When the stubborn girl has surgery

The last (almost) seven weeks have been a growing experience, let me tell you. Because my knee is stupid and the kneecap has dislocated multiple times, I had knee surgery on the Jan. 15th – an MPFL reconstruction and tibial tubercle osteotomy, to be exact, which is apparently one of the hardest knee surgeries to recover from. Cool.

Oh, also, it was on my right knee which meant no driving for six weeks and needing to stay with my parents so they could drive me everywhere, including work, like I’m in middle school again. Double cool. 

But I’m proud to report that I started driving again this weekend – HALLELUIAH – and moved back home and slept in my own bed and feel like I have my freedom back (well, kind of. I’m still hobbling around on one crutch and have a long road of recovery still ahead of me).

If you know me well, you know that I’m very independent and stubborn. If you don’t know me well/have never worked closely with me/have never lived with me, this may come as a surprise, but it is the truth. And I’ve had to pretty much rely completely on other people during this time, which was a challenge for me.

I have a hard time asking for help, partly because I want to prove to myself and others that I can do it on my own, and hugely because I’ve always struggled with feeling like a burden to others (more on that some other time). So the last seven weeks have been challenging and have caused me to grow and open up to letting others help.

Here are a few things I’ve learned during this time.

  1. It’s okay to ask for help. You don’t need to prove to someone that you can carry a bowl of soup to the table or three pillows to the couch or a book and a bag of ice to your bedroom while walking on one leg with crutches.
  2. My community is pretty great. If you don’t have a community of people in your life you can trust, I encourage you to find one. I had friends come visit me in the few days after my surgery when I hadn’t showered or brushed my hair in far too long. I had someone offer to drive me home (which is 45 minutes away) so I could go to my church community group and see friends. I had coworkers who were so kind in coming to check on me where I reside in the back of the building to get me coffee or ice or run errands for me. Find your people and trust your people.
  3. You can go a long time without washing your hair if you really set your mind to it. Being unable to bear any weight or bend my knee and only having a tub shower to use made this one so real. Showering was hard, y’all. (Still is, but not as bad.)
  4. It’s okay to not be busy. I’ve had to say ‘no’ to a lot of things, I haven’t been able to make plans with friends, my mom was doing all my grocery shopping and errands for me, and I didn’t have internet or TV while staying with my parents. I usually keep myself busy with either activities or mindless things to avoid fully resting and sitting with my thoughts. This recovery has forced me to rest, and it’s been good for my soul.
  5. Sleeping on your back and not being able to change positions is VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. But really. For someone who usually tosses and turns all night and sleeps on her side most of the time, sleeping with this monstrosity of a brace on has not been fun or restful. I am most excited to be able to take it off when I sleep.

All this to say, knee surgery is not fun. Prayers are appreciated as I continue to recover and longingly look forward to being able to workout and go on hikes this summer. 

With love,

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