Buckle Up Those Seatbelts! We’re In for a Rough Ride!


December 18, 2013 by realbkw

Okay. This is my new blog. I have an old blog; one which I have not been very good at maintaining. Mostly because I have a lot of stuff I’m dealing with that I didn’t want to be a part of that blog. My other blog is ahbutidigress@blogspot.com and reflects my eclectic, obnoxious, sensitive, stubborn, fanatical, and just fucked up personality. Check it out. You might like it. Or maybe you’ll just like parts of it. Or maybe you’re from New York and you’ll hate it because some of the posts are about the wicked pissah Boston/New England sports teams and it’s probably been mentioned once or twice that the Yankees suck, and that pisses Zoo Norkers off. Except real fans know it’s just rivalry trash talk between really great fans of two really great teams in two really great cities. So get over it and just check out my other blog.

Okay, enough self-promotion of the me I WANT to be, and on to the blog about the me I HAVE to be. One thing you’ll learn about me real quick is that I’m a realist. I strongly believe in fate. And I understand that really sucky, shitty things can happen to good people. Sometimes there’s somebody to blame, somebody you can focus your anger and frustration and even hate towards. And sometimes, it’s just fate. Sometimes Life … Just … Sucks.
So, let me give ya a little background on why I am writing this blog. First of all, I like to write. A lot. When I was in college, as a non-traditional older student, I wrote some great papers and got a lot of A’s. But I also got comments that the papers were longer than expected for certain types of assignments. I learned to cut back and, when asked for a five page paper, wrote a typical seven page paper and learned to edit it to five pages. Okay, maybe five and a half. Six at the most! That is the most difficult challenge to my writing: editing content. I over-research; I want to know everything and then I want to share everything. People don’t always have the time or the desire to read through a long post. So I will do my best to keep them somewhat brief. See? I’m already hedging my bets and letting you know sometimes it’s just gonna be a long post. But really, i’ll try and leave the digressing “OVER THERE” and keep this blog pretty much on topic.
Now to the “real deal.” whooo. This is the hard part. What has triggered me to write this blog, to share the experiences over the past two decades of my life (really? Has it been THAT long?) is that I have come to another crossroads where I need to make a life-altering decision. After years of dealing with chronic and often debilitating pain in my left leg, injured in a motorcycle accident in California, after too many surgeries to remember, it has come down to this: if I want to lead a somewhat normalized life and get back to the activity level I enjoyed before undergoing what would become a series of total knee replacement surgeries, revisions and infections that have culminated in yet another infection, loss of bone, loose joint hardware and a return to needing crutches to walk, I am faced with , god, I can’t believe how hard this is to write, I’m stuck, I keep pausing, waiting for the words that keep scurrying to the recesses of my mind to come back out into the open and for the synapses to connect my brain to my finger to the keyboard. (Yes, as much as I write, I only use one finger to type on my iPad keyboard. It’s my middle finger, which kinda says a lot, doesn’t it?). Okay, deep breath. I can do this. Yes, I’m a procrastinator. And yes, I hate sharing my personal life with the world. I’m one of those people who prefer to suffer in silence. Alone. Fucking New England stoicism. Sometimes it works to your (my) detriment. But I have to do this. It’s not something I’ll be able to hide. Within the next couple of months, maybe late January or early February, I will undergo what will hopefully be the last surgery on my left leg. The one that was mangled on a beautiful California spring day that was filled with happiness, a bright future, and a shit-eating grin until that fateful second that forever changed my life. Literally a second. One, one thousand. Not even THAT long. Okay, enough with the digression. Another deep breath. Okay, I have made the decision to have an above-the-knee amputation. There. It’s out. Why am I all of a sudden so shaky? I made the decision weeks ago. Actually months ago, in mid-September. This paragraph should have been a piece of cake to write. Instead I keep catching myself being hesitant, finger heading to the keyboard, pulling back, forward, back, just can’t seem to reach the screen. It literally has taken nearly twenty minutes to get these words out. Not to form the thoughts, transform them into sentences. That was the easy part. Should have taken about five minutes to type them. What the fuck? Okay. It’s done. Now you know. Soon everybody I know will know. Afterwards, everybody I see will know. Everybody who sees me will know. What they won’t know, and even I don’t know it all yet, is what all this means. What life will be like. Yeah, there are lots of people who live with this situation, whether it was caused by a congenital defect, or disease, or traumatic injury resulting in life-saving surgery or, as in my case, a conscious decision after careful consideration of the alternatives. I know there are lots of amputees out there because I’ve been doing research. And one thing I’ve discovered is that I am not the first person to be faced with or to make this decision. There are others out there, others who are also sharing their stories. Others who have made me realize it’s not only okay to share mine, but that maybe there’s somebody out there who might see it and be able to take away something positive from it, to know they aren’t so alone. One of these days one of my posts will introduce you to some of the others. Hyperlinks. The new way to connect!
Okay, now the words are flowing. I can’t believe how incredibly hard that was. Physically hard! Emotionally frustrating. I hate when there’s a disconnect between my mind and my body. Mind over matter. I can count on one hand the number of times this has happened to me. Okay, maybe now I’m up to using both hands as memories are triggered. I’ll address those in another post. So many posts to come! So much I want to put out there. Shit, the floodgates are opening. I’m sure there will be times I will write for hours, until my finger is numb and my fist cramps. But I’ll have to learn how to break things down into manageable posts. That damned editing again. But I’ll find stopping points, and try to have them make sense, so you can easily follow from one post to the next. But I can tell you from experience that my forte is stream of consciousness so my writing does NOT flow chronologically. That’s probably stating the obvious. Okay, this is probably a good stopping point for today. I’ll likely keep writing but I’ll just put stuff out there a (reasonably-hopefully?) manageable post at a time. TIFT. (That’s It For Today) See? I’ve already made up my own signature sign-off! Who knows what other gems are in store? You’ll just have to check back to find out! TIFT. No, really, it is.

