birthday bliss

This past year I turned 29…again.

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This is actually my “4th year” turning 29….which means I’m getting REALLY good at celebrating my “youth.” {you do the math}  I must say my friends, my birthday felt especially sweet this year.

“Sweeter than your hot-chocolate-flight & bag-o-donuts at Denver’s D-Bar?” …you might just be asking yourself.  {excuse me while I lick the gooey marshmallow goodness off my upper lip…Mmmmm!}

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Amazingly, yes…there were two things that totally managed to top that sweetness.

No. 1)  My sister Lisa flew to Denver to help me celebrate my 32nd 27th birthday!

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Conveniently she had work meetings in Co. Springs last week and was able to stay a few extra days!  We took advantage of the 50-degree weather with a trip to the Garden of the Gods where Lisa lifted up this huge rock to rescue a box of kittens.

Talk about a Hallmark moment.

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She also gave me a cozy Young Life blanket..which obviously also doubles as a cape.  {It was my “25th” birthday afterall}

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And then, in a desperate attempt to turn back the clock and save my youth, we got pedicures and facials!

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 No. 2)  The sweetness continued with a Ladies Brunch with some of my favorite women here in Colorado!

DSC00822I requested brunch in Evergreen, CO – a picturesque mountain town in the Rockies.  The restaurant overlooks Evergreen Lake where families were ice skating under the falling snow…so pretty!12257294-ice-skating-on-evergreen-lake-in-evergreen-colorado

The food and view were amazing, but the company was even better!  They had written me the kindest birthday cards, and gave thoughtful gifts…

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…and THEN they gave me one last card to open.  To my surprise, the envelope was full of cash, and it simply said:

Buy yourself a new pair of dress shoes!

I was so taken off guard…I totally started to cry!!!  A few weeks ago one of the girls asked me how the transition into a left shoe was going.  I briefly mentioned it was good…but hard.  I am limping and know I need to spend the money to buy a really nice pair of dress shoes for work.  Every day I look online at these beautiful, EXPENSIVE dress shoes…and desire to find the balance between being financially responsible, and yet also take care of my ankle during recovery.

It was such a brief conversation, I hadn’t thought twice about it. Secretly, these amazing friends had rallied together to bless me.  It was one of the most touching, kind and caring things I could imagine!

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Many out-of-state friends added to the “sweetness” of my 24th” birthday with texts and voicemails…along with the UPS guy dropping off a “Birthday in a Box.”  No, the UPS man wasn’t IN the box, unfortunately.  That’s a whole other kind of party. 

The box was from my parents, complete with napkins, birthday candles {oops I accidentally wrote birthday cankles…I’ve got enough of those, thank you}, and some fun gifts!

I feel like the luckiest “23-year-old” in the world.

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Hey, a girl’s entitled to a birthday wish, right? 

xoxo Muah! xoxo

christmas. {i know, i know}

I realize it’s 41 days after Christmas.  But some holidays you’re high on Percocet and blogs just simply don’t get posted.  It happens to the best of us.  Which means…

…it happened to me. 

But no worries.  I’m totally into being fashionably late and refuse to let 41 days stop me.  Without further ado, please welcome…CHRISTMAS 2012!!!

I flew to Minnesota on crutches slash a knee scooter.  My grandma flew in too.  Just with less contraptions.

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I immediately got to work giving knee scooter rides to my FHE {favorite-human-ever}, Reagan.

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Along with teaching her how to bang on play the piano.

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Dad read the amazing Story of Christmas…

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…right after we ate Mom’s to-die-for brunch!

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Sister Lisa changed into her Holiday outfit.

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As Sister Emily bedazzled us with her new hair cut!

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And then we realized she looked a lot like Justin Beiber…and now fondly call her The Beibs.

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Brother Brian and SIL Ashley continued the hard work of growing us another FHE {favorite-human-ever} in their womb.  July can’t come soon enough!

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But in the mean time, we spent every waking moment playing with this little pumpkin!

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A very Merry Christmas to you and your kin!!!

xoxoadventureswithjen

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pin the cankle on the hot brunette

I have not worn a left shoe since I walked into ankle surgery November 16th, 2012.

