Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The lifestyle I Want to Live

"You're an ideal candidate for this procedure." The words were comforting, and a little scary, too.

My first recollection of a problem was pain in my right hip during a family vacation in December of 2006. Increasing pain and decreasing mobility, in spite of my many self-diagnoses and rehab efforts, led to a doctor's visit in 2010. That led to an X-ray, which led to an MRI, which led to a real diagnosis: severe osteoarthritis of the right hip. We're talking no cartilage left, bone on bone arthritis. It was due to an abnormality in the way my hip socket formed (not due to an active, runners lifestyle!)

I've lived with it for two years since then. About a year and half ago I talked to a surgeon about it. He wanted to do a full replacement and told me my running days were over. I told him they weren't. He insisted they were, and that's when our relationship ended. You see, I'm not interested in merely getting through the rest of my life pain-free. I'm interested in a certain quality of life, and that quality involves mountain climbing and tennis and golfing with my boys and playing ball with my grandson and, yes, running. Running is therapy for me; it's time to meditate and problem-solve and strategize and dream and listen to podcasts or music and pray and just feel alive and strong.

So I started researching hip replacements and came across a relatively new procedure that resurfaces rather than replaces the hip. It has an excellent track record. Candidates must be under 60, have good bone and muscle health, and engage in an active lifestyle. This procedure promises that you can return to all the activities you enjoyed before surgery - yes, even running. So I found a surgeon in our our area who is certified in this procedure and set up an appointment. Turned out he didn't accept my insurance. I set up another appointment with a certified surgeon in Grand Rapids. He moved. I found another surgeon in Battle Creek. I set up the appointment. That appointment was today.

He looked at my MRI. I was given a pair of really cool hospital shorts to wear so he could take another X-ray. (Pictorial proof is offered of this.) He gathered my history. We talked. And then the words "You are an ideal candidate for this procedure." I was excited at the prospect of being able to return to a fully active lifestyle. And frankly, a little anxious at the thought of surgery. But I was thrilled at the prospect of a return to the kind of life I want to lead; I was hopeful that I could be fully me again.

On the drive home, it occurred to me that it is so very easy to be talked into a lesser lifestyle than the one we really want to live. We "settle" when we don't have to, because we are told (sometimes by "experts") that we can't have the life we really want. We're been hurt too bad or we've sinned too much or we have been abused too greatly or we didn't get what we needed or we just got a bad break or whatever. Nay-sayers are everywhere.

Never settle. Keep searching. Keep working. Find people who will be your ally; who will believe in you and the life you want. And then, when you find a path, take it. It will be exhilarating and scary and hopeful all at the same time. But it will lead to you to the life you want. For with God, all things are possible.

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