Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fully Healed - Oct 18

Last Tuesday, October 14, I had my x-ray. The previous x-ray, in April, showed bone growth but a significant gap. At that time, there was a real chance that I might need another major surgery - a bone graft. The x-ray before that, in December, showed no bone growth at all.

So, I prepared myself for an ambiguous, cautious answer from my orthopedic surgeon. Instead, he said this:

There's nothing more we can do for you orthopedically. The small gap that you see in the image is just an x-ray finding, the density shows that it's fully healed. You should have no limitations from the standpoint of the bone. I don't need to see you for a follow up appointment.

I wasn't prepared for such splendid finality. Fortunately, Melissa was. I played hooky from work for a few hours while we went out to brunch to celebrate. And this weekend ... I led some climbs and even took an unplanned lead fall. Whew! (here's a couple of pictures - Mark & Melissa in NH, Mark at the top of a climb, Teacup in a bag).

Hard to describe what this means - the ominous potential for another major surgery has been lifted. I am no longer convalescing; this chapter can close while we embark on the next. I no longer have to fear the tangle of insurance - trying to juggle two health plans just in case coverage is denied on my new employer plan. I am more than my accident.

Financially, we are so fortunate. To those that donated, your help allowed us to dip only partially into our savings this past year. And then, a friend covered even that gap plus all of my alternative care for the coming year! To many health practitioners, thanks for forgiving a portion of my debt. To Massachusetts, a humane safety net made all the difference. To various advocacy groups, thanks for coaching me on standing up to an unethical insurance agency. To Girls' LEAP, it has been tremendous to have work that was flexible and to which I could return at my own pace. And to the rock - thanks for leaving my head and heart intact!

We're even more fortunate in connections to people. When we went out to brunch, our waitress (who happened to be from Boulder, CO), asked what was the biggest lesson we had learned through the ordeal. Without hesitation, we both responded that it was the support of people - old friends, new friends and those that touched our lives. We couldn't have done it without you.