Today is the one year anniversary of my spinal fusion surgery (T7-11). Today is the day I am supposed to have a sense of how I’ll feel going forward as the surgeon told me on more than one occasion – give it a year. Instead of ‘celebrating’ (whatever that would look like) I’m heading to my regular doctor to discuss how much my back hurts following a traffic accident last week. It is so frustrating to have all my plans for recovery and improvement ‘rear-ended’.
The weekend before the accident, my wife Jani and I were working out in the backyard together for the first time in over a year. At one point she stopped, looked at me and said, “David, you’re better. Two months ago you wouldn’t have been out here at all.” It was a beautiful moment of awareness – I am getting better; I’m feeling better.
Now I wake up and am afraid to move. I wonder: have I done more damage? Am I going to need more surgery? Will I have to live feeling like this the rest of my life?
As I held these thoughts and questions this morning I realized that I need to once again change my plans. I need to make yet another accommodation to the pain I feel in my back and the worry that rises in my heart. Rather than fly to Atlanta next week to be with my friends and colleagues with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, I think I need to stay home and take it easy. I missed last year’s meeting due to my surgery and now I am going to miss this year’s meeting because of how my back feels after a car crash.
A dear friend, Winston Charles, taught me to ‘welcome the day and all that comes’. On a day when I expected to welcome ‘healing and progress’ Yet I find myself today being invited to welcome (again) ‘pain and worry and having to change my plans in order to be okay’.