A New Hope

**Warning lots of text ahead**

First and foremost, if you are viewing this in a reader or inbox, you must click out to see my new layout! My old one was supposed to be “temporary.” Which of course turned into five months. I’m quite happy with this new one, so we’ll see how long it lasts!

Secondly, thank you for being so patient and supportive while I took time off from blogging. I suppose I could have lined up some guest posts or something, but what I really wanted to do was drop ALL blogging responsibilities. I needed a full-on break and I am coming back much better because of it.

Truth of the matter is, things with my arm are not going well. If you’re new-ish, all the posts explaining my injury can be found here. Short story is that I shattered my elbow almost three months ago and had reconstructive surgery on the bone. I had to give up my job as a personal trainer and basically change every aspect of my life to accommodate my new limited mobility.

One would think that a broken bone would get better with time. But mine is not. My physiotherapists tell me I’m not making progress at the rate I should be. I see my surgeon again in just over two weeks and he’ll tell me if I’m doomed to be on an operating table again. The whole situation scares me beyond belief.

One would also think I would grow more accustomed to my injury with time. But honestly, my ability to cope with it is getting worse. Having to wash my hair with one hand two weeks after the accident was doable. Having to STILL wash my hair with one hand three months after the fact is driving me crazy. Knowing that it may be a year from the accident until I can put my two palms on my head makes me feel really, really uneasy.

I am so, so sick of feeling limited ALL the time.

I know I should be thankful for what I can still do. I know I am lucky in so many ways. I hate bitching and moaning about an injury that in the grand scheme of things really isn’t that bad. This is why I had to take a break from blogging. Because stress and ill feelings over my injury dominate all my thoughts and emotions. I’ve become my injury.

The past month since moving home has been challenging. It has not been the saving grace I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong, this is absolutely where I want to be right now. But I tricked myself into thinking moving home would solve all my problems. Really, it just highlighted them.

In the past three months, I lost the use of one limb. I lost a job I loved. I lost my energy and stamina. I gained a lifetime of pain. I moved to a different city and into a new house. And last week, I started a new permanent full-time job.

It’s a lot for a girl to deal with, even “well adjusted” ones like me. I’ve gotten into this bad habit of crying whenever I have to talk about the state of my arm. It shows how unstable I’ve become about it. I am so sick of talking about it and yet it’s still all I ever think about.

So no, I am not “okay.” Things are not getting “better.” I wish I could surpass expectations and overcome obstacles. I wish I could be an inspiring beacon of “healthy living” hope. But really, it just plain sucks. Big time.

So there’s the truth. I feel like I’ve been keeping it from my readers. I feel like a fraud. I don’t plan on complaining about it regularly, I think I may seek help for that.

Instead, I hope to be doing shorter posts. I hope to have more pictures. And posts will now be going up in the morning!!

Thanks for being with me through this (and reading through this post – hoo-ah!). Here’s hoping things start to get better from here…

IMG_7077

I mean, Buddy the dog has finally warmed up to me. Even if that does mean more slobber stains on my pants.

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Posted on May 9, 2011, in Injury. Bookmark the permalink. 48 Comments.

  1. Susan I would never feel like you are a fraud. It was a terrible break and it is a lot to be going through. That is a whole lot of change in a very short time.
    BUT you will come out of this a stronger woman and never feel weak because you have shed tears.
    You are an inspiration to many!!!

  2. I’m sorry that you’re having to go through all this. It sounds really tough and I understand the whole line of thinking, “Well, yeah, it’s bad, but if I complain people are just going to think ‘It could be worse.'” Of course it could, but it doesn’t change the fact that it sucks.

    I really hope your recovery process speeds up, if at all possible.

  3. Susan, much like everyone else in your life, I wish I could give you a hug, and make it all better for you.

    I am glad you are at a place where you are able to openly share how you are feeling. I’m sure I could give you a whole slew of cliché sayings telling you how it’s all going to get better and you’ll be fine. But the truth is, you need to know that your friends, family and readers are behind you right now. If you fall people are there to help catch you and pick you back up. It’s good that you are exploring other options so that you can work through the the emotions you are feeling about your arm and where it has brought you to.