…until yesterday.

Pull out the confetti, inhale some helium and pin the Cankle on the Hot Brunette {me, duh}, because progress like this deserves a party!

And some sweet new kicks.  Enter “adventure with jen.”

Several days ago my surgeon gave me the okay to occasionally ditch the walking cast for an aircast & tennis shoes.  She recommended that I make a visit to The Boulder Running Company to get fitted for a new pair.  Buy new shoes?  No need to twist my arm!

I showed up wearing a walking cast and holding an air cast, the perfect image of a shoe-fitter’s nightmare.  Hobbling across the store, I surveyed the walls of cool, colorful, trendy running shoes and smiled.  I couldn’t wait to slip my Left Foot into one of these beauties!

As the staff sat me down and I unstrapped my walking boot, I shared that I needed a shoe that would fit THIS {pointing to my ogre-looking-post-op-FrankenCankle}.  And that I would also need it to fit over this {slipping an aircast on OVER the ogre-looking-post-op-FrankenCankle}.  “Ummm, well, let’s see now…uhhhh…” they stammered as they tried to stop from staring at The Beast before them.  “We’ll see what we’ve got.”  They disappeared.

Eeeek!  I thought excitedly.  I wonder if they’re going to be hot pink?  Maybe have some of that sweet mesh overlay?  Teal could be fun.  Ooooh, those have teal AND bright green!  I can’t WAIT to see what sweet shoes they bring me to try on!!!!!  I was squealing like a child inside.  Never had I been so excited for a new pair of shoes.

Twenty-seven minutes went by.  I know this because my eyes were burning laser beams into the wall clock, wondering WHAT could be taking SO long.  “Deep breath,” I coached myself.  “They just have so many fun options they’re pulling for you to try on.”  Suddenly, one of the women rounded the corner carrying…

A box.

“A box”…as in, one, single, this-is-all-we-have-for-you box.

She stammered that they didn’t have much to fit this “type” of a foot.  Opening the box, my head tipped to the side.  Certain I was being Punk’d, I pulled out the largest pair of women’s tennis shoes I had ever seen in my life.  King-sized waterbeds could fit into these suckers.

{Interestingly enough, they FELT like King-sized-waterbeds when I slipped them on.}

The color?  White, of course.  White Out wouldn’t even be white enough to touch these bad boys up.  Really, really WHITE.  Whiter than than a man-thigh.

Too much?

Okay, so I bought the shoes.  The next day I wore them over an aircast to physical therapy, giving myself a pep talk the entire drive.  “Guuurl, you got this!  Be cool and confident!  Surely they aren’t as large-and-in-charge as you think.  I mean, it’s not like they’re Grandma tennis shoes or anything…{insert nervous laugh}…right?  Right?!  No, no, no…I would NEVER buy Grandma tennis shoes…{insert moment of panic}…would I?  WOULD I?!?!”

This internal conversation went on for the duration of my drive.  Taking a deep breath I stepped out of the car.  First my left foot.  And then my right.  I was standing on TWO feet!  I was wearing TWO shoes!  I was…

Click-Clack. {pause}  Click-Clack.  {pause}  Click-Clack.  {pause}

Looking up, I saw an elderly woman gripping her metal walker, slowly making her way in front of me.  “Nice shoes!” she said to me, as she pointed at mine and then down at her own.

Wouldn’t you know…this elderly woman was wearing the EXACT same pair of tennis shoes?  You can only IMAGINE what I was I thinking in that moment…

Click-Clack. {pause}  Click-Clack.  {pause}  Click-Clack.  {pause}

“Now THAT’S a rockin’, stylish Grandma!”

i just wanted nylons

The bottom of my pink and white striped pajama pants are currently sitting above my kneecaps.  Note: they are not capris…they are not shorts…they are pants.  You may be wondering how they could possibly be so short.  And the both logical and true reason for this is that they have somehow worked their way up under my armpits, pulled so uncomfortably high that I currently have the WWW {World’s Worst Wedgie}.

