I think the hardest part of this recovery and having Cauda Equina Syndrome is the unknown of exactly how long it will take me to heal, to have full sensation again (if it does come back fully), what this means for things I did before, and what the road looks like ahead of me in terms of walking, physical activities, full range of motion, pain management, etc.
In perspective, I know it could be a lot worse, but the thought of that still doesn’t lessen the blow. My positive mentality toward all of this is challenged when my body hurts and I feel like crap, but I do my best to remind myself of the progress I am making and how far I’ve come.
And yet — I don’t know what to expect. Unlike other medical issues/surgeries I had before, I had some idea of what the recovery looked like, and what I could do after “X” days/weeks. This is totally different. I take it day by day, but I am a wife, mother and working professional — on top of all that a “planner” — and it would be nice to have some type of idea what I can expect.
Unfortunately, with L4/L5 surgery and CES, it is a case-by-case basis. The doctor tells me it could take up to two years to gain full sensation back and all numbness to resolve, which sheds some light on things. But ultimately, it is venturing into the unknown and a hopeful wait-and-see with intensive physical therapy and a lot of walking.
It gets easy to give up, especially when I don’t know what I’m looking at. But as soon as I feel that way, I think of everything I worked toward and accomplished already, and even though the road may be a long and uncharted, I need to keep going.
Maybe this condition taught me the value of slowing down, and taking it step-by-step, literally and figuratively, I don’t know. And although this may be in the unknown, with patience, time and hope I will get there — wherever “there” may be.