Do you ever wonder “Why me?” Whether that be with a loss of job, a breakup, or in my case, being diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia and the need for two PAO surgeries, its easy to ask that question. Often we have to trust in not knowing the answer to the why and move forward the best we can.
Throughout my life when faced with adversity (and I have had my share), my mind has gone to the dark side, and I wondered what my purpose in life was or would anyone notice or care if I was no longer on this planet. Certainly last year recovering from my two PAO surgeries I struggled to stay positive. I am stubborn as hell and fiercely competitive, which I think were the catalysts for my healing. However, I often felt lonely and depressed, laying in bed for an average of 20 hours a day with a broken pelvis, eagerly waiting for a visitor friend to bring me a meal, which was the highlight of my day.
And then, sometimes, the Universe can deliver an answer to why:
What if that answer is: “You are a better, stronger person now?”
Or, “You will never take walking, showering, or doing anything pain free for granted again?”
Or, “You can help and inspire others with your story?”
Or, “You have fixed hips which enabled you to save a person’s life?”
Yes, yes, yes and yes.
Next Friday is my 9 month post op appointment (right PAO 12/16/15) with Dr. Bellino at Stanford, and I am eager to tell him the story (short version) of the ultimate gift: that thanks to him, I have fixed hips, which enabled me to run and maneuver and squat to assist in a medical emergency (name and gender withheld for privacy):
Evergreen is a small town nestled in the Rocky Mountains just west of Denver but at an elevation of 8000 feet. Last weekend was the Evergreen Fine Arts Festival, an art show ranked as one of the top 50 art shows in the country. Needless to say I was thrilled to be upgraded from the wait list to being a vendor.
Sunday morning was crisp and clear, with a hint of fall in the air. I saw 2 deer and an elk as I drove up the canyon from Morrison to Evergreen. Once I parked my car in the artist lot, which was about 1/2 mile away from the venue, I took a deep breath of the cool air and looked at a fellow artist, who was getting on a bike to ride from the artist parking lot to the venue, which was 1/2 mile away. I decided to walk and not take the shuttle; with a walk I could enjoy the morning and get a little exercise before “parking it” at my booth for the next 8 hours. As I was walking up, I noticed the bike was on the ground and a person who was not the cyclist was on the phone. I immediately went into rescue mode (I have been trained in First Aid and CPR for over 20 years) and sprinted across the street (of course I looked for oncoming cars!). The person was on the ground unconscious, and as I gathered what little info I could from the person who was on the phone with 911, I proceeded to scuttle down the ditch and assess the situation. Once I determined there was a pulse, I determined the person was not visibly breathing (“look, listen, and feel”). I opened the mouth with my hand by opening the jaw, keeping the person still and a big gasp of air occurred. I kept the mouth open and with the help of two other Good Samaritans, whom I instructed to keep the person still until the paramedics arrived.
The story has a happy ending, this person is alive and doing OK. I had a very heartfelt conversation with the person’s spouse, and the one time that I got choked up with tears on the phone was when I explained that if it wasn’t for me having fixed hips and being able to sprint and then go into a deep squat and hold that position for minutes, I may not have been as capable to help. At that moment, I understood the “WHY”. This is why: we are all connected. There are no accidents. I feel so blessed to have had an amazing surgeon and his staff, as well as my Physical Therapist, to empower me to be a new, better version of me; a pain-free version of me who can give back! Before my PAO’s I couldn’t walk without intense pain, let alone even run or even think about scuttling on uneven ground. And forget about squatting.
So if you find yourself wondering “WHY ME?” know that the answer may be waiting for you…