TMI?  Welcome to my blog.  Get used to it.

I am not ashamed to say that I have spent the entire…and I mean entire…day in bed.  And I’m not even sick.  For the past week, I have been looking forward to today, and what I intended to be the laziest day of my life.  I’ve succeeded.  This afternoon I even decided to order pizza, and contemplated asking the delivery guy to just bring it straight to the bedroom, but then wondered if my request would be misinterpreted.  Instead I took 7 minutes to crutch to the door after his insistent pounding and doorbell ringing.  By the look on his face I realized I should have done something about the WWW and the wild “ponytail” that had only approximately 4 hairs in it, coming straight out of the side of my head.

Last night I hosted a Merry Midwest Ugly Sweater Party at my house.  I was definitely still high on Percocet when I sent out the Evite, so at the time, hosting a party within weeks after major ankle surgery seemed like a brilliant idea.  On Friday night {*on crutches} I set-up a trail of chairs throughout my kitchen, dining and living room so that I could “hop” on my knees from chair to chair, sweeping my hardwood.  Hours earlier, I was standing on my couch…on one leg…while clutching the window trim with my fingertips, stringing Christmas lights.  And let’s not even talk about trying to run errands with one leg…

No, I take that back.  Let’s talk about it.

I have been really blessed the past 4 weeks with generous friends doing my grocery/personal shopping for me.  Gratitude and thankfulness do not even scratch the surface of how I feel about their help.  But I’m a fairly really independent person, and so last Tuesday night, there was this piece of me that just needed to feel independent again.  So, I decided to go to Target.

I crutched down my 4 flights of stairs, drove myself to Target, parked, and started to crutch inside.  It was dark out, but my face was already beet red from blushing…and I don’t blush…knowing what I was about to do.  Taking a deep breath, I stood awkwardly on my crutches next to the row of Mobility Scooters, half pretending like I was just waiting for someone and half trying to get the nerve to actually sit on one.

Well, it was just my luck that a sickly woman wearing a surgical mask saw me and limped over.  I must have looked pretty nervous, because she instantly started telling me that “she uses these ALL the time.”  For whatever reason, that didn’t make me feel any better.  Like a pro, she unplugged a Scooter and gave me the low-down on how to use it.  “Alright, now try it out!” she demanded.  It was obvious that she wasn’t leaving until I was safely scooting away.  After loading my crutches, I climbed on.  Four feet later, it died.

I know the sickly woman in the surgical mask was just trying to be helpful as she ran over to the check-out lines, wheezing “HER SCOOTER DIED!!!!  THAT LADY NEEDS HELP ON THE MOBILITY SCOOTER!!!!” but by this time, small children were starting to stare and Target service members were beginning to gather around me.  Let’s just say, this wasn’t the independence I was hoping for.

The drama continued with a non-working Mobility Scooter #2.  I told the growing crowd that it was okay, I’d just come back another day, but an eager high school boy said that he spotted one in the parking lot, which he ran out and got for me.  I was now sitting on Mobility Scooter #3, and glad to be leaving my cheering crowd in the dust.

It took about 9 aisles, but I finally got over the stigma that I was riding a Mobility Scooter in Target, and began to enjoy the gentle breeze blowing through my hair, and being out among human life once again.  My mission was to get a pair of nylons, so I began puttering over to the Women’s Intimates section of the store.  There was one thing that the sickly woman with the surgical mask did not tell me, however.  And that is the consequences of “Reverse.”

There I was, on an electric scooter.  In the Women’s Intimates aisles.  With a unibrow, no doubt.  And I hit a Dead End.  Kicking it in reverse, I was alarmed to hear the loud and obnoxious sound of a DUMP TRUCK beeping, echoing through the store.  People literally stopped in their tracks to stare at the girl in the Mobility Scooter, bouncing back and forth off racks of panties and bras, trying to turn around.

And then, just as I broke free, leaving a trail of black lace behind me…it died.

