Life After Brace

I know it has been a really long time since I’ve updated my blog. I’ve been having trouble coming up with content that doesn’t seem incredibly mundane. However, I’m due for an update, so be prepared to be bored to sleep.

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I am back at work. Full time. I have been back at work full time pretty much since my brace came off. At first it felt very strange to be back. I was still very weak and sore and it was a little challenging figuring out how much I should/could do. I felt like an outsider despite everyone being very welcoming and friendly. The hospital has been very busy over the last few weeks and everyone has been working so hard which has made that alienated feeling disappear. I am much more comfortable and it feels so good to be doing a job I love so much with so many great people. It has been really good for me mentally to be back at work. Physically it makes me pretty sore, but each week seems to get a little bit better. I also keep my heating pad at work, which I turn on as I’m reading studies in my office.

Kelly doesn’t like that I’ve gone back to work. She wakes up with me at 5 and follows me around. This is her giving me the sad face in the bathroom.

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This is an old picture from last year, but that’s my lead vest and skirt. I am getting more comfortable wearing it again. The fluoro table and tower are to my left (most of it is cropped out). I am also gaining strength and getting more comfortable moving the tower around.

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And when I get worn out this is some nice relief:

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I am in physical therapy. It is hard and time consuming but I am making positive progress. My stamina and range of motion have both improved immensely. I am also trying to go to the gym in the mornings to either walk (my preferred exercise, spin, do the elliptical, or the stair treadmill. I really hate the gym, but House of Cards has made it more tolerable. Come on season 3! Between exercise, work, and PT, which is 3xs/week and usually between 1.5 and 2 hours each time, I am exhausted. It’s a good exhausted though, and I always prefer to be too busy over not busy enough. I am also enjoying the independence of being able to drive again. I may be this dork with obnoxious mirrors but I don’t care:

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The weather has been cold and dreary which has helped my constant internal debate over bike vs no bike, since it’s not great riding weather anyway. I do worry about what will happen in the spring when group rides, trips, and races start to pick up. The Greenville Spring Series started last weekend and that stung a little. I have been thinking more and more about hiking. It was something I did a lot of in graduate school. Kelty and I would go to the Red River Gorge several times a week and hike for hours and hours. I remember really enjoying it, but could it really be as good as being on a bike?

So, all in all life after brace has been pretty anti-climactic. I am happy to be moving in the right direction but parts of me are still really sad. I’m not sure what I was expecting exactly. I’ve had a lot of people say to me “something good will come from this” or “you will be so much stronger because of all of this” or other comments along those lines. I wonder when that happens. I feel like I’m not quite whole yet. Maybe it was supposed to be some kind of wake up call from something. Or maybe it just happened. Just a horrible, painful, challenging event that is mostly in the past and everyone just moves on. I won’t hold my breath waiting on the lesson or the blessing or the newly gained strength. I think I’ll just keep on keeping on grateful that I’m here to keep on keeping on.

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