    In no way do I imagine it can be easy, and I’m sure that it can be beyond challenging to see the silver lining in this experience. I confident that there is at least one, if not more.

    Like Conny said, you will come out on the other side of this whole experience stronger because of all of this.

    *hugs*

  4. Susan major empathy and hugs for what you are going thru. I am so very sorry and can only imagine how limited and well, handicapped, you must feel. Gah!! I am so sorry.

    First time clicking off my reader to see your site in a week…and omg it looks AMAZING!!!!

  5. Susan, you certainly are not a fraud. Don’t ever feel like you need to share any more or any less than you are comfortable sharing. It’s your life. You have been through a lot in the last year or so. There is an incredible amount of stress that goes on with the good stuff and the bad.

    Injuries just suck. There is no getting around it. Sometimes they alter your life and sometimes they don’t. It certainly could be a good idea to speak with a counselor about all of it.

    Shoot me an email any time if you need an ear.

  6. Hang in there, Suzie! Everyone has different ways of coping with injury, it’s nothing to be ashamed of! All I can say is to take it one day at a time, you’re a strong woman and although it sucks, I know you’ll get through it, regardless of what happens!

    *hugs*

  7. Susan- it does suck. BIG TIME. big part of our culture is making things seem like they don’t. But it does suck. The things that don’t suck? new layout. Your new plan!

  8. First, I love the new layout. So adorable! Second, we will read your blog no matter what you post. You are not a fraud, and many of us will truly never understand completely what you are going through. This is your blog and you post whatever the heck you want too. Third, your featured waffle is spinach and feta, which is my all time favorite. I’ll be making it tomorrow again.

  9. Susan – you don’t need to be anything you are not to be an inspiration to readers. The fact that you keep on truckin’ and are willing to share a slice of your life so openly is enough. This sounds like an old woman’s voice but…you are young and have lots of time to live your dreams full out. You have overcome so many other challenges, this one will not defeat you no matter how tough it seems right now.

  10. They may be slobber stains, but I’m sure their slobber stains full of love!! My prayers are with you Susan. I can’t imagine how difficult this must be for you because I’ve never had this type of injury, but I’m sending you all my good luck vibes for your recovery. Thank you for being so honest with your thoughts, and I love the new blog design! :)

  11. greensandjeans

    You are absolutely not a fraud my friend! Finding a balance dealing with this type of an injury has to be nearly impossible and I can’t imagine how frustrating it has to be for you! Part of the beauty of a blog is being able to put things out there and to just get things off your chest. We’re here for you lady! Someday we’ll be able to jam together on our guitars!

  12. Oh Susan I am so sorry that you are going through such a rough time. I wish there was something I could do to help out. Just know that I am thinking and praying that things turn around soon and that you don’t have to get another surgery. I’m also just an email away if you feel the need to vent/ I am a great listener.

  13. I’m so sorry to hear that you are struggling right now Susan! Believe me, I know what it’s like. The hardest part about being injured is the mental struggle. It’s something that no one really talks about or prepares you for, and it’s a lot more painful than the physical discomfort.

    Don’t feel like a fraud. Speaking from experience, it took me a reallllllly long time to get to a positive place with my chronic pain, but it IS possible. If there is any way that I can help let me know, or if you just need to let it out I am only an email away ; )

  14. I’ll check out the new layout when I’m on a computer instead of my iPhone. Can’t wait to see it.

    As for your arm- I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I was in your situation. I’ve tried to think about how I would cope with it and can only imagine how helpless, frustrated, and angry I’d feel. Ive never felt anything but honesty coming from your writing about it. Even when you talked about feeling a little hopeful, I think we all knew there was the undertone of “this sucks and it isn’t fair”. Because it does suck and it isn’t fair.