Yes, Mobility Scooter #3 died, RIGHT in the middle of the main traffic Target aisle.  People gave rude stares, like, what’s with the handicap girl blocking the entire aisle?  I wanted to explain to all of them that I was stuck.  Trapped.  But by the time I opened my mouth, they were already creating new traffic patterns to avoid me.  A 14-year old Target worker-boy had to finish my shopping for me.

Needless to say, I’ve had yet another humbling week in recovery.  It’s been a week of blushing and beeping as I tested my limits in the real world.  It’s also been a week where I’ve felt like a totally helpless child, calling a friend in tears, because I couldn’t manage to do my own laundry.  But the fun part is that it’s been a week where I’ve felt totally and completely like Super Woman, finding ways to vacuum, make my own bed, bake Christmas Cookies, and host Merry Midwest Ugly Sweater Parties all on 1 leg.

I guess it’s been a week of testing limits.  We have them, don’t we…as humans, we have limits.  That is one thing in life I easily forget, and yet another life lesson this surgery has reminded me of.  No matter how many legs I’m on, it’s healthy to remember that I can do a lot…but I can’t do everything.  I wasn’t created with that capacity.  Some days it absolutely KILLS me to look around my house and see what I “can’t do” or to remember what just 4 weeks ago I “used to be able to do.”

That’s why I’m in bed today.  This past week I told myself, alright, it’s Go Time!  Let’s see what your 1-legged-body is capable of!  And I pushed myself.  I did crazy 1-legged things.  Muscles in my body are hurting that I didn’t even know existed.  And it’s been this week of painful, miserable, FUN.  It’s fun to feel capable of normal-ish things…but I’m tired.  And my body HURTS.  Like the kind of hurt you feel after joining a Boot Camp at the gym on January 1st every year.  And now it’s like it’s January 2nd and I’m ordering bedside pizza with a throbbing Cankle and pajama pants hiked up to my underarms watching Home Alone.  Alone.

But I’m okay with that.

Because it’s good for me to learn how to give myself grace for being human…It’s healthy for me to remember that totally universal human truth: we have limits.  And yeah, let’s totally test them!  But at the end of the day, let’s also be kind enough to ourselves to accept them. {end self pep-talk. insert self-high-five.}

xoxo, jen

my chest is getting bigger

I am loved.  Note: I did not say I am loveable.  But for whatever reason, I am loved, nonetheless.

{uh, don’t argue with me…I’ve got crutches and I know how to use them.  See what I mean?  *nasty-scary-hormonal* watch out.}

Sure, I’ve got loveable qualities…like my good looks, my passion for hot pink nail polish, and my ability to watch You’ve Got Mail until a hole burns through the dvd {you didn’t even know that was possible, did you?}.  But deep inside there is an irritable-old-lady crossed with a know-it-all teenager crossed with a defiant 2-year-old.  As you can see, it’s a mess in there.

Before my surgery, I was praying for what this time would look like for me.  I had really big plans to spend my days surrounded by books, cups of coffee and tea, a pen and journal, and endless hours to just “soak up the Word”…as in, the Bible.  All day long I would be drawing closer and knowing deeper the character of God.

It’s been 3 weeks.  Let me give you a glimpse as to what life REALLY looks like…

I roll out of bed between 9:18am and 10:34am.  Not because I got a lot of sleep, but because I just spent the last 11 hours tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep for more than an hour or two at a time, woken from either: a) shooting-electrical-evil-i-hate-this-pain b) in a panic because my leg is caught in a bear trap…only to realize it’s my giant boot c) too alert to sleep after a day of mostly bed rest, but too disordered to read.  Bored out of my mind.all.night.long.

When I finally drag my sorry self out of bed, I groggily shove a crutch under each armpit and bang my way down the hallway to the bathroom where I pull out a folding chair from the corner, sit down, and spend Lord-knows-how-long trying to do simple things like reach for the face wash without falling on my face.

