Archive for February, 2013

The End of the World


michelle nicole photography

michelle nicole photography

Watching recent news footage of the meteor that tore through the skies in a region over Russia reignited apocalyptic discussions on many social media sites and made me start to think.

Cue scary music in a minor key!

It’s been two months since the winter solstice and the day the Mayan Long Calendar expired; leaving much speculation at the time, as to whether the sun would rise on December 22, 2012. Thankfully the universe was still intact on 12/22/2012, allowing us to greet another sunrise, and life as we knew it continued without skipping a cosmic beat. So I began to contemplate why this particular prediction, one of possible cataclysmic events, made everyone so nervous; and then I wondered why I wasn’t concerned.

This is because I do not live in fearful expectation of death; but with the knowledge that our lives have a span, one that is of unknown length. Rather I try to live each day as if opening an unexpected gift; embracing its hours as experiences, and the people I encounter as special guests with cameo appearances that I may not have the privilege of seeing again in the next month, week or even day. No, I can say without reservation that I was not worried in the least about the possibility of the world as I know it coming to an end before celebrating my 48th Christmas; because it already has, several times!

The world as I know it ended:

  • The day I left the warmth and security of my mother’s womb and also the day, 5 short years later when I started school.
  • The day I married, for the first time, and the day I was divorced.
  • With the birth of my 1st child (and the 5th!)
  • The day I was told that I needed a spinal fusion from L-3 through S-1 and then 11 days later when I was told that I could expect to be in a wheel chair by my 40th birthday with a rod from my neck to my bum.
  • The day I remarried and the day my Matron of Honor, my mother, died.
  • The day I was told to prepare for Ovarian Cancer and then again, 7 agonizing days later when we received the call that the biopsy of the softball sized mass removed was benign.

In fact, my world has been knocked off its axis so many times that I have lost count. However, after each and every incident I have emerged from the aftermath with the knowledge that I am far stronger, braver and more resilient that I had previously thought. 

Friends, today someone’s world as they know it will end. A child will be born bringing unparalleled joy. A loved-one will die causing deep and lingering heart ache. A phone call will bring unexpected and devastating news resulting in incomprehensible pain and fear. These events, however life changing, do not have to be the end of the world as we know it; but the beginning of new growth if allowed the opportunity to develop. Will you let your world end today or will you allow the sun to rise on the horizon of your new tomorrow? Keep looking in the right direction and you will see the sunrise through the clouds.

Flamingo Dancing

flamingo3It’s been 11 days since right side Sacroiliac Fusion surgery and I am dancing just like my orthopedic surgeon promised, or rather a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Once again I am doing the Recovery Dance, (1 step forward, shuffle; 2 steps back sniffle, whine), which is more like watching a conga line derail than a poised bailaora executing the beautifully choreographed Flamenco Dance or the fluidity of a well trained ballerina performing Swan Lake.

Granted I certainly possess the same intense passion for movement as my tiara touting comrades; but I am far less graceful! Similarly, ambulating during these first few weeks of recovery requires as much concentrated muscle control and balance as a danseuse executing a perfect arabesque; especially considering my left side Sacroiliac Fusion surgery was a mere 6 weeks ago.

Currently, walking begins by grasping a walker or crutches, my right toe pointed in degage’ fashion to limit the amount of weight on my leg, the fullness of my chenille robe twirling about me. This is proceeded by a precision shuffle limp or hop and a long pause; only for dramatic effect of course, while I calculate the amount of energy needed for continued motion.

Alas, Prima Ballerina I am not! My lifelong fantasy of dancing the Tango, which was tops on my “bucket list” (tied with fencing lessons) was dashed a few years ago. I had envisioned my body entangled in a close embrace; a fresh rose clenched between Tom’s teeth as he gently dipped me downward; however, this vision was shattered as our one (and only) attempt at Salsa lessons nearly ended in a trial separation. Evidentially, only one person can lead, who knew?

Now, after 2 SI fusions surgeries, I have come to the realization that I would sooner fit in with a colony of flamingos then a Flamenco or Tango troupe. Perched on one leg, supported by my walker or crutches; clothed in a pink robe with matching (bow adorned) slippers, the resemblance is unmistakable! Especially when spotted in my subtropical reclining roost next to the fireplace.

While I may never scratch tango lessons off my “bucket list”(for the record I did take fencing lessons), I can say that I am one step closer to my dream of living a life with less chronic pain thanks to my amazing team of orthopedic and pain specialists at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, PA and innovative medical technology like the I-Fuse System. (

I would like to encourage you, my sojourns of relief, to persevere; keep focused on the direction of your goal and put one step in front of the other as together we engage in a unified cry of, “En garde’ Chronic Pain! We challenge thee to a duel!”