Six Months Today

Six months ago today my legs gave out from under me and I went through the rabbit hole of spinal cord injury and recovery. My surgeon initially told me to give it 6-8 months to see how much functionality came back; that’s been pushed first to 8-12 months, and now 12-18. But still, 6 months is a big milestone. Being told I was an incomplete paraplegic sent me to Google to figure out what that actually meant, and it scared the hell out of me. But there was hope in it as well and I’ve gained perspective, advice, and inspiration from others with similar injuries as we share stories and tips from our recoveries.

My doctor told me at my first post-op visit to work as hard as I could in these first months after surgery to get as much functionality as possible, and I’ve tried to do just that. It’s not easy but no one said it would be, and if I need to give myself a rest day, I take one. From what I understand, patients with severe spinal stenosis can expect up to 80% restored functionality, but it’s a mystery which patients get more and which get less. Sometimes nerves regenerate and sometimes they don’t. I’ve been advised that I might not see any additional improvements in the next six months and should try not to be discouraged.

I never thought six months ago that I’d be able to do as much as I can now. I was depressed and mostly helpless, unable to even stand without help. But now I’m home with my beautiful kitties, in a place that accommodates my physical limits, supported by friends and family. My new normal keeps resetting as I regain abilities but I can’t do everything. That’s okay as long as I keep trying to do as much as I can, and to remember to give thanks for all that I have.

Where will I be in another six months? That’s pretty far out. I’m just taking one thing at a time. Next will be a new set of custom AFO’s that will be fitted on Friday. I’m also adding in extra walking at least four days a week, as well as working on the NuStep almost every day. Hopefully a new wheelchair will be in my future in the next few months. But in six months? Maybe I’ll be using a walker instead.

Let’s hope I can figure out how to put my shoes on with the new AFO’s. That would be a game changer.

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