I hope that K doesn't have phantom pain from the toe that bedeviled her with infection before the amputation. And, I fervently hope that the pathology report tells us that the infection wasn't migrating up her forelimb.
Like all chronic disease, chronic pain involves a bifurcation. There is the normal state, where you used to live, and you are conditioned to that state. Then you face a debilitating circumstance that lasts for months or years. When you're in that second state, you hold onto expectations of that first life. You mourn that first life: you want it and want it a million times over. But people have to let themselves die and lose the old expectations. If they let it die, they can rise like a phoenix from the ashes and can have a new life. John Keltner.
My life was completely transformed about five years ago. During that emotional transformation, I learned to see pain as my companion rather than my opponent. I stopped fighting it and started living again.
Part of what I learned at that stage was to resume doing what I love, pain be damned. I started riding my bike again, largely with the encouragement of the Runner, who went on "pity rides" with me - very short and slow rides that gradually taught me that I wasn't as fragile as china.
Now, I get out into nature on my bike and/or on foot almost every day. It makes life worth living for me, especially when I can share it with our dogs. In some ways, my chronic pain has been good for me. I've stopped trying to achieve lofty and nonsensical goals in my professional life, just for the sake of achieving them. Instead, I do what I love.
Today, after I walked K, I had the honor of R joining me for a snow/ice mountain bike ride. I'm not exaggerating when I say that he makes me laugh out loud at least once per ride. His exuberance is contagious.
We gazed at stupendous views. The forest was eerily silent because the wind burned out its fury last night. I could hear faint chirps of birds. The sound of my snowbike tires resonated with a deep rumbling. The absence of the wind transformed the forest into a serene and life-renewing place.
Yesterday, a pack of 4 coyotes moved through a corridor, one by one, where I've never photographed coyotes before. I wonder what drew them to the area? Questions, questions, questions. I couldn't find anything to attract a coyote so it will remain a mystery of the forest.