever will be will be.

A million possibilities of what might happen, what this pain could mean, what this x-ray says all dance before me but I can’t entertain them. Not yet, not till I know for sure. There is no point worrying about the unknown. Like Mum always says, “worry does not solve your tomorrow, it just takes away today’s strength.”

worry

There is nothing to do but just wait.

Between sessions Dan and I are outside having a chat about various leg related business and the different parts, knees and feet we are hoping to get once we master the standard model.

A lady pipes up in the background.

“Sorry to eavesdrop but you guys are just beautiful,” she says.

“The way you are talking you could be talking about cars or boats or anything.”

I smile.

“Yep we’re just having a discussion about accessories.”

Not many people can accessories their leg after all.

Back in the gym, I watch enviously as Dan walks up and down the parallel bars. Oh how I wish I could be doing the same.

My phone is still silent.

I can’t resist, I try Dr Al Muderis again.

Straight to voicemail.

Damn. I feel like a jilted lover. Please just answer the phone or call me back. Please.

To distract myself from the waiting I work my body as hard as I can with what I have. Weights, exercise bike, sit-ups anything to keep my body active and my mind busy. Plus it helps to distract me from the fire pit of pain burning in my hip.

As the afternoon draws to a close there is no call. It is now midnight in Chicago so there will be no word today.

Chris has spoke to Dr Webber and he comes over to deliver the verdict.

I can feel my heart pounding.

“Dr Webber said you can wear the leg tomorrow and we can do a light session.”

I grin. This is what I want to hear.

“But if the pain is too much you will have to take it off. You won’t like it but I will make you take it off. I have to be tough.”

I nod.

“And you have to be honest with me with how you are feeling and your pain level. I know you will say you’re fine and just grit your teeth and do it anyway but I will know. I can read you like a book and if I think you are in too much pain then we will stop.”

It’s not what I want to hear but I will be good. I can’t have my leg confiscated again.

He has his serious look on.

Uh oh.

“I am imagining tomorrow it will be quite painful. Considering the pain you have been having without the leg on, I know there will be pain. But we’ll just have to wait and see how much and how it goes and take it from there.”

Oh uncertainty you and I are becoming fast friends.

If I am in too much pain to walk what will this mean? Is that normal after this time? How will this affect my progress? Will I be able to leave? How much pain should I be putting up with?

While the thought of the potential pain walking tomorrow makes me uneasy it is the constant pain that has been my companion for the past few days that is concerning me. I haven’t worn the leg for four days, there has been no weight baring nor pressure on the muscles, so why is the pain still there? Last time when I overdid things and was forced to rest it felt infinitely better the next day. But this time the rest has done nothing. The pain has remained and if anything it has gotten worse.

After my session in the gym this afternoon, it is the worst it has been. I have done nothing to aggravate the hip nor the leg so there is no reason why it should be aching, throbbing and burning so much. After speaking to Ali and Dan who are not experiencing any pain I know this isn’t normal.

Chris admits he is worried and concerned too. But there is nothing we can do about it for the minute. It is a wait and see kind of game.

Despite him not wanting to, I convince him to let me do a trial couple of laps with the leg on. I just want to see if it is excruciatingly painful when I walk. If the hip feels as bad as it did on Saturday when I attempted to walk and just how much worse the pain is when I put weight through it.

I tentatively put it on and take a few steps. God it feels good to be reunited and upright again. Oh I have missed you little fella! Without the leg, crutching about I have felt unnatural and like I am missing something so it feels good to be whole again.

There is more pain than I have had previously walking but no shooting, stabbing or shocking pain that makes me wince each step. This is a good sign.

I do a couple of laps before Chris instructs me to head back to my room. That is all I am allowed for today.

It was only a small effort but I feel strangely triumphant. Sure it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable experience but it was nowhere near as painful as I had expected. Chris is also pleased and pleasantly surprised by this.

Tomorrow might not be so bad after all. Or at least while I am walking that is. I am still in substantial pain without the leg on so I’m not sure what this means. All along Dr Al Muderis warned me I would suffer hip pain. Perhaps that hip replacement might need to happen sooner than we expected. What that will means in terms of my recovery, in terms of work, in terms of the next few months I don’t know. Life is holding its cards close to its chest at the moment and not letting me have any sneak peeks.

A few frightening possibilities run through my mind but I dare not let them stick around and chat to me. There is no use worrying about anything until I know for sure what is going on. There are no prizes for the best worrier.

Mum calls to see what the update from the doctor is.

She sounds more frustrated than me by the lack of response.

“What is getting you through? Helping you be so calm and ok with everything, with the uncertainty,” she asks.

Her question catches me off guard.

But she is right, despite my frustration at the situation, at being forced to stay another week and take yet one more week off work, I am surprisingly calm in the face of uncertainly.

be open

Throughout this whole journey, with each set-back, delay or roadblock I have had to simply surrender and accept what will be will be. I can’t change the outcome; I just have to accept it. Breathe and know it will all be ok, it will all work out.

I also feel calm in my trust that everything happens for a reason. This has constantly been the case throughout this whole thing. Like I have said before, if that first delay hadn’t of happened then I wouldn’t have ended up in Norwest Hospital or here and I wouldn’t have met Chris. And if my rehab stay hadn’t of been delayed I wouldn’t have been in here with Ali and Dan. It has all worked out the way it was supposed to each time and I trust completely it will again this time. I may not know what the future holds and it might seem scary at the time but I have faith it is all happening exactly as it should be and to get me where I need to be. At the time I might not feel it is where I want to be but that is the thing about life, it’s not always about what you want but rather what you need.

Plus Plan A might not have worked out and if the new Plan B fails then well, the alphabet has 25 other letters. I just have to roll with the punches.

Mum raises the scary possibility of what it will mean if I need to have a hip replacement or if this pain is more sinister.

“You might have to quit your job. How would you feel about that?”

I gulp. Truth be told I am terrified to the core of this possibility. Of giving up the job I love, my friends, my whole life really.

work out

But if that is what life has planned for me I guess I will need to accept and be ok with that. At the very beginning when I was weighing up this surgery I was prepared to quit my job if I had to. This chance at a new life was too important and it still is. Jobs may come and go but this cyborg business, this is for life.  And despite the setbacks, roadblocks and uncertainties it is shaping up to be a pretty good one.

Caterpillars into butterflies,

Sand into pearls,

Coal into diamonds,

& with time and pressure,

You are being worked into something just as magnificent. – Lorna Jane