The Chaos and Beauty of Change
Updated: Apr 25, 2019
“If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies.”
Total Knee Replacement has been one of the best thing that has ever happened to me.
What? Yes, you read that right.
It took the chaos of the recovery of bilateral joint replacement for me to appreciate the beauty that can be found in change- and how to embrace change for the best.
The “me” before joint replacement was perpetually in pain. I had been in pain for so many years, I didn’t realize how bad the pain was. It was my everyday. I woke up in pain, it amplified as the day wore on, I fell asleep in pain. That was my everyday. It was my “normal.”
Thankfully, Nothing Lasts Forever.
Now there’s the “me” after joint replacement. I wake up, plant my feet on the floor and take a millisecond to register that there is NO PAIN. That makes a even a cold, gray day seem brighter. I walk and move and exercise and stroll and climb stairs and walk some more- and if I feel pain- it’s usually just a twinge or so every now and then, and that’s a change, my new “normal”- just a little reminder to possibly ease up a bit.
And I’m thankful.
Change is a necessary, natural part of life.
Finally making the decision to undergo joint replacement is a big one.
Let’s get real- joint replacement is elective surgery- not emergency surgery.
You will certainly live without having your knees or hips replaced. Is this change necessary? Maybe not life or death necessary, but for me personally, it was quality of life necessary.
When making the decision about whether or not to have joint replacement done, look at your current quality of life. Is there room for improvement? Do you believe improvement will come once you have healed from the surgery?
Change leads to growth. You’ve done your soul searching, you feel this change is necessary, as I did. You agree your quality of life will improve if you have this surgery, you have made the decision to do it.
Now it’s time to grow through what you go through.
The changes this surgical experience brings along are potentially big. You are strong, and you will be prepared for the changes and embrace them.
Finding a support system is the key for this. A friend, a group, someone you can bounce questions and feelings off of. You will need a sounding board and if possible someone who’s traveled the path before you to offer advice as you navigate your own journey.
Change can be challenging and uncomfortable, yet beneficial. There’s that growth part!
Move out of your comfort zone and make it happen.
It most certainly won’t be easy- but that should never be the reason why you don’t try.
Keep moving forward. Even slow is forward. You will get there and you will be better than ever once you get there.
Change is best dealt with by keeping your mind open, be inquisitive, don’t be afraid to experiment.
Unless you happen to be an orthopedic surgeon, it’s not likely you are going into this with any true expertise in the field. Ask questions. Understand the procedure, understand the recovery, understand what is expected of you.
Experiment, within safe limits of course, with your recovery. Every body is different and will heal differently. What worked well for me, may not work for you. Different approaches to a problem may yield different short-tern results, but as long as your medical professionals approve, how you get to the finish line is not as important as getting there.
Just listen to your body and your medical team. Try your hardest not to compare yourself to other patients.
You will heal- on your terms.
Change can be trans-formative. I recently came across a quote,” If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”
When I think about the transformation my joint replacement surgery has provided me- both mentally and physically- it is overwhelming! It makes me smile.
The pre-surgery “me” never would have believed these changes would have ever been possible. The post-surgery “me” knows just about anything is possible if you just try.
Put yourself out there, give it a go. Without a doubt, the most incredible transformations of mind and body will come from a process you put your entire self into.
Again, finding a good team to coach you through is key. Like minded folks to help you to your finish line.
Change builds character. Change teaches you a whole lot about yourself- sometimes good, sometimes bad- take that time to reflect on what the change is showing you- and amplify the characteristics you want to see. Do you like the person who your are changing into? If not, stop right there. Regroup. Revisit what it is you don’t like. If we’re talking physical issues, be sure to trace beneath the surface, as hard as we work physically, if we don’t correct our minds, we’ll never correct our bodies.
Change brings about new beginnings. New opportunity. Sometimes new struggles. How you tackle them is up to you.
Another quote, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
How are you going to process the changes that come about? Will you feel the acute post-op pain, recoil and decide you won’t go to physical therapy? Or will you take your prescribed pain medication, go to physical therapy, work to your best ability and get stronger every day? If your new joint needs an unexpected revision a few weeks after your initial surgery, will you let that slide you into a deep depression? Or will you brave the revision, work through the additional therapy and get that joint moving the best you possibly can with the help of your medical team, and possibly even find someone to start talking to about your feelings?
Change is foreign, change is difficult, but change can be liberating and truly refreshing. I hope you embrace your change.
When your OpportuKNEEty Knocks, I hope you listen!