Although I have felt stuck in limbo for months already, these June days feel even more tenuous. It’s likely melodramatic to say that the next couple of weeks are pivotal, and yet, I cannot help but feel as if they are exactly that. This month started with small positive steps forward. My ability to walk without limping had improved quickly and with reasonable consistency. I also had begun to experience periods of relief from the almost constant tingling in my feet. My body is nowhere near normal yet, but I felt hopeful and excited. I still feel that way; however, the past few days have seen an increase in pain and physical discomfort once again, and though I know there will be ups and downs, they cloud my vision of the next couple of weeks.
My current medical leave ends at the beginning of July, which means I am soon to go through the process of having my ability to return to work re-assessed and judged. My short-term disability coverage is set to expire about a week before my current leave ends, and any extension will require more medical information being shared between my doctor and insurance company. I really do want to return to work! I really want to be ready and capable of returning to work, but I can only control that to a certain degree. I can be honest with my doctor about what I think I can do, he will make his own decisions as to what I can or should not do, and then, the leave of absence team will make their own decision as to whether or not I can be permitted to return to work. My desire to return to work is great; my power to control the situation is small.
As mentioned, the past few days have been on the rough side of the scale. It feels difficult to explain how I feel at any given moment, because most people simply don’t have a frame of reference to understand. While my pain levels may have decreased significantly since last November, I still have pain, on some level, all of the time. My left calf and an important portion of my left foot and toes have been numb from the beginning. I can tolerate my pain and symptoms most of the time these days. In fact, I stopped taking my pain medications as they were ineffective anyway. But I cannot sit or lie down without pain and uncomfortable symptoms of tingling and numbness. I think I could still return to work, but I know it would come with further discomfort and pain. The recent increase in my pain and symptoms, however, isn’t really a cause for concern. At least I don’t think so, and it is likely due to pushing a little too hard on a new series of rehab exercises, which have now been dialed back.
The new rehab exercises were exciting to me, because they were something fresh and new and they felt like real exercises. I was not so thrilled with the unexpected resurgence of pain, not so much because it happened but because of the strength of it. Although my pain levels vary from moment to moment, day to day, I have grown comfortable with them being within a reasonable range of late, and these recent days have surpassed that reasonable range for the first time in several weeks. Wednesday was a really rough day. Yesterday was not quite so bad but not great. Today started out not too bad but is finishing similar to yesterday. I was asked today how I’m feeling…how close to ‘good enough’ do I need to be?
I’ve been living these first two weeks of June with the expectation that I will be returning to work in July, but I suspect I will live these next two weeks on tenterhooks, wondering if I will given the okay.