By now it’s time for lunch, and I haven’t even had breakfast yet.  Leaning on my crutches, I use a couple spare fingertips to open the refrigerator door, only to have it close on my arm before I’m able to reach for the bag of bread.  I start to fall over.  Luckily the stove catches me.  By the time I get the bread out, I’m covered in blood and bruises and I’m not sure what my name is.  Leaning on the counter, I one-handedly open a jar of peanut butter and contemplate the consequences of using a knife.  Too risky.  Instead I just shove a piece of bread deep down inside, up to my elbows in peanut butter.  I eat like a cave man, standing on one leg, and crutch over to the couch where I collapse in fatigue.  That just took 48 minutes.

Face covered in peanut butter and crumbs, I reach for my Nalgene on the floor.  I pick it up and 2 drops of water fall onto my tongue.  I start to cry.  Wah-ter.  {panting}  I just want some WATER!!!!  {see what I’m saying?  I’m on the verge of a real-life-2-year-old-tantrum here people.}  I unashamedly grunt loudly as I use one crutch and one arm of the couch to heave my body up onto my 1 good leg.  Swaying, I quickly grab the other crutch, hook the Nalgene onto a fingertip and make my way back the kitchen.  That just took 19 minutes.

Once I’m back on the couch, I rearrange the 11 pillows around me and under my bruised and swollen leg.  I pop a couple Percocet to numb the pain, even though I vowed I would wean myself off today.  Within minutes I’m feeling sleepy as the meds set in.  I glance over at my Bible, pen, journal and books sitting on the stand next to me.  Must.read.  Must.become.more.spiritual.  Must.make.good.use.of.this.ti…..

Zzzzzzzzzz….

Needless to say, I’ve felt disappointed with this time of recovery.  There has been nothing refreshing about it.  In fact, just the opposite has been true.  I’ve felt more crazy, more bored, more groggy and more unaccomplished than I ever have in my entire life.  That’s not even the worst part.  I’ve totally got a unibrow.

{shameful head hang}

Let’s just add more unattractive to the list and call it a day.

I’ve been disappointed because with endless hours in a day, I should be able to spend significant time getting to know the Lord better, right?  I should be able to invest deeply in my spiritual health.  I should have excess mental energy to pour forth into learning, knowing and growing, shouldn’t I?

I’ll be honest.  I haven’t been able to.  And yet, I somehow find myself brought to tears nearly every single day as God reveals his character to me through two very powerful, yet very unexpected words:

Ding-Dong.

My doorbell.  As I sit at the kitchen table, leg propped up on pillows, I watch a friend unload my dishwasher, make me toast and berries, take out my garbage, and bring me groceries.  Another friend comes over to make me lunch, and then asks, “Can I put fresh sheets on your bed?”…but then proceeds to also sweep, vacuum, and do a load of laundry.  Friend after friend has shown up with a home cooked meal, Panera to-go, Chipotle, fresh fruit, a Starbucks, and a heart of gold, as I helplessly receive what I do not deserve.  Can I take out your trash?  I brought you some magazines!  Can I pick up groceries?  I’m coming over to make you brunch!  How can I help?  Can I take you to church?

After 3 weeks of being loved like this, I find something very real, something very unexpected happening to me:  My chest is definitely getting bigger.

Wait, that came out wrong.

Weeping, I cannot help but feel this tightness in my chest every time someone loves me so well.  It’s my heart getting bigger…*which, bonus, I guess makes my chest bigger too.*  This “love in action” that I receive makes me desire, in great measure, to get up on my three legs and love someone else as I have been loved.  To make someone else feel as amazingly blessed as I have felt.  During this downright miserable time I have realized that even these days that I am not all that loveable…

I am loved, nonetheless.

My plan was to get to know God better by what I could accomplish during this time of recovery.  Typical.  As it turns out, he doesn’t need my help to teach me great lessons about who He is.  What I’m learning on this horizontal journey, is that no amount of books I read nor journaling I do can match the powerful lesson He has taught me through those two simple words.  Ding-Dong.  Without picking up a pen, and without re-filling my coffee cup, I have learned – and yearned – to love others as people have loved me.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35

Tall. Vanilla. Half-Calf.

No, that’s not my coffee order.  That’s me.  Tall. Vanilla.  And most recently…Half-Calf.

