I’m not feeling entirely tenacious this week. Sure, the fighting spirit is still there, she always is, but she’s taking a backseat. Allowing me to process the news this week’s long awaited hand specialist appointment revealed. News parts of me knew but were unwilling to accept. News parts of me are still not willing to accept despite having seen it in the black and gray of x rays that make reality fairly hard to ignore. Despite having scoured the internet for a better prognosis than I have now been handed.
Tenacity has taken a step back to allow for vulnerability. As much as she protects me with her fierce can-do attitude, at times it is important to wallow, just for a moment. To refuse to make the lemons life has thrown into lemonade. To be broken, to grieve the loss of my former self.
Time for anger, sorrow, and the deep, dark grief that accompanies letting go of dreams long harbored. Dreams of an able body, a healed body. For although I have been disabled for years now, the truth is, tenacious me has never accepted that. It’s been a temporary setback.
Always I have carried on with the belief that once my symptoms were controlled, I would regain my former strength and ability to get things done and return to the active life of a tenacious problem solver.
That one day I would work in aquaculture once again. That days spent hunched over a microscope, in a lab, solving mysteries and wonders were not only my past but also my future. That crafting and creating would again allow me freedom and solace more often than frustration with my limits.
Then reality hits like a semi, leaving me dreadfully broken and distraught on the side of the highway. There is no saving my hands. The words rip through my mind, tearing holes in my soul each time they repeat. There is no saving my hands. It is a harsh and heartbreaking reality. One I maybe should have been prepared for. After all, I see and use them everyday. I know how they have changed. How limited their movement, how weak their grasp, how they struggle with anything requiring a bit of dexterity.
I guess I never really thought that those changes would be permanent, least not so soon. I imagined a world where those things could be fixed. Having seen so many astoundingly miraculous medical treatments, I assumed rebuilding hands was a reality. How wrong I was. How heartrendingly wrong.
For in the age of titanium bones and robotic limbs, it seems impossible that anything is beyond fixing. And yet, here I am, being offered wrists that will never bend and fingers that will never again straighten. A choice between pain and mobility. Between suffering and usefulness. What a choice to make.
I’ve no idea which to choose, neither option gives me back the use of my clever, strong hands. It’s like I’ve been offered cat poop or feathers for dinner for the rest of my life, to be honest part of me would rather starve. Most of me is hoping there is a crumb of bread hidden out there somewhere because I can’t live on either forever.
Hopefully I won’t have to. Tenacious me waits in the wings, ready to enlist the help of bakers and fixers. To challenge the doers of the world to step up and do better. Tenacious me insists the answers we’ve been given are not enough and therefore, asks for more. She is looking for sugar for that lemonade. Fearless and confident in the ability of humans to solve even the most complex problems, tenacious me is certain that even this prognosis, is temporary. That in time, the answers we seek will come. That somewhere, there is a clever mind with the key to our bright future. Maybe it’s you.