Seven Years

Yesterday was the seven year anniversary of my car accident.

Seven years.

It’s inconceivable to me seven years have gone by.

I spent the morning of my “anniversary” with Paul Newman.

I suppose that was an appropriate place for me to be.

We talked about my arm popping off my body and into his arms last week.

In a way, it was a good thing it happened because now he really understands what I mean when I tell him,

“And then my arm fell off.”

I don’t think anyone has really understood before – but, now that my arm fell off in his hands – someone does.

(It would be nice if understanding a problem solved it, but I’ll settle for understanding.)

Anniversaries promote reflection.

Seven years post-accident,

I’m feeling genuinely pleased because I’m able to do more now, physically, than I’ve been able to do since the accident.

I’ve come a long, long, way.

My arm/upper body definitely continues to improve, albeit slowly.

Will my body ever be “normal?”

I don’t think anyone expects it will be.

But, never say never – right?

Back in the nightmare years,

No one expected I’d come as far as I have.

I’m also getting better at adapting to my injuries.

I can do more with my left (non-dominant) hand/arm/upper body than ever before.

I’m still (very!) uncoordinated as a lefty, but not quite AS uncoordinated as I was even a year ago.

It was such a struggle to do anything left handed during the first few years.

It’s also amazing what I’ve learned to lift with my neck.

Most of the time, I’m in less pain now also.

OK, maybe not today … but, if I step back, I realize how much better my pain levels have gotten.

(Thank you Paul Newman!)

Speaking of Paul Newman,

I have some extraordinarily talented people taking care of me.

There are no words to describe how grateful I am for the people who have helped me along this journey.

My orthopedic surgeon, my pain management specialist, and (of course) my physical therapist (who  puts up with me  sees me more than anyone) are exceptionally great at what they do.

They’re genuinely compassionate, good, people and they’ve repeatedly gone above and beyond to help me.

I’m lucky.

I’m also SO fortunate to be doing photography again –

The activity I love most.

And yes, I do have many limitations in regard to how much, and how often, I can shoot, what lenses I’m able to work with, etc.

But?

Limited or not, I can do what I love.

There were a few years when I couldn’t.

When everything gets taken away from you, your heart learns to feel gratitude and appreciation with so much more depth.

Sometimes, I still ask, “Why me?”

Sometimes, I have days of utter frustration at the things I can’t do.

There are pain flare-ups which seem endless when I’m going through them.

But, things are BETTER than they were a year ago.

And much better than they were three years ago.

Am I still living with chronic pain?

Yes.

Will I always live with chronic pain?

I hope not.

Do I still have very limited use of my right arm?

Yes.

But, I can do a lot more than I could a year ago.

Will I gain more use of my arm in the future?

I believe I will.

I hope so.

If nothing else,

I’ve learned to appreciate the progress I can obtain by taking the smallest of baby steps.

Have I mentioned how grateful I am for where I am now?

8 Responses to “Seven Years”

  1. Missy

    I’m so happy for all your “small” achievements because they add up to a hughly sucessful effort on your part!

    • Suzanne

      It has been a long, slow, path …
      I have to look at things over the long term, because it’s so hard to see changes on a day to day basis. But, it is good to be moving forward – however slowly!
      : )

    • Suzanne

      Thank you.
      Remind me to re-read it next time I feel frustrated or have a bad flare-up!
      : )

  2. Erica

    I appreciate your ability to take pictures and I am at least one step removed from you. Keep improving physically so you can continue to do the things you were meant to do, despite the accident. 🙂

    • Suzanne

      Thank you!
      I definitely plan on continuing to improve!

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