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Body, Mind & Spirit: A slice of humble pie

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By Pat Larsen

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of a female named Pat Larsen
Pat Larsen

I knew a few months ago when I began my journey to find the best orthopedic specialist on this planet to undertake the task of a total knee replacement that this wasn’t going to be easy for the poor doctor that I tapped for the job.

After all, I thought I knew what this would involve and I had clear expectations about exactly how long this would take to heal before I could get back to my life. I had done that much research. I thought.

Four consultations and months later, I met “The One” who was a perfect match. As a matter of fact, the initial consultation was of a divine intervention of sorts when I was seen within a few days of the call to this office due to a cancellation. Perfect, I thought! 

I knew this collaboration had to include a solid body-mind connection between me and the specialist because that’s the only way my treatment would or could be successful. He was sharp, clear in his communication style, compassionate and a Baby Boomer who “got me,” with a lot of experience in his field.

This column isn’t about the surgery or the resulting impact that this actual surgery has had on my life. No. The healing time frame and actual process is as individual as the DNA  that makes up who we are. 

It’s about the  monumental personal journey that I hadn’t even realized would be such a huge part of the story. It’s about the emotional strength that is required AFTER the surgery and to a degree, before, in preparation. It’s about realizing no matter how much I researched, how “ready, set, let’s get this show on the road” (even the surgery date was just a miraculous five weeks after the consultation, due to yet another opening in the schedule), I had no idea how deep I’d have to dig within myself to get through every day.

But the truth is, I did push through even the roughest days and I’m still continuing to do so, building on that inner strength each time.

I’ve finally come to understand that as hard as these specialists try to give us an idea of what the days, weeks and months to come would entail, even they have no idea exactly what will happen. That’s the connection I failed to make beforehand.

I never considered the part that included my motivation and inner strength. The procedure wasn’t “over “’ when my knee joint was replaced. It had just begun.

My knee is as brand new as a baby chick just hatched from their protective shell and then the journey was to begin.

Finding “inner strength” mentally and physically is something we tend to do quite naturally over our lifetime every day.

Let’s face it, with today’s challenges at the forefront, it is often necessary to determine what part we engage in and what part to just let go and let God. How much energy will we choose to spend on something frustrating, like where the heck did I put those keys…or hey, “they overcharged me for those apples that are supposed to be on sale!” We choose what battle to engage in.

It’s kind of been the same for me regarding this expectation for recovery from a choice I made to have a total knee replacement.

I was given a booklet, kind of like the bible of pre and post stuff to do before and after this surgery.

I followed these checklists like my life was dependent on it. 

There is an interesting PAIN PYRAMID GUIDE highlighted to help with pain management after I returned home. Ha!

Threw that right out the window as soon as I realized I was highly allergic to the top drug to manage the worst of days. 

Here’s where I had to dig deep. With my pain barely managed and the only other thing available was the application of ice every 40 minutes, I knew I had to find a different means of coping to get through. Oh, I did get through, but this is where I found that we truly are only given as much as we can handle and sometimes expectations and energy have to shift to an inner faith and guidance from whatever belief system we trust to get through.

I do know this: The medical community does their best. Take your time when you can to find a good match, unless of course you’re faced with an emergency beyond your control.

Be sure you learn how to communicate with the care managers who support the doctor, who will navigate the steps with you as you find your way to healing. If you have a rough day, or you don’t get a phone call returned  as quickly as you’d have wanted, consider NOT putting your energy into finger pointing or being frustrated.

This is your journey. Reframe and refocus your expectations. Have a good friend to be able to share with when you just need that shoulder to cry on. And…trust that (as I did) “Tomorrow will be a better day.” It always was.

Pat Larsen lives in Greene County with her husband Chris and her pups. When she’s not laid up icing her new knee, she’s dreaming of getting back to her fitness classes and programs for Baby Boomers and seniors at The Shamrock House in East Durham. Classes will be returning ASAP. Pat is a certified clinical hypnotherapist working within the community to help others with expectations and living their best life. Contact Pat via email at Pelarsen5@aol.com.

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