So today on the way home from a lovely trip visiting our daughter at college, my son suggested we listen to the Beatles.
I have always loved the song Let It Be. It has always served as a reminder to let go of what I cannot control( which is basically most things…) The tears started leaking while the song played. Today is the 18 month anniversary of the Multiple Fuckenings. March is also MS Awareness month- how timely.
So I am currently reflecting on how far I have come since waking up in that Nashville hotel on 9/1/18 and realizing my left arm was “gone”- wasn’t it just a pinched nerve?!
Thanks to the endless patience of my OTs and PTs, I learned how to write with my right hand, put my contacts in with my right hand( SO MANY CUSSWORDS), get dressed an entirely different way( who knew that was even a thing?!), wash my right side and shave my right armpit with my right hand, use pumps for stuff like shampoo and conditioner because I couldn’t grip or make anything squeeze out. Sleeping an entirely different way ( only on my back) with my left arm supported at all times and NEVER EVER sleeping curled up on my left side – my favorite way for 46 years…Then once my left arm and hand FINALLY started “waking up”- this is when all the re-learning of how to use it began. And I had to make it work while always being extremely cautious to not tear my rotator cuff and learning how to maneuver it while it easily subluxated out and/or dislocated itself. So that was fun- still is- it provides endless opportunities for cussing. Thousands and Thousands of dollars went into the partial recovery of this part of my body. For so long, I actually could not Let It Be because so much vital energy went in to recovering and making it work again despite the limitations- PT 3 times a week, PT at home, practicing activities of daily living- always being mindful and intentional of not doing further damage. This is just a part of my normal life now.
Each milestone continues to bring such excitement and relief. Like the first time I was able to shave my right armpit with my left hand- Y’all- this was AMAZING and I was ecstatic in that shower- I still have to do this with intentionality and making sure when I am crossing it over that my scapula is engaged in a down and back position but I can do it! Washing my hair with both hands! Using my left hand to put lotion on my right side- another win! The first time I was able to make pasta for my family- you have to be able to use 2 hands to carry a large boiling pot of water to the colander. The first time I could use the oven with heavier dishes that required 2 hands and not just one to take it out of the heat. The first time I could practice yoga on my mat- modifications are a learning curve but it is still yoga! I could go on and on about ALL of the little things I had taken for granted my whole life.
The last major milestone was just last month- Being able to use my left arm to pay the cashier at a drive-through- at my bank, at my pharmacy, at a fast food restaurant- this is a MAJOR TRIUMPH!! I have dislocated it a couple of times but I know how to get it reset now and I always know my massage therapist can do it when I am fortunate enough to be on her table. And, let’s be real- I am used to pain now- I am a badass sometimes with handling it- not all the time- I have many moments of self-pity and despair and anger AND I am still a warrior. Warriors cry and are exhausted and feel all the things emotionally and physically and are badasses.
So now I am in a place where I am gradually able to Let It Be. My whole left side is always weak and uncomfortable by the end of the day- no matter what I do or don’t do that day. My first OT explained that this would likely be the case for the rest of my life. Its just a normal part of MS symptoms from a huge initial attack.
And sleeping on my back in a supported position is just the way it is now. Thank you to medicine that helps me sleep!
I still struggle with letting this be but I am making peace with it now. What other choice is there, really?
So as I continue to Let It Be, May we all practice Letting Whatever It Is Be.
May we Thank the Beatles for creating such a powerful piece of art to remind us. May we sing it with tears of sadness and joy and peace.
And a grateful thank you to my sweet son who wanted to listen to The Beatles today.