Month 11 has flown by (as has Month 12 so far, thus this late post).
Month 10 ended with some bad things happening in my personal life. These continued through most of Month 11 as well. I was dealing with the feelings caused by my family member and also a friend. Of the two, the broken friendship hurt far more. The relationship with my family member had been on a long slow descent with an abrupt, but short, cliff at the end. The broken friendship is something that I didn’t see coming… a total surprise and shock. We’ve all been there before, but it has been so long since someone I held that close in my heart has done such a thing.
I don’t want the friendship broken, but it remains that way to this day. For almost a month, I didn’t know how I would feel should my friend ask for forgiveness. Eventually, the hurt receded. This allowed me to align my feelings with my caring for this person. I am now at the point where I can forgive my friend should they ask for it. I can also continue the friendship; however it would not be as close as before… I’m not at a point in my life where I am willing to trust liars enough to allow them into my circle of close friends. Perhaps I never will be. The really sad part is that I don't think this person has the first clue that they've done anything to hurt me.
Christmas came and went during Month 11. We had a nice, quiet time - but the older I get, the more I miss having a family that loves one another. We don’t have children and that puts us in a lonely place too. I come from a very dysfunctional family. Perhaps that is why I have such revulsion for liars. My family’s holiday gatherings (Thanksgiving & Christmas) were always big shows where everyone put on a mask and lived out a lie that we were all normal, caring family. The rest of the year told a different, sad story. I survived, but not unscathed, by getting out. 2014 marks my 21st year of living hundreds (sometime thousands) of miles from family. If you rule out the “visits” when they were just bringing my Mom to see me, or pick her up, I can count on the toes of one hand how many times my family has visited me in those 21 years. I, however, have visited them at least a dozen times.
On to my CES…
While I was walking like Frankenstein and unable to feel my ankles, it seems I had such a poor gait that I tore a tendon in my right ankle. Now that I have some feeling there, I knew something other than the nerve pain of Cauda Equina Syndrome was going on. The Doc said only surgery will fix it, but for now I’m only wearing an ankle brace. Had I noticed this earlier last year I would have had the surgery, but it’s a new year, with a new insurance deductible. And of course I’m on a high deductible plan (not by choice – it is all my employer offers).
I have regained feeling in a lot of areas. The results of the nerve conductivity tests showed most of the L4/L5 damage has healed. This was the level at which the disk blew out, so I happy with that finding. However the points below L4/L5 still show significant injury and the jury is still out as to what will happen with those areas. I do have more “electric shock” type feelings, mostly in my right foot. The backs of my thighs and lower buttocks are still numb as is most of my genital area. B&B is still an issue that takes a lot of management (that’s Bladder & Bowel, not Bed & Breakfast).
I have been encouraged, as Month 11 closed, by the small group Bible study we’re doing in our home. Between that and studying for my CMA exam in February, I haven’t had much time for other things or maintaining relationships. I’ll be so glad once this exam is taken. I’ve had to give up some things – things I love doing - on the schedule in order to concentrate on these. After the exam, I have a couple of other projects on my ready list, so I will continue to stay busy.
Does my Cauda Equina Syndrome affect all of this? Definitely! Does it help shape my life? Absolutely! Is it defining me? In some small way… it is a part of me, just as my arms or legs are. Yes, I have bad days, both physically and emotionally – hopefully not both at the same time! Through it all I rely on God’s love to see me through. In His love He knew that my back would be injured and He used that event to prod me to grow closer to Him. He has sustained me, nurtured me, and lifted me up. I am a better person, at a better place in life because of God taking the lemons of Cauda Equina Syndrome and helping me make lemonade out of them. Where that will lead I do not know, but what an adventure I am on!