Every bad situation has a silver lining

A post-surgery life update after my radial fracture.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you probably know I took a hard fall on Wednesday last week that landed me in outpatient surgery on Friday. A week later, I am five days post-surgery for a radial fracture and trying sort out how to live life adjusting to my new normal. Although this isn’t fun to go through, there is good and bad to be found in every situation.

First, let’s start with the bad because that one is so easy. Having surgery sucks and I’ve never had one before. I’ve given vaginal birth three times and the pain from a broken elbow pre-surgery eclipsed that. I was honestly looking forward to relief from the pain that I knew would come with resetting my elbow, but healing is a beast. I am on Vicodin, which means I can’t drive. It makes me nauseous, and even with help from stool softeners, it aggravates my hemorrhoids (no such thing as TMI here, we’re all friends!). I had surgery on Friday and on Sunday I got my period (boo). I can’t lift my arm pretty much at all without being in excruciating pain. I can’t wash my hair, bathe myself, grip anything heavier than a piece of paper, pull up pants that aren’t drawstring, put my hair in a ponytail, etc.

So how could I possibly take this accident that happened to me and wrap it in a shiny bow? There is good to be found in every situation and it’s impossible to ignore some of the blessings that have arisen from this.

Back up to January of this year, and I was experiencing crippling anxiety. I have lived with this my entire life but it was at an unbearable place. I was having anxiety attacks every day. I had planned a girl’s trip with my best friend to Sedona and last second I almost wanted to cancel because I was suffering so horribly. One of our excursions was to visit Chapel of the Holy Cross, a beautiful church nestled into the red rocks. As we were there visiting this holy place, I sat and prayed in the church. I prayed that God would cure me of anxiety and that I would feel better and regain some control. While I know that anxiety is something I’ll probably deal with forever, and I’m aware it’s a brain chemistry problem that you can’t pray away, it really struck me last week how much it has changed for me since then. Out of desperation and feeling helpless and miserable, I gave it to God. Here I was on Wednesday, anticipating an unexpected surgery with so many unknowns, and usually that would send my anxiety through the roof. But for some reason, I was as cool as a cucumber. I won’t lie and say I wasn’t a bit nervous, but it felt like an answered prayer that my visceral reaction was not absolute terror.

Another thing on my mind in the past several months has been an unsettling feeling about where we live. I love living in the Milwaukee area. We’ve been here for five years, own a home, have a lot of friends here, and overall we’re happy. But I’ve been feeling the need to put down more roots here. I’ve been wanting to feel more of a sense of community and belonging where we’re at. I’ve been struggling with whether long term it would be better if we would stay here or move. Then, I fell. In the last week I’ve had so many people reach out to me. People on Instagram or those I’ve met through blogging who want to send me takeout or an encouraging word. But also people I know from church, from school, and from the community that saw a need and decided to be there for me. We’ve had meals delivered, our kids carted to and from school, and so much love and support. I love helping other people but it’s hard for me to receive help in return, and right now I am trying to learn to be still and accept help when it’s offered. I still don’t know our forever plans, but the future here is looking bright right now.

Relating to exercise, I have always had an unhealthy relationship to both exercise and food. I often choose the harder route over the smarter route. This definitely applies to my history with working out as well. I used to run long distance, and recently I took it up again, along with lifting heavy weights. Strength training can be really empowering. Running can be a huge stress release. And I ran 26 miles until I fell on my elbow and it broke in half. I won’t be running or lifting weights any time soon. It’s a serious bummer that I will have such a long road ahead of me to recovery, but you know what? I’ve also always wanted to dig deep into yoga or pilates, but have never had the patience. Having a really strong core appeals to me, as does the inner peace and tranquility that those exercises bring. I’m usually someone who can’t call it exercise unless I’m going hard and fast but does it have to be that way? Am I being told that slow and steady wins the race? Also, abs are made in the kitchen so maybe I should be focusing more on clean eating anyway. Either way, I won’t be able to do what I once was, and I’ll have to adjust to something that currently pushes me out of my comfort zone, but maybe it’ll be pushing me to right where I need to be. I won’t know until I try.

Happiness is a choice, and I’m refusing to let what happened to me take me out. I have a strong support network, and I’m trying to be mentally strong, and choose my attitude. I can overcome this, and there are so many silver linings even in a less than ideal situation.

How do you get through when something bad happens? Leave me a comment and tell me below.

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