The surgery is complete. I am now 6 feet tall and one foot off. This first day has been much harder than I expected. The physical pain has been unrelenting and the emotional pain has been more than I expected. I knew when I laid down on the table yesterday morning that my life was changing forever. So, here I am. I look down and my leg is gone. With it though, so is the handicap that was holding me back. Yes, currently I am trapped in this hospital bed, unable to get up and take care of myself, grimacing in immense pain with the simplest of movements, but I know that pain is temporary. This was the first step, and as Bugs Bunny always said in my Saturday morning cartoons, "Watch that first step...It's a doozy!" Now, I can focus on rehabilitation and turning this impossible situation into an improbable success story.
Through out this battle I have finally understood what Gandhi meant when he said "You must be the change you want to see in the world." I have decided to embody the thought that even in losing a limb I am not handicapped. I just have to work harder and therefore I will appreciate simple things more than most. Already, I have learned how much I took for vantage getting up and moving around. This morning my occupational therapist came in and helped me sit on the side of the bed. That was her goal for the day. Just to sit and put my remaining leg on the ground. I decided once I achieved that goal I wanted to know what it felt like to stand without my leg. This is where I was humbled quickly. Not only dealing with the pain involved of having blood circulate at the bottom of that stump, but finding that I have an entirely new center of gravity. I could not gain balance on my own. It was not happening. That was terrifying. I know that I will learn how to do this, but gaining that experience today was necessary for me. I had to know what this feels like. My physician wants me to get into the recliner today, and when PT gets here I suppose that's what I'll do. I hope they bring me a walker and I can see what that feels like.
So, I have to be honest with you, I've been completely open throughout this process, so I can't stop that now. When I woke up, after the pain was controlled somewhat and I was capable of rational thought I was terrified. I decided that I had made a horrible mistake. What had I done!!! I just willingly let them take away my leg, my leg that worked somewhat, not to a point that I could work, but I could walk. Now I have nothing there. I still feel it there, and that is the cruelest part of this entire process. Waking up in the middle of the night, sweating, hurting scared to death, and feeling my foot itch, or my calf cramp, only to look down and realize that this isn't a nightmare. My leg is gone. I have made this permanent decision. Today I feel much better about this decision. My initial panic has subsided. Sadly, the phantom pains have not, and I am relying on a dilaudid pain pump to be able to sit up and write this to you. As promised. I will be continuing my blog throughout this process. I know that I am going to endure immense pain in these coming days, but I will translate that into words to share with you. Until later...The journey to becoming the prosthetic medic has officially begun...I think I heard a starters gun when I got up this morning.