Emergency spinal surgery was 81 days ago (11.57 weeks)
Home from acute rehab 66 days ago (9.43 weeks)
Through this journey, my badass friends have helped me relearn to swallow, chew, talk, walk, sit, brush my teeth, turn on a light, open doors (most of them, some still baffle me and I am trapped), feed myself, write, use my phone, bounce a ball, watch tv (my brain could not process fast enough to keep up with anything, so we started with children’s shows and musicals), return a phone call, find the pharmacy in CVS, speak to a receptionist, catch a ball, open a fridge…
I am still learning/being taught how to bathe myself (so many steps, and opening bottles and all the things); how to think through options (would you like to sit here or there?); how to process multiple-step instructions (I’ve heard it is pretty funny to watch me through this); how to get items out of the cupboard (my brain still sees a solid plane and will not allow me to pull things through it)…
I have not yet conquered opening my computer and understanding what to do next; walking in my neighborhood without getting lost; going into a grocery store with all the items and all the options (I have been able to do CVS for my meds, but I cannot deviate much from getting my meds without getting lost); cooking or preparing food (though I can do toast!).
Random things we have discovered in this journey: for some reason, my brain has replaced the majority of my contractions and I speak in a Data language (“I do not know” and “we cannot find” or “I am uncertain”). When my spinal cord rebooted, it fixed reflexes I have not been great with my whole life; I can now easily catch balls and even toss them back and forth without looking. My PT explained it is because reflexes and catching things have to do with the spinal cord and not the brain. Which is so amazing! My thinking is as slow as my speaking; however if I write it out on my phone (which I can quickly do) then I can think things through or process them quickly; so if you ask me a question and I grab my phone, just be patient as I type for the answer! 🙂
We discovered why I cannot carry anything and walk. It is because my brain is overwhelmed with the unlimited demand. But if I look at my feet and tell my brain a single target step for one leg and then a single target step for the other, I can make it short distances before my brain becomes overwhelmed. However a mystical thing is I can smoothly walk backward with the item or I can walk in sidesteps for a longer distance and without looking down. They believe it is because I had to purposefully learn how to do both before the surgery, but walking forward and carrying things became a natural thing (I have zero default to anything I “naturally” learned before, only what I intentionally learned).
My pain is under better control, yet still can get intense. We daily use CBD oils, essential oils, Arnica gel & tabs, and Tiger Balm (on top of the pain scripts). I am doing all the exercises from home that I can do.
A new twist in my world is my foot. As the other pains have been healing, my foot has been getting worse the more I am marching and standing and balancing and walking. We just had it X-Rayed and it appears to have a lot of damage from the original fall in March (that caused all of this damage, but because my neck had been damaged then and I didn’t know, it caused phantom pains in my legs that we thought we were fixing and no one knew my foot was injured as well). So we are going to have to figure out how to continue. At times, my foot is too painful to walk. And with the brace, I only have slippers that fit (because Chucks aren’t made for expanding). Yet we are uncertain how I would be able to navigate crutches or lifted walker. So, we prepare for an added portion of adventure.
Thank you to everyone who has been helping me with the costs of being down without being able to make an income; since I owned my own business, I do not have FMLA and since I have been dealing with injuries since March, I used all my savings. I am depending on community to continue to gather around me.
If you would be willing, you can monthly support me though this mire as I heal and improve and help me get back on my feet and ready to run.
To support me monthly (and get access to little treats as I relearn to do them) join me at Patreon.com/BilliJoy.
Thank you to everyone who has been helping me with purchasing needed items form my Amazon registry (please continue and help me make it through!). On the link, search for “BilliJoy” and when you order, it will show the friend who is managing the list for me and say it is “shipping to Charles.”
Thank you to everyone who is helping me survive and have donated to the fundraiser. You are epically making life possible. You can support me in a one-time donation HERE.
I am thankful for all the personal healing that this journey has caused for me. I was forced into a position where I had to choose to trust those closest to me—as well as people I barely knew or didn’t know at all. And in it, the wounds I had from my trauma have been having a layer healed. I have been in completely vulnerable positions and I have been safe and honored and respected. Healing the depths of past wounds in the midst of this current huge one.
Thank you again, fellow badasses, for warrioring alongside me and in my stead during these past 81 days. Please help me get through the next 81 days. Together, we got this.