Yesterday was the three month anniversary of amputation of my lower leg and foot. As I work on recovery I find it ironic that my husband at this point in his recovery from stepping on a 15 lb explosive had a prosthetic and was breaking out of the hospital to get tattooed and eat real food while I’m over a month past a second surgery and still waiting for the incision to heal and for infectious disease to clear me from further surgeries to remove infected bone and muscle. While husband was giving the hospital a headache by teaching himself to walk via YouTube so he could walk to meet his guys on the Tarmac when they came home and walk across the parade field with them, I’m sequestered at home with a wound vac, oxygen, and home nursing staff coming to give me IV antibiotics daily.
I’m not sharing this to complain, although I admit it is frustrating at times. I’m sharing this to remind us all that even when the surface looks the same the situation rarely is.
My husband’s injuries were on the surface far more extensive than my own: all his fingers were broken and his fingernails and fingertips were Frankensteined onto his hands, his face (the whole face) was shattered (they pulled his nose out like you do on an old doll when the head has been smushed in) as was his pallet, his nerve was detached from one of his eyes and his eardrums were both blown out, he had extensive burns and schrapnel to his left leg and lower torso, lost half of his left thigh, lost his right leg below the knee but had to be amputated above the knee because of the muscle tissue that was blown away, and had an infection caused by the fecal matter in the IED that was so impossible I had to authorize the hospital to pump bleach into his left leg for three days in an attempt to stop the infection. I have nothing like that, but I have a half a dozen invisible, rare illnesses that my husband (God willing) will never have to experience. The last three months have been an experience to say the least and have been eye opening about how inaccessible the world is at times and how unwelcoming the world can for those with disabilities. They’ve also been the first three months of not living in agonizing pain everyday from necrotic tissue and gangrene on my foot and leg after spending three years trying to save my foot, and they’re the first months of living without having new clotting forming in my body causing a stroke, pulmonary embolism, autonomic dysfunction, or pain and tissue death from having arteries completely occluded since before I was diagnosed with this blood disease six years ago.
What I’m saying is this:
As you go on your journey through your Kintsukuroi life, dealing with your brokenness, searching for healing and peace, and letting your scars heal and be highlighted, remember not to compare your journey too closely to others.
We aren’t all the same so the trauma that breaks us down impacts us each in different ways and we all bring different experiences and strengths with us on our journey to healing. When you find yourself struggling, take a break but don’t quit. Read, paint, ride your motorcycle, crochet, work on your truck, watch a movie, binge on a series, sit on the couch attached to the machines that are helping you heal and watch amusing videos for a day because you really need a laugh.
Do what you must to heal and survive, but don’t give up and don’t try to make your journey follow someone else’s path. You will get what you need on your path, and when your healing is done others will get part of what they need to survive their journey from what they see shining from your scars.