On my father’s birthday 11 years ago I stopped being able to drive. It was on the way home from his house that I was unable to push the brake. My muscles just gave out. I had a muscle biopsy that next month and was diagnosed with a muscle disease. After the diagnosis I never even tried to drive again. I have no idea why. My disease stopped getting worse, stabilized, and yet I didn’t try. On my father’s birthday this year I decided to change the meaning of the date. I wanted it to be the day I started driving again, not the day I stopped. So made a plan to start driving again. I started slowly just in my driveway. Then down the road, then around the block, then around the neighborhood. I was sore at first, very sore, but I had the strength. It took months to build up strength again. But I did it. Driving felt like a freedom. An independence I had not had in 11 years. My daughter and I had not been in a car together alone for 11 years and prior to that our life was filled with adventures of just the two of us.
So I started to drive again.
I am most sure how long my victory will last. I am noticing big changes in my shoulder and leg. My right shoulder is extremely painful and atrophying. My left quad has decided to rapidly atrophy as well.
Today I’ve felt afraid. Afraid of what will happen to my body. I’ve just come to love my body! I’ve just come to appreciate what it has brought me through. Now I am afraid for it. A muscle disease, osteoporosis, Lyme disease, seizures, trigeminal neuralgia, are a LOT for one body to go through. And all of those things were after it survived years ago abuse! Come on body! Keep on going!!!!! Losing my muscle creates fear and vulnerability which anyone who has been abused knows this vulnerability is very triggering to the emotions.
I don’t know what will happen. I have no idea what will happen to my body. Today I have an enormous amount of pain. Maybe tomorrow I won’t.
I made a goal to drive. I made a wish to walk on the beach. Those dreams have come to fruition. None of us knows how long our dream will last. If today was my last drive then I will be grateful I was given the chance to drive again. We have to take the good when we can because we really never know how long it will last.
So, if today was my last day driving, it was eventful. I decided to drive to the car wash down the road. Since I have not been in a car wash in 11 years, I forgot to lower the antenna. That sucker was ripped right off!!! I was torn between crying and laughing! I almost cried. Than I called the mechanic, found out the part was only $15 and I started to laugh. I pulled into the driveway with it just dangling there. My daughter thought it was hilarious! Two people laughed at my antenna destruction. Well worth the $15.
I pray I can keep driving. I pray my body holds up through the storm of health problems. Either way, small victories need to be celebrated and rejoiced. I lay here tonight still awake due to the pain in my bones, joints, and muscles. But I am still laughing to myself thinking about when I stepped out of the car and saw the antenna. I actually said outloud, “Oh man!!! I broke the antenna!” People passing by just looked at me as I quickly troubleshooted how I could bend it, cram it down into the hole so it could go unnoticed. But alas, just like my leg, it couldn’t be hidden. On the drive home it hung on by a little cord. I’m sure on a different day I could come up with a great metaphor comparing my leg with that antenna. But that’s not what I’m thinking about tonight.
My dad’s birthday is nolonger the date I last drove. It is the day I chose to not give up, a day to chase dreams, and step outside the box of what I thought my capabilities were defined by. So much in life confines us to a box. Stepping outside that box may only give you a day of freedom, or 3 months of freedom. But every day outside that box is a day to rejoice. They are moments of victory. I have had a few months of the freedom to drive again. And I redefined a date. I wonder what else I can redefine by stepping outside what I THOUGHT my capabilities were. I wonder what other freedoms are out there for me….