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A New Unit of Measurement

Updated: Feb 19, 2019

Author: Julie Urban is a full-time mom to two daughters, a freelance writer, and a former high school teacher.

I sit here at the computer trying to come up with something motivational and inspiring to say to my fellow “hippies,” that is, to others who’ve had a hip injury like mine. I had labral repair surgery four months ago, and now that I’m on the mend, I want to inspire others to see the light in the darkness, but it’s hard to know what to say when the pain in my hip keeps nagging at me.

Three days ago, I celebrated my thirty-seventh birthday by going sledding. I was nervous beforehand. “Am I ready for this? Is this a good idea?” I wondered. I wasn’t worried about the sledding down part; it was the walking back up part that gave me pause. But my children were so excited and my best friends were going to be there with their children and I wanted to have fun on my birthday. My babysitter canceled on me which meant my birthday date with my husband was subsequently canceled and it had been so long since I did anything resembling an athletic activity. So, I went sledding and it was fun! I only went down the hill a few times so that I wouldn’t have to walk back up too much. But then I went home and realized that I was right to have reservations about sledding. I had to ice my hip and pop a Norco or two that I had been prescribed after surgery and hadn’t needed to take for months.

I am all smiles!

In the days following my sledding adventure, I’ve had to take Motrin regularly and ice my hip often. I’ve had to cut back on my normal activities, activities that I had just began doing again following my surgery. I’m feeling frustrated, annoyed, a little angry, a little sad. These feelings, though, are nothing new to me. I’ve cycled through them over the last four years. I first felt them when I was trying to get a diagnosis for my back pain and again when I finally got one. The feelings re-emerged when I was recovering from my back surgery and also when it became clear that something was still wrong. I felt them when I was trying to get a diagnosis for my hip and again when I finally got one. Now that I’m recovering from another surgery, those same feelings have returned.

So, how do I inspire people with my story when I’m currently feeling these negative emotions caused by my pain and limitations? More importantly, how do I inspire myself to work through it all?

I must remind myself of where I am today and how far I’ve come. Five months ago, I wouldn’t have gone sledding at all; it would have been too painful and injurious. Today, I’m hurting and having to take it easy this week, but now I remember that last week wasn’t so bad. Actually, the last month was pretty good. I’ve been cooking regularly and doing most of the household chores once again. I’ve been going shopping without limping or being in pain. Driving no longer causes me to become sore. Yes, life is definitely getting better for me despite the setbacks.

I will have to use a new unit of measurement to judge my fitness these days. I can’t run a 5K or do Pilates (yet), but I can do activities that I couldn’t have done prior to and immediately after surgery. This recovery is a long, slow process, much too slow for my personality, but each day I’m able to do a little more and I move towards having a normal life again.

So, maybe I can’t inspire anyone through my story. Maybe it’s because I’m having a bad week or because I’m not far enough into my recovery. That’s okay. Instead, I hope that my story will provide some insight to my fellow hippies who are struggling. Let’s remember to use a new unit of measurement to judge our progress and to always keep things in perspective. Let’s remember not to say “I can’t do that” and instead say “I can’t do that yet.” Let’s remember that we can’t control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we react to it. Finally, let’s remember to be patient and kind to ourselves.

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