Posted by: Jenny | May 12, 2009


Have you ever felt as though you lost a chunk of your life? I imagine it’s what bears feel when they emerge from hibernation. Having undergone spinal surgery December 2 and spending the bulk of winter re-learning how to walk, I find myself  feeling as though I fast-forwarded through 5 months of my life.

Road projects sprung up while I wasn’t looking. Friendships at work have blossomed and evolved from where they were in the fall. My youngest son completed his freshman year of college, but what I remember is taking him to Ball State one humid August afternoon.

It’s May now. Buds are big on the peonies near my back deck; the tulips and daffodils have come and gone, and my bedroom windows are again cloaked in privacy by the tree in front. I saw my surgeon yesterday for my six-month follow-up, and could faintly see the fine spider-web of new bone growth in my spine.

I always have a fresh sense of renewal at Easter, but this year the feeling has lingered far past the actual day. I shudder to think where I would be, mentally as well as physically, had I not had lumbar fusion. The pain of the past year has been a perpetual Lent, with no hope of resurrection in sight. The small and not so small victories I’ve had since December propel me toward summer. Joy in being able to sit through my daughter’s concert. Amazement that I can spend an hour digging in my garden and not be crippled the next day. Wonderment that I can think of something, anything, other than my own misery.

I think of myself as a “glass always full” type of person, and that’s a blessing. Challenges come and go; happiness and contentment are independent of those challenges. Sometimes my glass is pretty damn small…but it is always full. The past year rattled that essential component of my spiritual being, and that’s when I knew enough was enough.

Patients are cautioned profusely that lumbar fusion is not a fix-all. It is known to fail as often as it meagerly succeeds. My own surgeon said that only 60 percent of patients can report feeling 60 percent better. Not exactly words of confidence. But when you know that having a chance to feel marginal improvement is better than what you’re living with, it seems like a full glass.

I can again enjoy sitting on my back deck after work, listening to the neighborhood sounds, brainstorming about landscaping ideas. I’m out here now; boys are playing basketball, birds are making me nuts with their constant chatter, and the dogs are chasing each other around the yard. The dead trees in the yard are an affront to me. The fence is decrepit and I cannot stand the site of either one. The old, dead and ugly need to go.

 I’ve emerged from my hibernation.



  1. I look forward to each new posting. I feel I get an insite to the mind of at least one of our children. Letter writing is a lost art in our fast paced world, too bad, we express emotion not often found in the spoken words.


  2. The season of discontent has passed. The blossoms of a new beginning have poked their heads out to see the sun for the first time in what seems an eternity. The blades of grass once again sway to and fro as the winds blow away the last remnants of the bleakness of winter. You are alive…..once again……


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