Dancing to Remember

Here’s my story. At age 67 I’m a very active, high energy woman. I swim daily, I walk daily, I teach ballroom dancing with my husband and I like to travel. In June 2018, I started having difficulties walking due to pain in my right leg. I went to see my doctor who referred me to specialists who sent me for tests at the hospital. My back, my hip and my sacroiliac joint were investigated without any results. In the meantime, the pain in my right leg was getting worse. By end of June, I could no longer walk, dance or swim. I had to buy a cane to help me walk a few steps. By middle of July, the pain was excruciating and I was waiting to see an orthopedist at Re-Balance. It’s a wait of approximately 6 to 9 months.

On July 19, 2018, while I was in my bedroom getting dressed, my right femur shattered under me. I fell to the floor like a rag doll. The pain was excruciating. My husband dialed 911 and I was taken by ambulance to the RJH trauma room where my leg was placed in a splint and I was given painkillers. The trauma of the sound of my femur breaking prevented me from being able to close my eyes. That’s all I could constantly hear. I was operated on the next day, and a titanium rod was inserted in my leg. I awoke after the operation with my leg swollen and immobilized. I was confined to bed and remained in the hospital for 8 days. I was taking high dosages of drugs, could not sleep and fell into a deep depression. I could not believe that with the pain in my right leg, not one doctor could find what was wrong with me. All this time, one and a half months in total, my femur was slowly breaking. I have osteoporosis and I was taking a medication named Fosamax which was supposed to rebuild the bones, but unknowingly the side effect was shattering of the femur.

As I could not move, get out of bed, or put any weight on my swollen leg, my healthy life habits fade away. While in the hospital, my good friend Joy suggested I read Silken’s book, Unsinkable. Joy kindly got it for me and at that moment I knew that I could climb to the top of the mountain in front of me.

With strength, courage, my husband’s support and care, physio, exercises and a goal, I decided that I would climb that mountain and enjoy my life again.

It was not easy. I was brought back home by ambulance and became totally dependent on my husband who cared for me 24/7. For the first 6 weeks, I could not put any weight on my leg and I had to hop on my left leg. I had to sleep on the couch as I could not negotiate stairs; I could not shower because of the stairs. My husband kindly gave me daily sponge baths. Some days I was discouraged and depressed and was having difficulties seeing the summit of my mountain. I was envious and jealous of everyone walking by my window. My summer was spent on my living room couch but I was determined to walk, swim and ballroom dance again.

I gathered my courage, my strength, and my wheelchair and I started to rebuild my strength one day at a time. I graduated to a walker then to crutches and then could finally use a cane. I contacted Silken by email and her responses provided me with the strength I needed. I knew that if she could do it, so could I.

Now, we are at the end of January 2019, and I can walk without a cane. I have resumed my swimming and will be able to dance a little during my upcoming holiday.

I still can’t negotiate steps nor can I walk very far, but this life changing experience has given me a new meaning of the word APPRECIATION.

Every day is a gift: opening my eyes is a gift, so is getting out of bed and feeling the floor under my feet, walking to the bathroom, having a shower on my own, going outside for a walk by myself. All that life had given me is now back in my hands. My attitude has changed: I’m more positive, I have more respect for others and I will always be grateful to my patient husband who has been beside me all the way. My circle of friends had a very strong healing power on my recovery. I’m still healing and I will eventually conquer the stairs I still can’t climb, but I am whole again, independent and thankful to have had the privilege of encountering Silken while she was in recovery in Maui. Thank you to everyone in my life who was there for me to help me with each step and for believing in me. I believe in me.