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Struggling with Setbacks

Yesterday I was lounging on our couch when my phone rang - "Dr. Callback Number" read the caller ID. I leapt up to grab it knowing that I was probably about to hear the results of a recent MRI. For the past four weeks I've been unable to use my prosthetic leg because of a weird lump. It's an uncomfortable word, I know.

My doctor's voice came through the line informing me that it was a bursa issue - bursitis. The short version of the story is that we could continue waiting it out, but even if it did resolve itself, it would be back in the future. Because bursitis is an inflammatory issue, it might be fine for months but it would always come back unless we operated on it to remove it.

More surgery. Deeper scars. Months before I have any chance of walking again.

I used to think I handled surgery gracefully. I often joke that I'm basically a professional at surgery. After ten ankle surgeries and procedures, knee surgery, wrist surgery, and heart surgery, I'm pretty adept at navigating the preparation and recovery process. I may have been around the hospital block once or twice, but I've come to the realization that I hate it. I'm tired of, and scared of, white-gown clad, mask-covered men and women cutting into me while I lay unconscious and helpless on a cold surgical gurney.

I'm committed to moving forward with life. The reason I chose this amputation path is because I wanted my life back. By definition, that means embracing the setbacks that come along in the aftermath.

But today, I can't embrace it.

Today, I'm throwing a fit.

Yesterday, I released a t-shirt design all about hope, but today I don't feel remotely hopeful.

But as my mom often reminded me when I was a kid, tomorrow is a new day. I'm pretty sure that's a line in a famous movie too, isn't it? So today, I'll taste hopelessness, but it won't make its home in me.

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