I know that I am making progress. Sometimes writing about progress can feel confusing. I think about times I wrote good news, only to crash and burn a few days later. I think about all those times I let myself feel a flash of hope, only to wish I had never let myself feel hopeful. I think about others who aren’t making progress. Sometimes it’s not fun to read about progress when you aren’t making any.
But in the end, that’s where I am. I know I am making progress, and it is not just a few good days here and there. And if I can’t write what is true and what is happening, then what is there to write about?
I know I’m making progress because I have been going three weeks between physical therapy appointments without my whole pelvis shifting out of place. Just a year ago I needed twice a week appointments for the same effect.
I know I’m making progress because I have touched my toes. Did you hear that? Touched my toes, people. It is nothing short of miraculous. If I am having an especially good day and I spend a lot of time stretching out, then somehow my body lets me bend forward and reach the ground. Who knew such things were possible?
I know I’m making progress because I can now schedule one whole activity a day without rest days in-between. On my days off of work I can schedule things with friends or go to the store or go out to the pool. No hibernating the whole day away so I can make it to work tomorrow. No waking up and wondering if I should cancel work. I am beyond thankful to make it to one thing a day instead of a few things a week.
I know I’m making progress because I have been spending more time cooking. I made a steak dinner the other day and it was delicious. We made waffles on Sunday after church. I am buying more fresh vegetables and they aren’t going bad. Some meals are still on the just-palatable end, but other days I am actually taking the time to cook real food.
I know I’m making progress because I am less exhausted and more productive. My pain levels are down, and as long as I am resting on my comfortable couch I can spend so much more time reading, concentrating, and working on my computer.
All of this is so good. I am so beyond thankful. I have been happier and more at peace. It’s so much easier to be happy and peaceful when pain levels aren’t out the roof. It’s so much easier to be happy and peaceful when day aren’t filled with isolation and exhaustion.
At church on Sunday, people were invited to give testimonials. A man stood up and said that he had a stroke that had left the entire left side of his body unable to move as it should. He was now up and walking and doing much better. He said a lot of things, but the one thing I remember was something that caused me to smile and nod in agreement. He said, “If you lose your health, and then gain it back again, everything else doesn’t seem like much of a big deal. Your girlfriend is upset at you? Who cares? Something doesn’t go your way? Who cares?”
I can’t say I have gotten my health back completely. And I can’t say I am immune to other troubles of life. But there is a lot of truth in his words. When you feel healthy, the other little inconveniences of life, no longer sting as much. It’s so much easier to be happy and peaceful when you know that inconveniences are just that – they will sting for awhile, but they will soon go away. They won’t stick around for years on end, like chronic pain.
Progress makes me hopeful that I will get all of my hours towards licensure in time. Progress makes me hopeful that days won’t be so miserable. Progress makes me hopeful that I will be able to work more and do more and be with people more.
Progress also makes me cautious. Progress makes me cautious because progress can mean becoming too comfortable with pushing the boundaries. It can mean not recognizing as easily when my body needs to stop. In the past, progress has meant relapse. I get too excited about what I can do, so I overdo it.
For me, I think the future looks like slow and steady, day to day. I think it looks like continuing forward in this progress, but not putting any sort of deadlines or lofty goals on myself. It will mean some weeks of purposefully doing less to give me a boost to hopefully push forward a little more the next.
Slow and steady. Life in slow motion. After all, that has been my motto from the beginning.
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