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The usual view. Warm blanket. Wool socks. Coffee. Not pictured: my constant companion aka my dog.

Surgery number two was finished – and this road to recovery was longer than the first.

To be honest, although I didn’t experience the initial trauma that I had with my first surgery the weeks following this one were some of the most trying days I’ve experienced.

Most of all, those weeks were incredibly humbling. Those weeks reinforced in me the importance of asking for help, the importance of recognizing that I can’t do everything on my own. The practical translates to the significant.

My surgery fell on the Monday before Thanksgiving. It seemed appropriate that as I reclined in my bed eating turkey and stuffing, overwhelmed with a need for humility.

We couldn’t join the rest of our family for our traditional Thanksgiving (including a 5k). But we wore our shirts and were there in spirit.

I finished the fall semester in pieces, missing more classes than I thought I would.

To my professors: thank you for extending grace. To my section + friends at school: thank you for understanding and for helping me in so many ways.

I spent most of my days from November 24 through until Christmas in 3 spots: my bed, recliner 1, or recliner 2.

Going back to my high school to watch my brother play basketball (in a wheelchair)… Go #24. You were worth it.

Many friends + family came to visit, which meant just sitting with me and/or watching some sort of movie. Which was exactly what I needed. 

My family was so vital in those days.

Justin, thanks for making me grilled cheese.
Kate, thanks for saying “heart of a champion” more times than I could count.
Dad, thanks for watching Hallmark movies with me.
Mom, thanks for especially being my hero through it all.

My mom epitomized the role of a caretaker and nurturer. She helped me with the most simple tasks that I couldn’t do on my own. She helped me to laugh. She even forced me to list a few complaints every day.

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There are no words to thank my mom.

Perhaps best of all, she was my Friday Night Lights buddy. Several friends had recommended Friday Night Lights to me before, but I never had the time to watch it until I had more than enough time to watch it.

If you aren’t familiar with Friday Night Lights, the plot centers around a football coach, his family, and key members of the team. The football team has a mantra used repeatedly when situations are challenging, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” So with clear eyes, full hearts, and the unwillingness to lose, we watched Friday Night Lights and watched me slowly regain strength and mobility.

Crutches are waterproof.

I had many limitations at first, the biggest one being that I couldn’t bend my leg past 90 degrees – which is more difficult to follow than you might think. (Aka: forget putting your own pants/shoes on. Thanks, Mom.)

But in late December, a few days before Christmas, I went back to Lancaster Physical Therapy to begin my slow post-op recovery. My first therapy sessions simply manual movement/stretching techniques to get my hip functioning normally again. (My mom also learned these to do at home. Get what I mean by hero?)

We spent the week surrounding Christmas in Florida. I turned 21 with a crutch by my side. I switched from being confined to my bed to being confined to a chair at the pool (that was an arrangement I could handle).

The second week in January, over 6 weeks after surgery, I was finally cleared to be off of my crutches. Rejoicing. 

I began the spring semester a bit stir crazy and ready to take on a full schedule of physical therapy.

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Pretty sure I was better at parallel parking this than my own car.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

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