Way back, when I first started this blog, a few people asked me about fear.
If you have been following along, you already know how I feel about indulging fear of a potential future scenario. And emotionally, I can say that I don't venture in to that realm.
But if you asked me what potential fears I have on a cognitive level, if I allow myself to wander in to that mental landscape, there is one thing that sticks out. I mean, yes, the pain and the discomfort of the recovery from such a major surgery is not something to ignore, but it's the future me that I wonder about.
While I have been athletic my entire life, it is fortunate that I don't solely identify with that quality as "me." Like all of us, we are so many things; each aspect potentially as worthy as the next. But being physical and athletic has always been a big part of my life, and I would be lying if I said I would not mourn the loss of that.
The fact is, if I have this surgery, I don't know what my future physical self looks like.
To some degree, the loss has already occurred. I have mentioned my on-going breathing issue a number of times, but I haven't spent much time describing the loss of strength and the fatigue that also set in back in 2013. It might have started even earlier, but by 2013 it had become obvious.
All of my lifts were much lower, and I would tire easily and quickly from workouts. I remember one day I hung a rope up in the backyard for Rose to practice on. To make sure it was secure, I grabbed on to it to pull myself up and found that I couldn't even get myself off the ground. Just a couple of years before I was able to hand over hand climb a rope in our gym, so I knew something was wrong.
In addition, even though I can still do 12-15 slow, controlled, full range of motion pull-ups, I can't dead hang by one hand from a bar.
My bench, my squat, my deadlift...all of the numbers are much lower than they used to be. And, of course, because of my breathing issue, my running times are not so great.
So I guess, in some way, I have gotten accustomed to it, even though in the back of my mind I have been waiting for the opportunity to turn it around. Biding my time for the great resurrection.
But what does the future really look like? I don't know. And I don't know that I have a way of accurately predicting it. I don't even know if this disease is the actual cause of it. But whether it is or not, the question is how well does one recover from this surgery.
I am scheduled to have an MRI this afternoon at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. It will be 90+ minutes in the tube, and I am thankful that I am not prone to feeling claustrophobic. I already have lots of visualization planned. :)
On Monday, I have an appointment with another surgeon; Dr Jason Foster of UNMC. Having already gotten the opinion of Dr Even Ong at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, my appointment with Dr. Foster will shine a lot of light on how I move forward. The time for alternatives and options will narrow down to but a few.
So, I guess we will see....
Until then, there is a whole weekend to live "normally." No, wait....why normally? How about extraordinarily?
Or even better, make extraordinarily the new normal. Why not? What's the alternative? :)