JoJoisms

My losses brought gain!

Written By: JoJoisms - Feb• 07•17

It’s 2017!  Boy does that sound weird to me!  I was born the middle of last century. I used to think 2001 was only a space odyssey!  But here we are and this new year is starting off with many new gains for my body that took place as losses in just the last few years.  That’s a few years of loss that brought gain. Here’s what I mean.

In 2014, I lost the use of my left hand for a while in a car accident. It was a roller coaster ride where we slid several hundred feet during a snowstorm, jumped a tree trunk, and came to rest on the roof of the car as we dangled from our seat belts with passersby certain we were all dead.  After much physical therapy and retraining myself to type, I have regained almost all the use of my right hand with the notable exception of being able to snap my fingers.  A great loss to my social life, I’m sure! ROFL  Now one might look at this as a bad thing and it WAS.  My hand was broken in three places, I don’t have full function, and it still aches from time to time.  But it is also a huge gain.  I gained my life!  It was amazing that we hit that snow covered downed tree trunk instead of sliding unencumbered to our death in the highway below.  Flipping over stopped us and saved us a painful death.  All four of us!  A pretty large gain in my book!

Additionally that year, I lost my gallbladder.  Good riddance I say as it caused me such excruciating pain that I was unable to eat anything for two weeks.  It’s a great diet plan if you’re a fan of fainting and nausea. My gain on that one was that my dh was working for a company that had JUST updated its health plan that we could afford and that covered many more things.  We are still paying our out of pocket deductible on that surgery, but I had a fabulous surgeon who got me right in and took care of a very sick ugly gallbladder with a penchant for pain.

In 2015, I lost the use of my shoulder after I nonchalantly raised my right arm to stretch upon waking up.  I heard a crack, felt incredible pain searing through my arm, and found that I was unable to move my arm in any direction even a slight amount without aggravating the pain monster so I kept it close to the vest for 8 months.  After extensive physical therapy, I was able to regain the use of my right arm for pretty much whatever I needed to do…unless that included being able to put my right arm behind me far enough to be able to apply soap to a particular part of my upper back.  BUT, not having the use of my right arm for 8-12 months meant that I had the opportunity to train my left hand to do some of the things I used to be able to do with my right.  Being right handed and quite NOT left handed, this did help!

2016 was the year of taking stuff out of JoJo!  Within a six month period of time, I had my left ovary and Fallopian tube, the rest of my womanly pieces parts to a radical hysterectomy, and two and 1/3 of my four parathyroid glands!  It seems they were gaining weight at an alarming rate causing all kinds of havoc with my energy and sucking all the calcium out of my bones.  I was 54 and had the bones of an 80 y/o!  They took so much stuff out of me, I’m now like Dr. Who’s TARDIS, bigger on the inside!  Within six months, I had had three surgeries, one of which was confirmed cancer.

The gain there was three fold: my life, my energy, and my bones.  I was a cancer survivor before even my doctors knew I had cancer and I didn’t even require chemo or radiation to rid myself of this mortality menace! My last surgery is the only one that has the capability to actually affect two of my most problematic symptoms of chronic illness that I’ve struggled with for years: fatigue and pain.  Having growths on your parathyroids cause fatigue and increased pain and, while they probably will not go away entirely, they both will be reduced this month after removing the little tyrants.  Lastly, my extremely fragile bones are already eating up the calcium to help build their strength back up.  And I never did experience a break which is usually how most women find out they have Osteoporosis!  My own mom had this happen that year. She was diagnosed with Osteopenia, but after breaking her hip, foot, and wrist, she was told she actually has Osteoporosis.  A very painful way to find out, I must say…and quite a painful recovery as well.

If I look at each pain, each surgery, each frustration from fatigue, all I can see is loss.  But when I look at the gains inside of the loss or the blessings inside of the pain, I’m able to feel better, blessed.  What gain do you see inside of the loss of your chronic illness?

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