    You do what you need to do and tell us what we can do for you. :)

  15. 1. *hugs*
    2. love the Star Wars Reference
    3. *hugs*
    4. I’m sorry you’re facing such trials right now. I can only imagine how difficult it is, being such an active person feeling so limited in what you can do. You have a great community of cheerleaders here, so let us know when you’re blue, and we’ll all… do a dance for you. I’m thinking about you, and sending you healing vibes cross-country.
    5. Miss you! any chance of a visit back to TO anytime soon?

  16. You have been through a trauma and quite simply it
    is traumatic.
    I continue to find you one of the most sincere and honest bloggers around and that won’t change because
    I have a feeling you are genuinely a very sincere person.
    I would rather you write about the challenges you are facing because it is real,and the impossible times show
    us all how humanity has to face fears and scary times head on.I don’t need happy blogs from someone who is genuinely suffering as you are.Of course, never ever feel you have to share things that are too personal and your own private stuff. But thank you for being so
    open a writer-when a writer bared their soul like this
    it is truly moving.
    Finding someone outside your family or even a professional to talk to can be a lifesaver and I wouldn’t hesitate to do that under any traumatic circumstances.
    In the meantime please know that many strangers out here like me are thinking of you and rooting for you.
    We are sorry to know what you are going through.

    It sounds like the mental part of dealing with such
    a lifechanging moment is perhaps even more challenging than the very tough physical toll.

    Blessings to you and please never sugarcoat anything for your readers.We are here for you as you are here for us-thank you Susan.

  17. Susan, I don’t think any of us believe you’re a fraud. We love you and respect that some things are just not easy for you to talk about. And it’s okay to not be strong all the time, or to share everything with your readers, you know?

    Sending you lots of sisterly love~ (well…if I had a big sister I’d want her to be as sweet as you)
    and (gentle!) hugs. <3

  18. I feel for you friend. Major injuries like that shake your world and it’s only after the adrenaline from the whole situation wears off that you can really comprehend its scope. I will have all my fingers and toes crossed for you that your surgeon gives you good news!

  19. 1. Love the layout. Clean, fresh, and nice.
    2. You are no fraud. Life is hard and your situation is hard. Every single feeling you have is valid.
    3. I’ll be thinking and praying for you!

  20. I wish there was something I could do or say or offer right now. I’m not going to pretend that there is but I’m thinking of you. A lot. And I’m glad you were able to write this and express what’s going on- I really hope you have people in real life you can talk to as well. Is there any way you can get some sort of counselling to help? It’s such a sucky situation and I know it feels unbearable right now with the uncertainty and doctors and just everything changing and being so different…and at the risk of sound all Pollyanna-ish, this won’t last forever. The physical and emotional pain- it will change. It might not get easier. It might not hurt less. It might seem like life is never going to be okay again. And it’s OKAY to feel like that so please don’t feel like you are burdened with having to hide things or pretend life is peachy when it isn’t. Sometimes life just sucks and deals blows you never saw coming and it’s impossible to even contemplate the idea of something beyond the “here and now”- and you need to let off steam or take some time to be with family and friends and just hurt and be angry and scared. I am starting to ramble, but couldn’t read and not respond…I hear you, Susan. I don’t know what it’s like to go through what you are going through so I can’t pretend I do. I have lost what feels like huge parts of me due to physical injuries (dance, etc) and it is still raw. It still hurts to think about, years later. I won’t pretend that it doesn’t. It does, in time, shift. Gah…I wish I could say more. Just know that I care and please- if you want to vent or cry or scream, my inbox is open. God knows I have vented to you on more than 1 occasion!

    • Thank you so much Ellie. I’m in this weird state between being anxious to get another surgery and have it fixed already, and mentally preparing myself for dealing with the limited mobility I currently have for the rest of my life. My recovery window is closing by the day. And the idea that the pain could (or will) last the rest of my life is so disheartening. So many very, very strong emotions tied to this one little bone in my arm! I knew it’s common to get depressed about injuries, but I never knew it would be like this.

