August 8, 2016

54 Weeks | A Thank You

 Because when I try and convey how grateful I am I get shrugs and the reply of,
"This is what a family does."
Hence, this post.
Before my first surgery, June 2015 at Gettysburg
 It has been a long, hard year-plus since my first surgery. I won't go much into the nitty-gritty details because I chronicled enough of everything on here, my Facebook page and frankly--I'm so done recounting the details of the surgeries and days in the hospital and six weeks with a PICC line in my vein and so, SO many days using a walker and/or crutches.
What I want to recount today is the innumerable ways my amazing family has loved me through my darkest, quite possibly my most unlovable, and have sometimes quite literally supported me as I walked (or more accurately didn't) walk through this last year.
Picking out a Christmas tree, December 2015, on crutches after a short time of having my life back
I honestly think it was hardest on my parents--I can't even imagine the huge weight of being powerless seeing a child suffer. Even though all my surgeries served such good purposes to ultimately relieve my pain--Mum and Dad's huge hearts full of love and faith were tested as much as my own heart was. But still they never once complained, they shushed away the guilt I placed on myself, kept reminding me that just because I was literally laid up and helpless--I still had value and an irreplaceable spot in our family.
After Christmas Eve 2015 service at church--where I finally got into a holiday spirit
Thanks to Dad's hard work (and amazing insurance--thank you Jesus!) we saw not a bill, I was driven by the best chauffeurs around, my legs lifted by strong and steady hands when I was not allowed nor able to do so myself. And despite how his tender heart hurt for me--he is and was always ready with a hug and peck on the head when I needed it most. And we bonded over late night Jimmy Fallon a time or two, too.
And Mum. Propping with pillows, staying up late for infusions--longest six weeks of our lives--speaking tough loving truths over me that, yes Mum, did eventually sink in despite my thick skull and crises of faith. I don't know what I would have done without my entire family--but especially Mum. For all the times of butting heads and mutual tears--I have never seen more truly sacrificial love that the Lord calls us to: laying down ones life. It was immensely humbling to be on the receiving end of so much of that as I was utterly helpless for so long to even attend to intimate, taken-for-granted needs and tasks. That is what Mum did for me on a daily basis through all my surgeries and recoveries. It's what she has done for my entire life and I will never, ever forget this last year when the love of Jesus was walked out so beautifully by my mother.
At a dear friend's joyous wedding, March 2016. Two days away from 100% for my right hip.
 And my siblings. Much as we can all living together under one roof drive each other nuts--there are not any other three I would want as some of my best friends. Sara, my roommate I wouldn't trade for anything, stepped up above and beyond the call of duty this last year. Even in the midst of a ton of adulting adjustments, she helped fight to keep my spirits up, made memories with me even though I couldn't go anywhere, and also tough loved me out of a lot of funks.
Just the October weekend of my best friend's wedding I couldn't be at, Sara helped me up to our (former) room for the first time since July, and we watched Grey's Anatomy, and Grease, to keep me laughing...okay and crying at varying intervals.
April 2016, Ronnie's baptism. NO crutches! (I was leaning weird to hide my PJ pants)
Oh Ronnie. Adjusting to growing up, becoming his own person, figuring life and peer pressure and triumphing over a rocky year of school--he remains my Marvel buddy and an incredible helping hand. And comic relief roping me into playing MarioKart (and letting me win sometimes!) and binge-watching Agents of SHIELD. What's funny is that now that both hips of mine are replaced? We're the same height again! Also--scrolling through these photos? WHY DOES EVERYONE, ESPECIALLY RONNIE, NEED TO GROW UP SO FAST?! 
Vacation to Southport, NC May 2016
And Anna Banana. Our eleven year age difference means we have a Meg and Amy March-type relationship, to my mind. And oh, this girl. She may very well become a nurse or something like that when she grows up and goes out into the Great World. She was a sweet and tender caregiver, jumping up before a sentence asking for something was even fully out of my mouth. Taking after Mum anticipating needs, asking me if I needed anything and how I was feeling--she was and is a joy. One I am so glad to be here watching grow up into her own colorful person.
Really wishing this pic at Grammy and Buppy's for vacation May 2016 wasn't blurry!
This year was quite possibly the toughest year we've ever faced as a family. But we did it together, and even made so many sweet memories in the process. It taught me humility to let others help and love on me since I was helpless and could not lift a finger for myself. It showed me further depths of God's love exhibited in the living out of love from every single one of my family members. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that, as of today when I am cleared for 100% at 2:15(ish) Eastern standard time, that my chronic pain and cross to bear in the form of hip dysplasia, is finally, officially over.
Father's Day, a bittersweet one, 2016. Missing Zedoh. 5 days post-left-hip replacement.
To my family (Sara you'd better eventually read this): I could not have done this year without you. Thank you does not begin to cover it. I know I can be a pill and my impatient restlessness has been showing of late--but know I am not ungrateful or wanting to leave ya'll. Home is my safe haven. YOU ALL see me, and love me anyway and I know I can't ever repay you for the last year. Nor is there a need to. But just know that I love you all SO much. And even with all these words of mine (yes I know--brevity isn't a strong suit), there aren't enough to convey how full of love and gratitude my heart is for all five of you.
My 23rd Birthday, July 2016
It is mere hours until I am cleared for 100% weight bearing. On both legs, the same length, at the same time. The first time in a year. I get to put the crutches away for good. I get to drive home from the doctor's office. Just these few facts I've listed above? They may not seem like much but they are huge milestones, marks of a brand spankin' new season of life for me.
One I hope and pray to never take for granted.
As I told Mum after my last doctor's appointment--I will never forget the majority of my life thus far living with chronic pain. The lessons and reliance on Christ these years have taught me will carry me through, keep my heart soft and pliable as I walk every step through life without a limp.
Much like my surgical scars are only visible to me, so are the marks on my heart, soul and life from what the last twelve years--especially this last year--have taught me. 
Because that is what God has done.
And through Him all things work together for good.
Here's to a good future and
a hope that God has planned for me.