Toward normal

In our life we have a lot of firsts that mark major milestones — first step, first word, first day of school, first time riding a bike…the list can pile up to compose a pretty high stack of endless possibilities. Although seemingly a bit abundant, each of these firsts signify some sort of accomplishment that one can truly be proud of, and often people spend a lot of time looking forward and working towards these firsts, both big and small. You can see it in a teenager as they strive to obtain that first job; you can see it in an adult as they search for their first home. Really, if you look hard enough, you can see it practically anywhere.

While you can find many people working towards achieving these coveted experiences, some do not even realize what they are working for. It seems to me the older that we get, the easier it becomes to get caught up in the increasingly fast pace of the world, and we often end up losing sight of what our intended goal was all along.

As I will readily admit I have been guilty of this on more than a couple occasions, after surgery it seems my recovery has been frenzied by accomplishing all sorts of firsts, and lately these small, but definitely significant goals have come to rule my everyday. However, in this past week, I have successfully managed to knock out quite a few.

This past weekend, I went on my first real social outing. Don’t get me wrong, friends have filed in and out of my house nearly nonstop since I returned from sunny California, but the only actual other places that I’ve been to since then are school, the chiropractor, and the occasional venture to the park or convenient store.

Last Saturday, though, I mustered up my strength and took a ride up to Orange Leaf to grab some scrumptious froyo and then headed over to Vetta’s to watch some of my good friends play in a coed indoor soccer game. Although it exhausted me (and I may or may not have fallen asleep during the last half of the game), being out and seeing all the people that I love was entirely worth it. I felt like a teenager again, I felt normal.

With the constant buzz of voices, the sound of whistles blowing, and the wonderful feel of those oh so comfortable bleachers, I felt like it was just a regular night and I never had surgery at all (for the most part). It was refreshing, exactly what I needed after having been in a bit of a slump prior to it, and was also a giant step in the right direction of returning back to all my usual activities. It was a big first.

Then, earlier in the week, I consumed probably my first real dinner in the past month or so. Lately my diet has consisted of pretty bland and basic foods due to the nausea and whatnot lingering from surgery, and I basically ate the same three things everyday. A banana and apple juice for breakfast, scrambled eggs with cheese and piece of toast for lunch, and popcorn and chocolate chips for dinner. But, this Tuesday night I had zucchini with some buttered noodles and crushed up hamburger on top, and it didn’t upset my stomach one bit. This is serious progress, people. I have gone from only being able to consume a couple of crackers for dinner to a meal consisting of food from three of the food groups. That is huge!

However, I have to say, I saved the best piece of news for last. Yesterday, I resumed two whole hours of school. I now not only go to calculus, I also eat lunch and then spend some time in AP Literature before I head back on home. It wore me out, which is expected, but honestly it felt so great just to be back even more in the school atmosphere that I don’t really mind the exhaustion.

I think it is safe to say I’m now on that ‘going up’ part of the roller coaster that my therapist described to me, with all the strides that I have been taking lately, and while I know there is still some descending hills in my future, I have to say, I’m cherishing every bit of the ride.