Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Two Years

Two years.

I've sat here for a bit now, staring at that first line.  Two years.  I'm not quite sure what to write, though, to commemorate (is that the right word?  celebrate? acknowledge?) this day.

Two years + one day ago we were still blissfully living in the before, and two years ago we learned how very quickly life can change.  In the amount of time that it takes a bike wheel to go over a rock, our lives were upended.  We've traveled a long road since that day and, as cliche as it may sound, we are stronger now than we were then.

I've learned a lot in these two years.  I now know that happiness is not the result of certain material conditions, but is rather a choice we actively make every day; that love is made sweeter by challenges and difficulties; that I'm good in a crisis and can handle more than I ever anticipated; that successful navigation of the murky waters of insurance often relies more on perseverance, and an unabashed willingness to constantly call doctors and vendors, than anything else; that children (or our child, at least) are remarkably adaptable; and more and more and more.  With this blog, I've tried to focus on the positives, the strides forward, and obstacles overcome, as opposed to the challenges, heartbreak, and frustration that accompany a major injury.  The struggles have certainly existed for us and our family, but looking back, I'm glad that this blog is more a testament to our triumphs than our struggles.

This is a big day, medically speaking.  With this day, we reach an important milestone in the SCI-world.  Jason's injury is no longer classified as acute; he now has a chronic spinal cord injury.  We also move out of the marriage "danger zone."  The divorce rate is something like 75% after an SCI.  At two years post, it returns to levels comparable to what is seen in the rest of the adult population.  I can honestly say that I've never felt as if our marriage was in danger as a result of this injury, though there were moments of pure terror of the unknown in the beginning. (As an aside, I will add that I was terribly judgmental of the spouses who left after an injury.  After mentoring a few spouses, and having the wisdom gained by time, I understand--even if I don't condone--their actions.  There are NOT enough resources for spouses following an SCI, and more than one study has shown that it is the spouse, and not the person injured, who is at high-risk for long-term depression and other mental health issues.  The medical and non-profit sectors are failing families by not focusing on the whole familial unit in the aftermath of catastrophic injury.  Right now, surviving this type of injury with your marriage in tact depends a lot on 1) whether your marriage was good before hand and 2) if you have extended family members and friends willing to step in and help...for months.  We were lucky to have both.)

I want to recognize that this day is something different, that we are moving into a new world, a post-recovery world. So, I'm ending the blog.  Don't be too alarmed, though.  I'll still write about our family (mis)adventures, but I'll do so somewhere else. If you're interested in reading more about what we're up to, head over to http://leybas-after-recovery.blogspot.com/  Bookmark the page, sign up for email notifications, follow it--whatever your preference.  If you decide to no longer follow us, then let me give you my thanks for being a part of this two year journey.  Your support, virtual or otherwise, helped us get to the other side of this injury, and I'm profoundly appreciative of that.

I don't plan on completely abandoning what has been written here.  I'd like to write a book, even if it's just something for the consumption of family and friends (or maybe even a handbook for catastrophic injury for the newly injured), but I'm not sure how long that will take to put together, or if I'm ready to write about some of the harder moments in all of this.  

It is my hope that what has come through in the telling of our story is that, at the end of the day, this was a love story.  A story of a family that faced rather unique challenges and made it through; a family that didn't just survive, but thrived in the face of adversity.  And I hope you all got to a see a little glimpse into why Jason has such a strong hold on my heart.  He is amazing, and there's nothing in my life that brings me greater joy than being his wife, and Savannah's momma.  It's only fitting, then that I end this post--and this blog--with my favorite image of my two favorite people.

Thank you for everything.

All my love,