First Year – Survived

Today marks a full year since I've had to walk away at the pinnacle of my career to focus on my health. How I survived not working is still hard to even ponder, considering I was always a high energy high spirited person. Even when I'd only had my preemie son home for a mere 3 weeks I didn't feel guilt about going back to work – after all, it was my one constant in my life that got me through all the trials life puts you through.

What's even more astonishing to me is the fragility of our bodies. Working in IT for over 15 years definitely kept me on my toes – and my brain to good use. Now I use that brain to figure out how many pages of paperwork I can fill out before I have to take a break – paperwork for sakes! Forget about cooking and cleaning and even getting the mail – any of which could spend the entirety of even a good days energy level. Logically it makes perfect sense – my spinal cord is working overtime trying to send constant signals through a damaged section to everything below the neck and the body is tired, always so very tired, and constant pain is exhausting.

In hindsight I do have to give myself credit. After surgery and 3 months post op recovery I returned to work and fought like hell thinking I could make my brain to tell my body that I had other plans, even though I knew the odds were not in in my favor, I was still going to fight for a job that I had spent 15 years earning without formal training or college. I made it there the old fashion way of moving up through the ranks by hard work.

I was going back to my dream of designing complex systems for a large company on a global scale – which meant 530-6 am conference calls or 10-11 pm conference calls so I could coordinate Asia and Europe on any number of high viability projects I had on my plate. It sometimes meant long hours and constantly on call, non of which is anything new in IT, but I excelled under pressure.

But in the end I had to make a choice – continue to keep stressing an already weak body which would no doubt would have sped then progression of the disease or swallow my pride and wave my white flag and try to give my body what it desperately needed.

The hardest decision tends to be the right one. Hopefully the next year will bring me more peace and keep my hope up that one day I will see better treatment options thar will lighten my purse that has half of pharmacy in it.

The Healing Power of Mutts ❤

Mutts, Hounds, Flea Bags, The Girls, Sissy & PP, Minion 1 & 2, The Kentucky Wallflower & The Tennessee Wildchild.  They go by many names and have very different personalities, but they have been a godsend in the nuclear aftermath of myelopathy. Meet two of my biggest fans…my rescued mutts.  I’ll admit I never paid too much attention to how much dogs really do love you unconditionally, at least not during the hustle and bustle of everyday life pre-myelopathy.  Once I was at home on disability, their heightened senses could pick up my depression even on days where there would be no tears, or the constant physical pain that tests my sanity, to which their untrained response was to lean it and give me a kiss or a nudge just to let me know that I was not alone.  I doubt they will never know how much the support they’ve given me on a primitive level despite the difference in species.  I can still remember 3 months post op when we added Lily (bloodhound mix seated on the left) to the pack.  She wasn’t even on the short list when we were looking to add another dog to help Shelby (Australian cattle dog mix seated to right) with losing 12 year Matilda 6 weeks earlier to cancer.  But a 4 month old Lily demanded to be seen and barreled out at full speed, plopped in my lap, gave me a kiss and then proceeded to play with Shelby.  Out of 4-5 dogs she was the only one Shelby wanted anything to do with.  This just added to my belief that we don’t really choose our pets, they choose us.  They also don’t have to ask us how we feel because they know.  I still can remember a timid Shelby sitting with my late uncle as he came home from chemo battled cancer.  She refused to leave his side, and they were a comfort to each other.

If I’ve learned anything in then last couple of years, it’s that love is a universal emotion that can cross limitless boundaries including language barriers, time & space and even in death, love can still be given and received if you look in the right places.  Now that’s a very reassuring thought, especially when no one wants to walk this world alone.