12 thoughts on “Buckle Up Those Seatbelts! We’re In for a Rough Ride!

  1. Susan says:

    Barb, this is incredibly brave…to put yourself out there for all to see, and share. I look forward to accompanying you on your journey.

  2. Ali says:

    Barb, you are amazing and strong! And I am so grateful that you are sharing your journey with me and the world.

  3. Linda Cleary says:

    Barb, what a courageous decision! Interestingly enough while reading of your decision to have the amputation I thought of Teddy Kennedy, Jr who had a lower leg amputation due to cancer when he was 12. It will be a challenge for sure, but hey if it ends all the chronic pain and infections and surgeries, your quality of life will be much better and it will be worth it.

  4. Stephen Donovan says:

    Bravo, Barb!
    I think you made the right call…
    Now you agree. In six months you may not. I’m guessing that in a year you’ll be wishing you’d done it sooner.
    Still…it would be nice if we could go back to the shit-eating grin on a warm California afternoon

    • realbkw says:

      Steve Hey, how ya doing? I was actually thinking of you earlier tonight as Sue and I were talking about past women’s weekends!

      Yes, i’m pretty comfortable with this being the best option. Now that I’m okay with it, and I’ve done a bunch of research, I just wanna do it and get started with rehab! Ironically I mentioned something about getting an amp years ago to my physical therapist. I was watching what people with prosthetics were capable of! So who knows my big goal is to get back on my bicycle!

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and to comment on it. It really means a lot! Hope to see you at the reunion!

      Love, Barb

  5. Stephen Donovan says:

    A good buddy at work often refers to that place where the desire to achieve the ideal outcome runs into the reality of limitation in ways big and small. He calls that place “Struggleville”. 🙂

  6. Jeanne Schmidt says:

    Barb, You are incredibly brave! Even though it will be difficult, I’m sure you will be glad you finally did it and once healed, you will have no more pain. Have an amazing Christmas and here’s to a wonderful 2014.

  7. Chrissy MacNeil says:

    Hey cousin I admire the strength and stoic way you have handled all of your past struggles. This will be another life changing event for you and all of us in your family. Our support and prayers will continue for you. The courage to make such a change is what will bring the strenght to endure. You will be on that bike. Thanks for sharing and my heart is with you. xoxo

  8. Jen says:

    Barb, I know what you mean by wanting a somewhat ‘normal’ life and realizing you have some decisions you never thought you’d need to make. Making a choice is the biggest part but somehow sharing it makes it “real”. Never forget why you made the choice: life is too short and sitting on the sidelines is not the way to spend it. Love you! Jen

  9. marie howard says:

    Barbara, Wonder woman describes you and all you have very bravely gone through the past years. You are going to continue being wonder woman as you undergo and recover from your surgery and master your new best friend. Mazeltov !!!!! You know the entire Howard clan are rooting and praying for you. We love you very much.
    Aunt Re-re and uncle Web

  10. Todd Schmidt says:

    Wow. You are very brave. Hopefully, it will improve your life. If you get a wooden peg leg and start talking like a pirate, we will all understand. Good luck and Merry Christmas.

  11. realbkw says:

    Thanks for all the positive replies! I hope to be showing off the bionic leg at the reunion!

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