Monday, July 22, 2013

lesson learned.

Well friends, as promised, here is the post you have been waiting for: the one where I break it down (ha - pun not intended) for you as to how the heck I broke both wrists at the same time and the subsequent journey that followed said bone breakage. Actually, I'm sure no one is really waiting for this, but my cousin told me to blog like no one is reading, so I shall take her advice and tell my story anyway. And disclaimer: this is not the abridged version.

To steal a famous quote: "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." And that's actually how I feel as I look back on that uncomfortable season when I had to learn a lot of lessons...quite involuntarily, I might add.

It all started with a picture-perfect day at the lake. The sun was shining, the horses were racing (it was Derby Day after all), and I was getting was first taste of sweet summer. Ah summer, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...eesh, I digress. This does not bode well since the story just started.

Shortly after lunch, we apparently had quite a lot of energy to burn and decided to burn off that energy by demonstrating our acrobatic prowess. It started off pretty innocently with some handstands, cartwheels, and the like. We took it up a notch with running round-offs and before I knew it, decided to go for the back-handspring. Little did I know that a small, seemingly inconsequential decision like that would alter the course of my life for the next several months (and the look of my wrists for a lifetime).

As soon as my hands hit the ground, I heard something quite audible. Since I had never broken so much as a pinky toe before, I tried to convince myself that my wrists just popped and that the searing pain I was experiencing would subside if I just shook out my wrists. Yep, that's right - you heard me. I started shaking out my (broken!) wrists and was trying to move them all around. Ya know, just rub some dirt on them, right? Wrong. I didn't want to make a big deal of it and I definitely didn't want to admit that I thought something was wrong, so I just took a seat on the grass and kept reassuring everyone that I was fine.

Several hours later, it became increasingly clear (by the less than normal look of my left wrist) that I was not fine. My friends made the collective decision to take me to the ER and sweet Meagan promptly did research and we were on our way shortly thereafter. After reviewing the x-rays, the ER doc came in and delivered the news as such: "I hope you have a couple good friends because you broke both your wrists." Well...I had put on a strong face up until this point, but the news hit me like a tons of bricks and as the reality sank in, the tears started flowing. By the by, the nurse also attempted to haphazardly "reset" my wrists when she was wrapping them in splints which certainly did not help abate the tear flowage.

I will never forget calling my sister from the ER to tell her the news. Without even taking a breath, she immediately reassured me that she would take care of me and do anything/everything for me as long as I needed help. She was Christ to me in that moment and she probably didn't even realize it. I was overwhelmed, but that would only be the start.

Also as an aside, I could not have picked someone better than Meagan to have been with me through it all. She never complained once despite the hours we had to wait around in the ER, the fact that we had not eaten and it was past midnight, or the fact that we had to go to a pharmacy and wait for a prescription. She did everything possible to try to make me comfortable, had me sleep in her bed with her that night, and never made me fee like I was an inconvenience. "There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." On that note, Crystal fed me that night and even cut my pizza up in pieces for me and added extra sauce. I still remember her wiping my face with a napkin -- I was humbled.

Speaking of humility, I had to move in with my family the next day because I could not do ANYTHING. I could not use my hands/wrists at all. So let me break it down for you -- think of anything/everything you do with your hands and know that I could not do it. Holy cow. Talk about a loss of independence. I asked God why I couldn't have broken just one of my wrists to which He quickly replied, because you would have managed to maintain your independence and I'm trying to teach you dependence. Ahhhhh, I see...and I don't like....but more on that later.

I went to the Orthopedic Surgeon the next day and was told that I needed surgery on both wrists in order to put my arms back together via plates and screws. delightful. You mean I will now be a bionic woman? Is that what you're saying? He scheduled me for surgery the very next day as there was no point in dilly-dallying.

Surgery went well and there wasn't a ton of pain since they pump you with so many meds while you're in the hospital. Crystal came and sat with me for hours and Meagan came in time to feed me dinner. Again, just the first glimpses of Christ showing His love for me. I also received some lovely flowers so shout-out to my fousins, my Aunt Linda & Uncle Chris, and my work team for sending me some truly beautiful arrangements.

Recovery was (and still is) a s-l-o-w process with a capitol S. Nonetheless, the Lord blessed me with a family (my family, that is) nearby who quite literally jumped at the chance to take care of me in my disabled state. They got me my meals, catered to my every need, drove me everywhere (thanks, Dad), brushed/washed/braided my hair (Thanks, Mom, for holding up my huge noggin' every time so my neck wouldn't hurt), helped me get dressed, and even helped bathe me. My sister was very nearly in the shower with me (TMI?) at times and I will never, ever forget how tangible the hands and feet of Christ were to me in those moments. They gave and they gave and they gave without expecting anything in return. In fact, many times all they got was a surly and unappreciative patient...preferring to attend my own pity party instead of recognizing God's goodness in each of them.

But as many pity parties as there were throughout the 6+ weeks, there were also sweet moments where I opened my eyes long enough to recognize God's hand on me and His overwhelming love for me. Meagan organized a meal delivery "program" for me and I had so many people prepare and drop-off meals for me and my family. I also had visits to encourage me and got to enjoy so much time with my family (especially my sister) that I would have not been able to experience apart from a situation that forced me to live with them. I was able to work from home the entire time which was such a blessing and gift from God as I didn't have to take medical leave or disability.

