For anyone who doesn’t know my story, several years ago my knees went to hell. I was bone on bone. And while I far from being a teenager anymore, I’m not Methuselah either. Doctors said they went far too young in my life. My weight exacerbated the problem, but again–while I was certainly over what American Physicians say I “should” weigh, I wasn’t “morbidly obese” category either.
Every day I was in pain. Chronic pain. Constant. Every single step was as if there were ground glass under my kneecaps.
It only got worse. Sometimes at work I would go into the restroom, sit…and just sob.
I was hardly able to walk. I certainly couldn’t run. I love to hike–wasn’t happening. Long walks in the woods, something that makes me feel closer to my inner most self and my Higher Power? But nope. I couldn’t do it any more.
It was one more case of not knowing what I had until I lost it. Something as simple as being able to walk.
And with 12-hour shifts? OMGosh! Horrible!
And people who have no idea what I was going through? Well, they couldn’t really have any sympathy. They just couldn’t know. They couldn’t understand! I remember saying to a few people that “I wish for just five minutes, just five, that you could be in my body. Then you might possibly understand what I am going through. You would certainly not bitch at me for how slowly I walk.”
But then my Evil Day Job did something…wonderful.
The benefits I had there allowed me to get both knees replaced. Immediately, even with the pain of surgery and physical therapy, the lessening of pain was incomprehensible! It was amazing! Freeing. As if shackles and suddenly opened and fallen away. Blessed relief! Enough to make me cry tears of joy. To be able to walk again! And then move quickly! And go for hike in the woods again!
Last year at my annual Men’s retreat out in the woods in the middle of nowhere, I was walking across the upper plateau to hang out at the tent of a friend of mine. I got there and several people were sitting around drinking coffee and looking at me, mouths agape.
Turns out that they didn’t know who I was as they saw me coming across the grass to their camp.
Because of my weight loss and…
…the fact that I wasn’t waddling and swaying like a drunk. They all congratulated me and I could only beam happily.
Sometimes I am running around doing something and I stop and all but burst into tears…. Because I am walking!
Sometimes there is some pain, especially this time of year with the roller coaster temperatures. But compared to the pain I used to experience? It is nothing.
I had no idea what I had in something as simple as being able to walk…
…until I couldn’t.
Today? Today I am so happy and so grateful that I can walk.
And once more…I wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention my husband. The man who helped me with it every step (*grin*) of the way. Those first weeks after the operations…I couldn’t get up the stairs without him. Could hardly get out of bed some mornings. And simple things like showering or using the restroom…? Forgetaboutit!
I needed him and he was there for me with open hand and open heart.
I am so blessed.
Thank You Universe for my knees. For being able to walk around the block with my sweet little dog, Sarah Jane. To hike through the woods, shafts of golden light lancing down through the green overgrowth–more beautiful than any church.
And isn’t Nature my church? It’s where I am closest to God.
Photograph by at ronnieb at morgueFile