      • There is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel, and definitely not surprising that this is far from easy. It’s a lot to take in and there is so much unknown- both on your end and the doctors…everything they say is guess work based on other patients. Nobody actually knows. Remember my friend who was paralysed from the neck down for over 3 years and is now a paraolympic competitor? All you can do is take it one day at a time. Sounds like a cliche, but there is no other way…and the whole slew of emotions stirred up must feel horrible. Please keep talking and sharing- whether it is on your blog or if you can find a support group or online community. You don’t have to handle this on your own… xxx

    • Ellie- who is your friend who’s in the paraolympics? I know someone in the UK who is, and it’s a long shot but his name is Dave something or other.

  21. No need to feel like a fraud. I doubt there is anyone out there who could deal with your situation any better. In fact most would probably be worse. I know I would! Feel free to email me if you need to vent! I don’t mind!

  22. It does suck! You have every right to be going through a lot of emotions in this situation.

  23. Hi Susan,
    First, I love the new website format…looks great! Second, have you ever thought of writing a book? You clearly have a way with words and I think that SO many people would benefit from learning from you. I think that it would be a very inspirational story.
    Remember, your recovery journey is not over yet…and as Buddha said ““The greatest prayer is patience”.

    Sending you healing thoughts!
    Emily

  24. A lot of the things that you’ve been going through are quintessential things that set people up for depression. Not to say that you are depressed, just that it’s a lot to go through, and you have every right to feel the way you’re feeling.
    The new website looks great!

  25. I LOVE THE NEW LAYOUT! Now I am gonna read the post.

  26. Oh Sus. I am so sorry you are still struggling so much. I know you are such an independent person and not being able to do the simplest things is such a pain in the butt. Or a pain in the elbow. It is so healthy for you to just tell it like it is. You are blunt, honest and up front. With yourself. And with us.. but more with yourself. I know you are having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.. and I also know the last thing you want to hear is someone saying “you will be better in no time!” but I do want to tell you that while it might not be NO TIME.. you WILL be better. Eventually. And it is perfectly fine and normal to bitch about how much it sucks. Because it does. And I am just so glad you ARE the strong person that you are. I know you mentioned to me that you don’t think you have this whole “healthy living” and balance thing figured out.. but I think you are not giving yourself enough credit. It is BECAUSE you have this balance thing figured out that you are able to cope with such a serious injury. Just think if this happened and you weren’t as wise as you are! Please bitch to me any time. I won’t tell you to hang in there.. because that’s the last thing you want to hear. But you definitely can bitch to me. I love you.

  27. I’m so sorry. I don’t have any words of wisdom, just a virtual hug and lots and lots of good wishes and thoughts sent your way.

    And the new layout is great–crisp, clean, and easy to navigate!

  28. I’d probably go start raving mad if I couldn’t use a limb for several months…so I completely admire what you`ve been able to achieve thus far, and thank you for sharing the ups and downs, honestly!!

    BEST WISHES and I always enjoy reading your posts no matter what :)

  29. Nobody ever said blogs had to be all positive. Sometimes life is just plain crappy and it’s good to get it out there.

    Don’t give yourself a hard time for feeling bad about it. You have every right to be upset. It changed a lot of things for you so you kind of have to ‘grieve’ for the plans you had before you can move on. Your arm may not get better but how you feel about it will eventually.

    Definitely find someone to talk to if it’s getting too much. Friends and family mean well but aren’t always much use!

    Love the new layout!

  30. first off you are NOT a fraud, do not ever say that! you are you, and honest and beautiful and hard working. I am so sorry you are strugglign right now, ut thereis NO need to apologize…keep your head up things are only getting brighter from here and LOVE your new layout like…. LOOOOVE!!!!

  31. I love your honesty. This does suck and I’m so sorry that your life has drastically changed. xo

  32. Aw, girl – I hope getting this out there helps. I’m so sorry for all your frustrations. I can’t imagine how one would handle this well. I imagine I’d be frustrated every day too.

