I had to have my right hip replaced a few years ago at the ripe of age of forty-four. I am fifty-one years old now and my life has changed considerably since then. First of all, I ended up having a total of ten surgeries on the hip and ended up having to have the new hip removed. I had so many complications with the new hip and so much damage to the hip bones, that now, my doctors believe they will never be able to put another replacement back in. So, I, for all intents and purposes, do not have a right hip. There is an empty gap between the top of my femur, the thigh bone, and the little bit of hip socket that is left. I might add that I had two very bad infections in the hip during all of this time that contributed to the problems I have with it today.
I cannot begin to explain in words the physical pain or the mental anguish I have suffered. I had just had a new baby boy, Tyler, at the age of forty-two. My husband, Tom and I, were so happy about the birth. We had one other son, Joey, who was twelve years old when his brother was born. Tyler was our little surprise. I thought I was going through an early menopause, but lo and behold, my doctor informed me that I was pregnant. We were all so happy and we made so many plans for our new family member.
However, none of those plans came to fruition. Two short years later is when all of this nightmare began. So many people have asked me how I can continue to be so positive and upbeat when my life has changed so much, so quickly. They cannot understand how I can sit in this wheelchair, put up with pain on a daily basis and not be depressed. At first, I was depressed. I asked God every day, why me? Why did you give me this wonderful husband, beautiful children, and great life, then just pull the rug out from underneath me? What did I do in my life to deserve this? I can’t remember all the questions I asked God in those early days of my illness. All I do remember is that I was driving myself crazy and everyone else around me too. I started out by pitying myself. Next, I became angry and bitter. I became so depressed that I really did not want to live anymore. I knew that I had to accept what happened to me and go on somehow or I was going to end up either in a mental hospital or dead. I had no idea of what to do with all of these feelings I had.
But, God helped me. Why me turned into Why not me? Did I think I was so special that nothing bad was ever supposed to happen to me. Surely, enough good things had happened to me in my life. And good things still happen to me. I just had to learn to live my life a different way. Yes, it is much harder for me being disabled, I have to admit that. However, I truly believe that adversity definitely builds character and makes you stronger. I many not be as physically strong today, but I am definitely mentally stronger. I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. I have bigger things to worry about. My Tyler is nine years old now. He is a pretty well adjusted, happy little boy. My husband and my oldest son, Joey, are just great. Everyone in my family help me to cope and to do or get whatever I may need. I spend most of my time in a wheelchair, but I can walk with a walker for short distances. I have developed other health problems connected to the problems with the hip, diabetes, weight gain, etc., but when I find myself drifting off my square and feeling sorry for myself, I remember that there are people out there who are in much worse shape than I am. I have conditioned myself to remember the good things in my life and let the bad stuff go. I am not any different than anyone else. I just don’t want to live the rest of my life being bitter, depressed and miserable.
This is how I get through my life day after day. Of course, I have a loving family to help me and I have my faith in God. And really that is all you need, to have faith in God that He will help you get through one day at a time. Today, I don’t ask “Why me?” anymore. I choose to be as normal as I can. I choose to be happy with my life today. I choose to believe that just because my life is different than it used to be doesn’t mean that I can’t be happy anymore. I know in my heart that even though I’ve been thrown a couple of curve balls, I am still blessed in so many other ways. That’s enough for me. I truly believe the old saying that “Life is what you make it.”