I wasn’t quite sure how long it would take for the inevitable muscle loss to set in.  But for the first time today, I noticed it.  My left calf is now…sigh…a Half-Calf.  Apparently 16 days is all it takes folks.  Sixteen days of immobility to become HALF your size!  *please check with your health care provider before starting an immobile lifestyle 

Two days after my surgery, I was online shopping for a poncho.  The beauty of a poncho is that you can camp out in it like a tent, but it doesn’t scream, “I give up” quite like a MuMu does.  I bought one.  When you’re on 90% bed rest, you just have to be prepared for the potential {inevitable?} chance that, very soon, your clothes aren’t going to fit the same as they used to.  Nonetheless, I was very pleased when I decided to wear REAL clothes {aka NOT sweats} on Day 15, and I could still button and zip my jeans without breaking a sweat.  All I can think of, is that it must be because of my “exercises.”

Last week I started physical therapy.  I’m non-weightbearing for 41 more days, so you can imagine the intensity {cough} of my workouts.  I spend a full hour at physical therapy 2-3 times a week.  There are some really difficult things involved, like getting a 15-minute foot massage…I know, life is hard, right?  I tell them each that it’s my “FrankenCankle” and they all laugh and make me feel like a million bucks.  Which is great, because they are charging me AT LEAST that for the next few months…

In recent days, it’s been a little defeating regarding how little I can move my ankle.  Of course it feels like it’s going to be like this forever {click here for some words of wisdom on the “F-word}…I think my physical therapist noticed how totally NOT-impressed I was with my progress.  In a Hallmark-moment, she put her hand on my shoulder and told me to look down at my foot as I did “my exercise.”  As we both watched the 1/4-inch movement happening over and over again, she said something I will likely not forget during this recovery.  “This one movement is going to be where you will be spending the majority of your entire recovery.  Though it seems small, the likelihood that you are able to recover from this surgery hinges on one thing, and one thing alone…how often you do this one, small movement.”

Every day ~ 3-5x a day ~ I lay on my back, take off my boot, and do this one simple movement, over and over and over again.  I want to FEEL progress.  I want to SEE big change!  I want new, challenging workouts that will WOW me and empower me!  But instead, I do this one, small, simple movement.  Over and over again.

Why?

Because the professional told me so.  Because supposedly, she knows something I don’t.  Because apparently, you can make great changes by doing one very small thing…over and over again.

I don’t see it yet.  I don’t see progress.  I don’t FEEL progress.  But I hear it’s on the way.  And something tells me that this life lesson applies to more than just Cankles and Kevin’s.

Maybe our relationships don’t need total overhauls.  Maybe strengthening our spiritual walks is easier than we think.  Maybe the progress we’ve been hoping for is within our reach.

One small thing…every day Sometimes, that’s all it takes.

life on three legs

Give me a P!  Give me an A!  Give me and EYE!  Give me an N!

What does it spell?  PAEYEN!

Well, that’s how people on Percocet spell pain anyways.

If you haven’t heard the news, things were worse than expected. Once I was happily anesthetized – {drooling uncontrollably, no doubt} – and my ankle was opened up, they discovered the Peroneal Brevis tendon was absolutely shredded.  Not just torn, but SHREDDED.  My Peroneal Longus tendon was 3x the size of what it should be…poor thing, it’s been working it’s tail-feathers {or tendon-fibers, more likely} off to overcompensate for it’s shredded counterpart.

My surgeon said it was among the worst she’s ever seen.  Or “most impressive” if I’m the competitive type.  {insert confident hair flip}…I just might be.  So, because of my “impressive” injury, they had no choice but to replace it with a Cadaver tendon, which of course, I’ve named Kevin.  They also opened up the back of my calf and lengthened the muscle.  My surgeon says that someday I’ll thank her…as I lay here 2 weeks post-surgery I realize:  today just isn’t that day.

Being one-legged has it’s pros and cons.  I can’t think of any pros right now…but they’ve got to exist.  For now, I’ll just stick to the cons.

