Saturday, March 31, 2012

Resistance versus Resilience

When presented with a difficult, or even life altering event, you have several choices about how to deal with these occurrences. Change, especially changes perceived to be for the worse, present to us a choice about how to deal with our new circumstances.

One of the many choices we may choose is resistance. If we resist the newly unfolding change, it can sometimes make a difficult happenstance even worse. Early on in my leg loss I chose not resist the inevitable reality that presented itself to me, instead I resolved that I would demonstrate resilience.

After the loss of my first leg, I was determined to get my life back on track to the best of my ability. Of course after having lost a leg I realized my life would never be as it was before, however, I knew with a lot of work and determination that I could still maintain a good and fairly normal quality of life.

Unfortunately after having attained what I felt was a manageable quality of life, I lost my second leg. The loss of my second leg was a traumatic setback for me. Once again I was presented with a choice of resistance versus resilience. We all know I chose resilience.

My continued "bounce back" however was plagued with difficulties much more overwhelming than the loss of just one leg. Now I no longer had my natural remaining leg to rely upon to help me compensate for the loss of the other leg.

Being a bilateral above knee amputee is a multifaceted problem. Not having my natural knee component in either leg meant I would no longer be able to "push up" with my knee to lift me out of a chair, to lift me up to the next step on a staircase, or to control my prosthetic foot while driving.

Fifteen months after the loss of my second leg, I am still learning new ways to do a lot of things that were much easier when I still had one good leg. My current and lifelong challenge heretofore will and has involved a lot of physical therapy and different techniques to help me to learn to walk again.

Even though I realize that my resisting the challenges presented before me are disadvantageous to my progress, my mind can't help but wander back to the time when I still had the one good leg to rely upon for help.

Maintaining my resolve to walk again has been wrought with self doubt and questioning my ability to accomplish the task presented before me. Can I do it? Will I do it?

I am fortunate in that I have maintained physical strength in my upper body through daily exercise and weight lifting. This physical strength has proved to be invaluable. My ability to maintain my independence, to keep my condo, and take care of myself without having to rely on others for most of the activities I do on a daily basis, has hinged on my physical strength, and for that I am very grateful.

Resilience is a funny thing. Why are some people resilient and others much less so? I think it comes from a belief in yourself and a desire to remain autonomous. The degree to which you want to be able to do things for yourself will drive you to work harder to overcome obstacles in your life.

I do not want to give up any more independence than is absolutely necessary because my leg losses, or any monumental loss, is devastating enough in and of itself. Consequently, I strive in the midst of my losses to maintain not only my physical freedom but also my mental and spiritual freedoms as well.

I derive much satisfaction and happiness by exercising my ability to come back from seemingly overwhelming conditions. Our ability to observe ourselves in our situations and make an assessment about how to proceed in our life, helps us to seek and find the correct procedure to take that will bring about the most positive results.

If we resist what is, than how are we able to help ourselves? Resisting what is, creates a waste of our energy that robs us of the positivity necessary to become successful in the goals we set for ourselves.

I am as positive as possible about my future and I couple it with patience and perseverance thus giving me the tools I need to achieve what I set out to do.

My resolution to be resilient about my future has helped immensely, but I have not done it completely on my own. There is nothing wrong with leaning on family, friends and medical professionals for support, knowledge, and encouragement.

Last but certainly not least, I rely on my spiritual faith to carry me through. Knowing that God is always there for me and that despite all outward appearances, I am in fact never alone on my journey, gives me comfort.

Being securely grounded in that knowledge and truth gives me the continuous strength I need to carry on, for that I am eternally grateful.

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