Three years and one day ago I was a "normal" person. I did normal things and I took for granted my normal life. My body worked the way it was supposed to. My life was busy as I carried on with all the normal tasks a busy mom of three needs to take care of.
Three years ago today a man ran a stop sign and t-boned my car. Last year, on the two year anniversary of the accident I described it like this:
Contents in the car went flying everywhere. My SUV spun a full 360 degrees on impact. My back tires were blown out. My body hurt instantly. The noise of the crash was akin to an explosion and heard from more than a mile away. When my car came to a stop it was facing the direction I had come from. There were skid marks on the street. There was debris from the accident strewn everywhere. I couldn't get out of my car because the door had been jammed by the impact. My left leg was swelling quickly, and something was terribly wrong with my right arm.
If you're interested, you can read the post about what my life was like at the two year point by going here. I wrote then, with tears streaming down my face, about the many changes my life had gone through in the aftermath of the accident.
I lost the use of my right arm as a result of the crash. Well, I guess I should say I lost most of the use of my arm. I'm right handed. Six surgeries later, I doubt very much if anyone would question the difficulty of these last three years.
A year ago when I wrote my two year anniversary post, I tried to put on a brave face. I can admit to you now I was in a lot of pain at the time and only some of it was physical.
It has been a long, hard, road.
There have been six surgeries … three years of physical therapy, numerous tests, painful injections and countless tears. The repurcussions to my social and personal life have been never-ending.
A year ago I knew my life would never return to "normal" but every ounce of my being was fighting the truth. I ached with missing my old life just as my body ached with pain. I was not in a very good spot physically or emotionally.
Everything hurt, all the time.
Many of you have been following along with me this last year and have given me a tremendous amount of support. I can't even begin to tell you how much your encouragement has meant. There have been days when I've really struggled only to find a galvanizing email waiting for me. So many of your comments and emails have carried me through some very tough days.
And now …
Now, I'm in a better place. It's far from a perfect place, but it's definitely a much better place. Have I accepted my "disability?"
I never will.
Have I accepted myself as I am now, post car accident? Yes, I think I have for the most part. I've accepted the evolving process of my limitations. I realize I've come a long way. I realize I can still make further progress. I realize I will never have full use of my arm again. I think I've accepted that. Just don't tell me I won't make any further progress or suggest I give up.
You can give up on me if you'd like.
Let's be honest here, a lot of my friends have given up on me. I know that.
Don't even think of asking me to give up on myself.
I ziplined through a rain forest with one working arm, remember
Don't think for a minute I will give up on myself.
There are terrible, horrible, setbacks. There are days when I'm so frustrated I want to scream. There are days of excruciating pain. There are days of dark, spiraling, depression when I want the world to join in on my pity party. There are days when I just can't see, for the life of me, the progress I've made and I want to throw things against the wall.
There are also triumphs. There are moments when I feel like I've climbed Mt. Everest because I've managed to lift my own arm another few degrees. There are days when I accomplish some small, inconsequential, task with my right arm and beam with pride because a year ago it would not have been possible. There are days when the pain isn't overpowering and I think, "I can live with this."
Have I ever had a choice?
When will I be done with physical therapy? I've asked my doctor.
When you stop progressing, he has answered.
I'm still making progress.
I'm grateful for that. For right now, still making progress is good enough for me.
© Twenty Four At Heart