God was also able to massively chip away at my pride (although there's still quite a bit more where that came from) by humbling me to the point where all I could do was accept the love and service of others without being able to offer them anything in return. It was one of the hardest things I have EVER had to do and yet one of the most beautiful. To that end, He showed me what complete dependence is by using a tangible physical example. I had to completely depend on others for pretty much everything and it was an incredibly tough lesson to learn. Through this, I was able to catch a glimpse of what total dependence on Him looks like.

As mentioned in a previous post, there was also a moment when I very clearly heard the Lord asking me if I would still praise Him. If my health, my independence, my comfort, my social life, etc. were all taken away, would I still find joy in His presence alone? (Psalm 16:11) It was a difficult question to answer truthfully (as if He doesn't already know my heart) because the truth was that I didn't always find myself praising Him in my present circumstance of injury/recovery. The Holy Spirit was able to help me regain perspective when I would lose it, but it was a time of testing, to be sure.

Nevertheless, I can honestly say with full confidence that while "His ways are not my ways" (Isaiah 55:8-9), I know without a doubt that this has been used for good (Romans 8:28). Not only did it provide refinement in my life and in the areas I struggle, but it also brought SO much more. It brought sweet time with my family that was restorative and healing to my soul. It allowed me to see the love of Christ poured out to me by family and friends who loved and served me by being the hands and feet of Christ. It has given me a story to share with others about how I learned humility, dependence, and surrender (nothing like breaking both wrists to rid you of all false sense of control). God has redeemed the pain and shown me that He has a plan and purpose for everything...even a really bad decision to do gymnastics WAY past your prime. He is good. He is faithful. And He makes all things new.

I am still in physical therapy as I lost all mobility in my wrists due to the surgery and the "hardware" that is now in there has made my wrists a bit less willing to become mobile once again. I have come a long way, but still have a ways to go. (For example, I still hold my fork like a neanderthal as I can't rotate my wrist the way it needs to go. Also, I am sadly unable to fully rotate my left arm whilst doing the Macarena. This is tragic, to be sure.) Nonetheless, the Lord even provided with my P.T. in giving me an awesome physical therapist and a really great work team that has been so understanding of my appointments three times a week.

Through it all, I keep thanking God that I still have my arms, wrists, and hands. Yes, they might hurt, but praise God they are still there! To that end, please do not mistake this post for me thinking this is the worst thing that could happen, as that is certainly not the intent. God has graciously spared me from things far worse. This is simply one of the hardest physical things I have been through in my life, but I am very well aware there are much greater crosses to bear, both physically and emotionally.

For funsies, here is the very graphic x-ray of one of my wrists. It gives you a nice close-up of just what exactly is going on in there. Check out those screws!

To sum it all up: God is good and I would not change the past 2.5 months. Would I like to do it again? No, not particularly, but I was given a gift in being able to experience His love and faithfulness in a way that would have only been possible through a situation like this.

Practical Lesson Learned: I am officially 30 and too old to do gymnastics. Duly noted.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LordFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
Romans 5:3-4

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

playing catch-up.

Well, there's nothing like two broken wrists to really get me behind on the 'ole blogging front. Suffice it to say, certain things had to take a backseat to recovery and this has definitely been one of them. But let's be honest, it's not like I have more than three readers or that I adhere to regularly scheduled posts. Disirregardless (to use one of my favorite non-words...that's for you, dad), I'll pretend like all my faithful readers are dying to catch up (via pictures, of course) on my life and will proceed to do just that, in a most expedient fashion, of course.

First up, there was a quick little February trip to one of my former haunts, the big apple. It was freezing, but tolerable, and I got to see a dear friend which is always a bonus (and we ate pizza - double bonus). Fun fact is that I rented a car and drove in (and quickly out of) the city--true story! It was touch and go, but I did it and lived to tell about it. Don't worry that it was also lightly snowing as well. Gosh, I am amazing - ha.

Next up, the pop's birthday. We kept it pretty low-key this year. I had the fam over, made dinner, and of course, had birthday cake because hey, what's a birthday without a cake? Not any birthday I want to be a part of, that's for sure. Happy birthday to my favorite dad!

Rolling right along with the agenda was a special date with my two best girls: Miss Haylee and Miss Meredith. They are the apple of my eye, the cheese to my macaroni, the coffee to my donut, the peanut butter to my jelly...this could go on forever. Anywho, they are the best and I love the stuffin' out of these two muffin cakes. We kicked it with some hot chocolate (coffee for me) and cinnamon rolls and then hit up the fountain/pond for some chillaxin'.
 was St. Patty's. No real explanation needed. There were 4-leaf clover glasses, green beads, trips to Whole Foods, and a cheesy team party at work. Basically, it's an excuse to wear green and have a good time -- mission accomplished.

After St. Patty's day weekend, Lauri Ann & Jon Howard got hitched. That's right, they both have two first names...just sayin'. The wedding was lovely and Christ-focused. I was filled with joy to be a witness to their union under Christ. It was beautiful and I couldn't be happier for the two lovebirds.

Rounding out this rapid-fire update is my trip to D.C. to celebrate THE resurrection Sunday (Easter weekend, to be precise). I stayed with my dear fousin, China, and we had such a perfectly wonderful weekend. We visited the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Smithsonian, Museum of Natural History (saw the Hope Diamond!), Botanical Gardens, and I'm not sure what else. We also hosted an Easter dinner at her house and got to visit Lianna and her two little munchkins. It was such a great weekend and I am eternally blessed to have family in my life who also happen to be my best friends. God is good.

Whew...there you have it. My super speedy update is least up until "the incident." I'll do a little post with the freaky pics of my x-rays, so get excited about that!