I can’t rightly say if it’s because of the swimming, or just because my body has reached that point in the healing process, but my physiotherapist thinks (and I agree) that the scar tissue is now pulling away from the break sites in my pelvis.
Say what? Basically, it’s like this. When you break a bone, fluid and blood rush to the area to protect it; sort of like curling into the fetal position if you’ve been kicked in the stomach, it’s a physical, involuntary action. In the case of many break sites like mine, there is only a finite amount of fluid and blood to do the rushing. This means some areas ended up with massive swelling around them that is still definite and present (like my lower back, upper thigh, and right calf and foot), and some areas ended up with visibly less tissue mass around them. My abdomen naturally swells outward but then unnaturally concaves at the front pelvic break site due to the lack of fluid and tissue in the area. This results in more scar tissue and less soft tissue to cushion the site as it rebuilds. What is causing me grief now is that, through the process of building muscle mass again, I seem to be causing the scar tissue to rip away from the break site it has spent all this time protecting.
Gross. I know.
It really hurts. Some days are fine and I can do everything I expect to do. Some days it hurts to sit anywhere, on anything, and don’t even get me started about using the bathroom. Some days I can walk with my new (to me) gait, and some days I look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Or Igor, but with more hunching and less henching. Heat helps, but only in the short term. Stretching makes it worse. Gentle motion, like swim kicks, can some days take my breath away.
When I first started this whole recovery process, I knew it would be a long, painful experience. I also knew that I would be irrevocably changed in many ways, and that I would have to deal with that for the rest of my life. But I figured all the hard work of physically healing was past me now. That I was as good as it gets when it comes to conditions like mine, and all I had to worry about now was getting my head in the right place.
I was so wrong.
You know that adage, “Take it one day at a time”? I honestly have to do that. Every. Single. Day. I have no idea what I’ll feel like from one day to the next. I have no knowledge of how well or how little I’ll sleep tonight, what might ache so badly I throw up tomorrow, or what kinds of crippling emotions or anxieties I’ll experience. If the weather is bad, you can bet I’ll be stiff and creaky. If we have plans, you can almost guarantee my body will make other ones. And I will deal with this, day in and day out, forever. Which I didn’t get before, or just chose not to think about. When I’m 35, I’ll be dealing with it, and I kinda knew that anyways. But when I’m 50, I’ll be dealing with it too, and when I’m 80, I’ll still be dealing with it. (I don’t plan on dying young, so I’m hoping that old age homes will have hover-chairs by then, though they could skip the soothingly androgynous nurse androids; they are creepy.)
Forever is a long, long time. It’s, like, for EVER.