On January 6th, I stood on a 16 foot ladder, painting a new wall that was built in effort to make our house more sellable. We were frustrated, but hopeful that the new wall and a new realtor would be the change we needed to finally get out of this odd, lovely house that we grew out of 5 years ago. To pull ourselves from the mire and finally move on. It was supposed to happen.
I had been on the ladder for 20 minutes or so, in the very tippy top of the ceiling vault. Slowly, I felt the ladder begin to slip. I clung to the top of it as it scraped down the wall. "Oh, no..... oh, no! Oh no, no no! Somebody help me!" My 10 year old son ran to my aid, trying to push the bottom of the ladder and hold it in place, but the weight and momentum was already too much for him. The ladder foot hit the opposing wall corner and flipped. My arm, with an almost-healed previous shoulder sprain, caught the wall and wrenched the paint cup out of my hand. I detached from the ladder as it clattered against my shin. I landed almost upright, on both feet, but the left one was sideways. The impact sent me into immediate shock. I saw stars. I screamed. The muffled sound of my kids screaming and crying registered around me as I slid my back down the wall and I lowered myself, trembling, into a puddle of spilled paint. "No, no, no. Not again. Please. I can't do this again. I can't."
I stayed on my back, shaking uncontrollably, and consciously slowed my breathing as tunnel vision tried to take over. In broken, labored speech, I tried to talk my children out of panic. "It's okay, I'm not okay, but it's okay. Call Dad. Bring me my phone. It's okay."
My phone buzzed the moment I got hold of it. It was a text from my lawyer for the IUD case. His firm had decided not to take my case. Awesome.
Who to call? Alicia had enough on her plate. Michelle. No answer. Nicole was closest. I'd call her. No answer. Cindy. Cindy makes all the sense. She's got medical training, and she's super calm in emergencies. "Hey Cin." My voice was shaky. "I need help.... I fell off a ladder and I'm injured and laying on the floor in a puddle of paint. I think I broke my foot." She would come.
It seemed like the whole world wanted to talk business or check in the moment I was out of it. I got a myriad of texts from different people all at once. Annie, James, Greg, Aaron, Jenna. I needed to cancel the house showing. I needed to get the paint off the floor and wall before it dried there. I needed to breathe. I needed not to be injured.
Talon let Cindy in. She jumped into calm action. Checking me for head injuries, asking for juice to raise my blood sugar. We had no juice. Just leftover sparkling cider from New Year celebrations. She cracked it open and I sipped sparkling cider through a straw, still lying in paint. What a celebration.
I couldn't get over the mess I had made. Cindy finally grabbed a rag and cleaned up most of the paint just so that I would shut up and focus.
"I can't do this again, Cin. I can't."
"It's not like last time. No matter what, it's not as bad as last time. You can do this. You're probably experiencing some PTSD. You're okay."
"I have a race in 6 weeks! I can't cancel my first ultra AGAIN!!"
I called my brother to ask if I could come get checked out and get x-rays. As usual, he was willing. Cindy made calls and rearranged her schedule so that she could drive me to Salt Lake. I called Aaron and told him to meet us at Mike's office. My kids brought my old crutches to get me to the car, and an old towel to protect Cindy's car from my paint splattered clothes. Crutching to the car on a double sprained shoulder was horrid.
Cindy kept me talking, and laughing through the pain as we made our way to Mike's office. He was waiting there with his staff, and Aaron.
X-rays and adjustments. The films didn't show any breaks, but that's common for new foot injuries. Stay off it, rest, ice. Come back in if you can't weight it once the swelling goes down.
8 days later the breaks showed up. Ryan ordered a CT scan. 4 days later, on CT day, I was handed a disc and told to take it to a specialist. 5 days after that, Dr. Gorman told me surgery wouldn't help the outcome, but with breaks in 4 places, I'd be out of commission til April.
After the initial trauma faded, I felt like I had it. I could handle this well. This was peanuts compared to what I've already been through. I'm way tougher than all of this. I borrowed a peg-leg knee crutch, which made it easier to be independent and didn't exacerbate my shoulder injuries. If I just kept living, I'd be fine. Right? This was just another upgrade.
Less than 24 hrs after listing with a new agent, we got the house offer we'd been waiting for. Two days later, we went house shopping and put in an offer on a dream house. I had been so careful not to fall in love with houses before I could buy one, and finally, it was time.
The very next day... the day that we found out that our buyers backed out, a friend and fellow Wasatch Mountain Wrangler's body was found in an avalanche field. Mourning took precedence, and the house went back on the market. The dream house turned into a dream again.
The thing about upgrades is that you have to break down some stuff first. Winter with no running, no mountains, no yoga, no sunshine, and consistent low-level pain has started to take it's toll. We had the big Wrangler Formal last week and while dancing on a scooter wasn't ideal, the night with my friends, being recognized as Crew Chief of the year, laughing and dancing.... it was life-giving. I thought I could make it. Stay positive. I can do this. But my confidence was waning.
I can hardly live in my house. We have had something like 16 or 18 showings in the past 11 days. I have scoured my house on one leg and with one good arm more times than I can count. And every showing feels like a personal inspection and rejection.
My body chemistry hasn't been good or normal in a very long time, but since my abdominal surgery, my hormone balance has been worse than ever. The only real option a doc will give me is a hysterectomy. And I don't know if I can face another surgery and recovery right now. I wish I hadn't kept my uterus last May. I mitigated it as best I could, and finally conceded that I needed to attempt to do something... again. I decided to try a progesterone cream to try to balance out the estrogen dominance that causes me to lose more blood than 10 normal women do every month. The progesterone makes me angry. Really angry. Depressed. Isolated. Not okay. I stopped using it two days ago. But damage is done. My spirit is a little bit broken. I hate living in my own head. I hate that my amazing husband has to deal with me. I hate that I yell at my kids.
Friends keep asking if I'm okay. When I am with you, I am. When you are in front of me, I am. Honestly. But most of the time now, I'm not. I'm not okay. I think I will be in time.
I love you all. I love that you care. If I knew what could be done to make things better right now, I would do it. I would tell you. You can ask me all you want. But I can't tell you what you can do to help if I don't know.
As much as I want to crawl into a deep pit and disappear, I am not done. I will never stop fighting. But sometimes fighting looks like shutting down and waiting out all the things I can't control. It looks like withdrawing, and putting up walls, and hiding from the awful jealousy for those who can get out into the sun.
So if I don't answer your texts, emails and calls sometimes, if I opt out of plans, if I say I'm fine when I'm obviously not, it's because there isn't much you can do. It's because I'm deep in survival mode. I don't want to vent anymore. I don't want to express my anger or impatience or sadness anymore, because it just makes it fresh and throws me into a new shame spiral, and drives us all mad. I don't want you to feel bad about it. I love you. And I love that you love me. You might just have to let me be a portion of myself until I can feel whole again. I'm trying. And that has to be enough.