The Skin I’m In

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I never take movement for granted, least of all pain-free movement.

Last year I was unable to take a step without a shock of arthritic pain blasting through my body. Daily hand-fulls of over-the-counter pain killers dulled the pain only enough to allow me to go to work and come home.

At 11, I’d had surgery for a condition called ‘slipped capital femoral epiphysis’. That’s a mouthful. Anyway, 37 years, 4 children and who knows how many pounds later, I was in trouble.

Enter the internationally noted orthopedic surgeon, James Cobey, M.D. I’d done my research. I knew of his participation in Physicians for Human Rights, and the thousands of free surgeries he’d performed in developing countries. He glanced at my x-rays and told me my prognosis: I needed hip replacement surgery. No surprise there.

I was surprised by other things. My insurance company’s wrangling over coverage and refusing to provide rehabilitation or physical therapy. So much for government employees’ Cadillac health care. I was surprised by the length of the snakelike scar which still wraps around the left side of my body. And I was surprised by the pain and the humiliation I felt while walking with crutches, then a walker, then a cane.

Almost a year later, the healing of my body and the healing of my soul are simultaneous. I started with Yoga at the local dojo. Now my visits to the gym include exercises that I could only have imagined before. A treadmill!! Me? I run and listen to my favorite music while working through the anguish of fearing that I’d never walk properly again. I run to restore my bruised ego, to achieve the body I’d always hoped for, and I run just to prove that I can.


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One response

  1. Wow. What an amazing and inspiring story. Yours is a testament to the infinite development of the human will and the sheer and daunting power of faith. I am utterly amazed. Amazed and slightly speechless. Not because it is an unbelievable thing, but because of who you have become and how you have transcended pain–of all sorts–through this enormous challenge: Giant that you are. Today I take a moment to reflect on your victory.

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