  33. Uff, the old “becoming the injury” trap. I know! Now that more than a year has passed since I initially hurt my hip I don’t get questioned about it as much, but for a while, every time I ran into someone, it was “How’s the hip? Is the hip OK? What’s been going on with the hip?” Like, if you have a friend with an illness, do you approach them every day and ask, “How’s the arthritis? How’s the bipolar disorder? How’s the astigamatism?” I’m also tired of thinking about my hip first thing after I wake up every morning: “Is it going to be a good hip day? Bad hip day?” I just want to wake up and think about pancakes or something!

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong about seeking professional help. When things came to a head for me last summer, I called a few counseling places that specialized in coping with injury, illness, and pain. I never ended up going for an appointment, but I did start taking St. John’s wort to help balance my mood. I tried antidepressants for a few days but didn’t like the side effects.

    As much as this all sucks monkey balls right now, this could be a great opportunity for you…I’m thinking a book about trying to stay as active as possible with a serious injury? Maybe not a how-to book (as that would probably require lots of input from doctors and physiotherapists), but more of a personal memoir about how The Great Balancing Act turned into a REAL balancing act. I once stabbed the palm of my hand with a butter knife and thought, “Man, where’s the book about how to do yoga, specifically down dog, without flattening your palm?” :-) Perhaps it will take a few months or even years for you to fully develop a new plan of balance and adaptation, but I look forward to reading about the process, smiles, tears, rage, and all.

    • Ohman, I don’t want to rag on people who mean well by making small talk about my arm… but you hit the nail on the head. Answering “how’s your arm?” 16 times a day drives me batty!!!! Especially when people expect a generic “good” answer from me and they get a “not great.” Then things get awkward real fast…

  34. Oh man. That sucks eggs Susan. Rotten, stinky ones where the yolk isn’t yellow anymore- it turns that icky grey color.

    Ya know, I think that it’s very healthy for you to be honest with your readers- there’s no where written that every blog has to be all butterflies and rainbows. You are going through a huge, major life challenge right now. And that is very hard. No shame in this. It’s not like you orchestrated the situation- you are at its mercy! And please just remember that you are doing your best. And please try to remember the hardships that you’ve overcome in your short life already. I KNOW that you will over come this too. You are so much stronger than I think you’re giving yourself credit for- even when you want to cry every time someone mentions the arm. You are strong. And you’ll make it. I promise.

    Hugs.

  35. Great new format! I especially like the comment format! Sorry that questions about your arm are like salt in a wound, people truly care but don’t realize that always talking about it makes it so hard to move forward. You are an amazing person and loads of us care about you!

  36. Thanks so much for your honesty! I tore a couple of ligaments in my ankle last summer while running and I was unable to run, hike, swim, or really do almost anything that I loved all summer and throughout the fall and most of the winter. It was horribly depressing. I did come out of it – unfortunately it is a lifetime injury and it will always be stiff and sore no matter what I do. It took me a long time to get over the unhappy feelings, but I did get there. It’s totally reasonable to feel that way. I truly hope that your recovery speeds up and you’re feeling better about things soon.

  37. awwww susan! hang in there girl. you have gone through so much, and seriously, it is only right that you have time to bitch, complain and let it out. you NEED to let it out.

    and quite frankly, i think you have been doing an amazing job of keeping an upbeat attitude! i mean, look at everything that has happened in the last months – i would have gone certifiably insane long ago! you are adjusting, and you seem to be adjusting well – know that we all love you and are cheering you on! soooooooo much love!

    have a fantastic week friend!

    and please, if you ever need to bitch, email me. do it.

  1. Pingback: Why Your Body Can’t (and Shouldn’t) Make You Happy « The Great Balancing Act

  2. Pingback: Why Your Body Can’t (and Shouldn’t) Make You Happy « Translation & Glossary

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