Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine


Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine

Fully and Free

Week three post-surgery challenges me. Initial hurdles past, I feel caught between rest and forward momentum. After laying around in bed for two weeks, the time out begins to feel slothful, purposeless, and plain boring.

But considering I’m only two weeks out from my ninth orthopedic surgery, I have much to celebrate.

First and foremost, I woke up.

Every time I’ve opened my eyes and realized I’ve survived another go round in the surgical suite, a twinge of elation has settled over me. Of course, pain meds surging through my IV could account for the unusual sense of euphoria. But either way, I’m still in awe of the fact that I fell into a deep sleep and woke with no memory of the hands that waded through my abdomen to fix my back.

Second, as I lay in my hospital room hours after I woke, I realized I had strength in my right toes. For several years now, when doctors pushed against the four small appendages, I had no ability to push back. But today, I do, meaning some nerves woke up with me.

It helps to stop and remember my initial excitement because now that I’m back in my abode, the healing process feels slowed. Ten days with my parents followed five days in the hospital. Thus, I’ve worried little about hair, make-up, and clothes.

However, since I plan to teach two piano lessons this afternoon, all that had to change. But as I perused my closet, I didn’t want to wear real clothes yet. I wanted comfort not fashion. Sweats, not tights.

Caught in between here and there, I found myself wanting to teach, but not wanting to get dressed. And I’ll probably live in that place of tension for several more weeks.

What’s a girl to do?

For one, I’m determined to recalibrate my expectations and embrace a slow-paced December—which isn’t easy to do as a self-confessed product of our caffeinated culture of accomplishment.

So, as I adjust plans, I’ll spend some time reflecting on the ancient stories we honor during this season. For me, that involves a young married couple. A pregnant virgin. And a decree that demanded they travel far from their home when the child was to be born.

Heavy with baby, the young woman rode on a donkey across barren lands, simply to satisfy the whim of a king. Then, far from the comfort of family, she gave birth in a tiny stable.

No monitors. No doctors. No pain meds. No mom. Yet there, in the unsanitary confines of a barn, the Savior of the World was born.

At least, that’s what I believe.

I don’t know what you believe. But perhaps, as we wipe away the tinsel-town holiday show we’ve created, we’ll also remember the holy hush of the divine that resonates from a less ornate time. A time of quiet and wonder. A time of miracles and deliverance. A time of trial and suffering that changed the world in a way that still rings loud today.

As the night settles in early and cold temperatures leave me clambering for heat, quiet reflection and even rest may echo the true nature of the celebration more than the busyness I fight to leave behind.

So, I’ll fight on. And dare to let myself heal. I’ll wear pajamas some days and dress comfortably on others. I’ll attend a concert or two and then nap as other festivities continue.

And by living in the in between, I might just live more fully and free.

About the Author: Susan Schreer Davis lives with her husband, their cat named, Eggs, and the challenging effects of mitochondrialdisease. Learn more about Susan, her latest book and many songs at:
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