First, my right leg is pulling all the weight – literally…meaning I’m rapidly building a Schwarzenegger-thigh.*

*not.attractive

Secondly, I’m like a helpless baby…but not as cute, and everyone refuses to carry me.*

*just one piggy back????

Thirdly…well, now I’m just starting to sound downright ungrateful.*

*curse this one-legged life!

I ran across the all familiar verse the other day, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.”  I began to ponder how the same goes for legs…until a few sentences later I read, “Three are even better…”  I’ve never met anyone with 3 legs before.  Well, unless you count that guy I met while starring on the Pirate TV Game Show last week {don’t you just love dreams on Percocet?}.  I also had a dream that if I got a job at Chick-Fil-A, I would get free liposuction…but I’m digressing.

Looking down at my 2 crutches and 1 leg, I had to smile.  Three are even better.  Turns out, life is all about perspective.

A friend sent me the video below, notifying me that “in case they need to amputate, you can join this crew.”  While my current list of goals has less “Climb mountains with my FrankenCankle” and more “Learn to make a bagel with cream cheese in under 25 minutes” I think the inspiring point is that no matter who we are, no matter where we’re at, our perspective of life will absolutely determine how we choose to live it.

“The right attitude and one arm will beat the wrong attitude and two arms…EVERY TIME.” – Pete Davis, Gimp Monkeys

Laughter is good medicine…but Percocet is better medicine.

Well, here I am.  One week post-op and I can clearly see that things are going to get worse before they get better.  What was once just My Cankle has now turned into FrankenCankle, a swollen, useless mess of a body part. Black, blue, purple, green, orange, red…you name it, this thing is every color on God’s green Earth.  The main incision is 8″ long.  Yeah people, 8 INCHES.  To my surprise {horror?} there is also a 2″ incision on the back of my calf, and 2 small-stitched puncture points on either side of the FrankenCankle.  I invited my mom into the room after they took the cast off 2 days ago.  She started to cry.  Who can blame her?  My FrankenCankle looked like it was straight out of a horror film.

The good news is…I’m highly medicated.  This not only means that every 4 hours {and bonus drugs in between for breakthrough pain} I’m receiving high doses of drugs that make me sleepy, happy, smarter {aka I talk about things I have no knowledge of as if I’m a total expert}, and extremely relaxed.  It also means that I get to eat a snack every 4 hours, which is always fun.  Snack time.  Who doesn’t like Snack Time?  *Disclaimer: I am currently highly medicated, so I therefore take zero responsibility for the content of this blog post.  Keep your expectations low.

I’m also on crutches, which means I’ve discovered a New Secret Talent…self-destructive Crutching.  I told my my mom {while on drugs, of course} that I was going to go, “Crutch around.”  I’m not sure what that meant, but I do know that I’m noisy, slow, and constantly crashing into things.  I’ve already pulled a muscle in my right arm.  Which is disappointing, because I kind of needed that arm.  Being down to 2 limbs changes things, you know?

I do have my um…well, you know…my chest going for me.  Today I found a phone charger, a spoon, and a non-slip-grip-sock down the front of my shirt.  This has been an unexpected, yet extremely useful body part.  A girl needs all the help she can get when trying to get dinner to the table on crutches…I’m just a little nervous about spaghetti night…

Showering has become the absolute most embarrassing experience of my life…and I’m the only one that has to watch, so you know it must be bad.  I have a chair.  Have you ever tried showering on a chair?  It feels wrong…very wrong.  There’s a lot of slipping and sliding going on…which is fun when you’re 7 years old and in a bathing suit on a backyard slip and slide.  Not when you’re a 31 year-old adult holding your FrankenCankle in the air so it doesn’t touch ANYTHING, while reaching for your Loofah.  No.  That’s not fun at all.

So because my left leg is functioning at a 0% level…and my brain-on-drugs is functioning at a 17% level…there has been one very specific thing that has been CRUCIAL to my survival.   My mother.  This amazing woman not only flew out here for a week, but made me every meal, tracked every med, brought me ice packs, got groceries, did my laundry, detailed my car, cleaned my house top-to-bottom, and put up with me as I’ve begun to adapt to this new lifestyle. Even though my excessive sleeping & meds prevent me from remembering very much from this past week, there is one thing that I will never forget, and that is my mom’s selfless help without complaint from the minute she woke up, to the minute she went to bed.  She left today, and so the new Adventure will be learning how to survive without her!

Alright, heavy…brain…fog…setting in.  Must.take.nap…

Till next time!  XOXO ~ jen

P.S. We took some video footage and pictures of the surgery & the week, and made a fun video…posted above!

i think i’m ready

In less than 28 hours I’ll be rolling into the hospital wearing sweats and signing my consent to things like “potential death, paralysis, and amputation…”  In less than 30 hours I’ll be lying on a stretcher being wheeled into a sterile room and given drugs that will make me feel oh-so-good for those 3 seconds before falling into blissful sleep.  Approximately 150 minutes later, I will be awoken to my new reality for the the rest of November, December and January: life on 1 leg.

I am sitting here in front of a crackling fire in my newly-handicap-accessible-living-room.  I’ve moved my couches to accommodate my Knee Scooter {laugh if you wish…} and crutches.  I’ve removed my area rug and coffee table from the room.  The room is stocked with firewood to last me the next 7 Winters, and I’ve got my Post-Surgery-Supply-Kit ready to go next to the couch.  What’s in a Post-Surgery-Supply-Kit you may wonder?  Well, mine has 5 unread books, my Bible, a notebook, a new set of Sharpie pens {a girls best friend}, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, my headlamp…and of course my Eye Creme, a gel eye mask, body creme, and lip gloss.  As you can see, I’ve got only the necessities.

I purchased a new backpack to haul my work supplies and groceries up and down my 4 flights of outdoor stairs that lead to my condo.  The freezer has meals in it, and the bed has fresh sheets.  I’ve got a Surgery Binder {because I’m a nerd like that}…that has all my prescription instructions, my post-op instructions, my Handicap Parking Sticker application {perk!}, my surgeon’s info, etc in it.  I’ve lived without a TV for the last 7 years of my life…but this week I broke down and bought myself a You’re-Having-Major-Surgery-So-You-Deserve-It-Girlfriend gift…a 39″ TV along with a DVD player.  And did I mention that I just got a Shower Chair?  Because I did.

So I guess I’m ready then?

{nervous gulp}

I guess I’m ready to have a 6″ incision up my left Cankle…er, Ankle.  I guess I’m ready to have a cast the size of Asia.  I guess I’m ready to give Knee Scooter rides to small children at the mall for a small fee {back-up plan if I quit my day job}.  I guess I’m ready to shower while sitting on a chair, one leg duct taped with TWO garbage bags over it, hanging out of the shower.  I guess I’m ready…?

So maybe there are a few things I don’t feel ready for.  Even a little nervous about.  Like EVERYTHING.  But I’ll tell you ONE THING that I’m TOTALLY ready for.  Three weeks off work {blissful sigh}.  I truly love what I do, but the last several months it’s been an absolute never-ending zoo.  Handicapped or not, I’m ready for some time to read and write…both of which I imagine are a lot more fun on Percoset {let’s be honest, most things in life are a lot more fun on Percoset}.  Yes, life will look different, and I anticipate some blog-worthy tales on that Knee Scooter during a Denver Winter.  But I’m ready for a breather from the chaos and a little time to step back and focus on the words, “Be still and know that I’m God.”  I’m much better at misreading it to say: “Be busy and know that I’m God.”  For whatever reason, that’s just not the way it was written.  There’s something to “stillness” that I find myself completely and utterly terrible at…but constantly desiring.

I know I’m in desperate need of this time to be still, quiet, reflective…and I have this feeling that I don’t even know why I need it.  Is it possible that God has something big stirring in your life…in my life…waiting around the corner?  Something that He is preparing you for…and you don’t even know it yet?  Sometimes that’s what these quieter, still chapters of life are all about.  I’d like to make it a priority during this time of physical healing to strengthen my spiritual being as well.  Because whatever is to come next in my life…

I’d like to be ready.