My favorite sport is fastpitch softball. I never played it, but my daughter did, and we spent many a weekend on the road to tournaments. I always used to maintain that if her team held in there until the parking lot was empty, we’d done well; that means you’re in the championship game.

If you don’t know anything about fastpitch, it’s a lot like baseball, but better. It’s rarely a slugfest, for one thing; not because the girls aren’t capable of sailing a grand slam over the fence — I’ve seen that plenty of times. No, it’s because they use a lot more tools to win the game. It’s not just hitting and bunting; it’s slapping, it’s playing the short game, it’s sac bunts, it’s movement of the ball.

Real, Actual Daughter, pitching in college

My daughter was a pitcher. She had a couple of great pitching coaches, and they didn’t dwell on how fast she could throw, though she had speed; they worked on how she could move the ball and hit her targets. Curveballs that made batters back up, only to have the umpire call ssstttrrrriiiiiiikkkkkeee!! Rise balls that inevitably had batters swatting at them, and if they connected at all, went straight up in the air for an easy catch and out. Working the umpire’s strike zone so she could get those strikes called when she needed them.

It’s never as easy as throw the ball over the plate, hit the ball, catch the ball, throw the ball. It’s about strategy and long-term goals.

My journey has never been easy. I’ve had to learn a lot of strategies to get the results I want. I’ve had to put in some long days and hard nights to get one step further down the road when it seems, at times, I’ve taken three steps back. I’ve had to overcome plenty of obstacles to get to the championship game; and when you play at this level, every game ends up being a championship game. You play it to win.

This past Tuesday, I went through my pre-surgical tests, only to be told that if my potassium levels were that low on the day of surgery, they would have to refuse me. I am on high blood pressure medicine that leaches away potassium, and chances are, I’m healthy enough now that we might have to consider backing off the dosage. In the meantime, I’ve been prescribed potassium to bring my numbers up. I’ve also been told I’m borderline anemic, which I probably brought on unknowingly when my primary doctor and I opted to experiment with thyroid medications. I’ll know when tests come back if we need to reconsider dosage on that, as well.

To confound matters, my regular doc can’t understand why my tests were perfectly normal three weeks ago, so he sent me back to the vampire (sorry… phlebotomist!) for yet another blood test. He wants to see if it comes back like the one earlier in the week. At this point, I’m beginning to feel like a pin cushion.

I managed to get my surgical clearance, but I still have work to do between now and my surgical date — my current championship, if you will. I still have to work my strategies and keep at the hard fight; not just until surgery, but until the day I’m cleared after surgery, after physical therapy, after three straight weeks of spending a total of six hours a day strapped into a CPM machine, after walking with a walker — a cane — and then unaided.

Between now and then, I still need to push forward, overcome the things that stand in my way (which there seems to be on a daily basis, right now), get through surgery, and find the strength within me to do the best job possible in recovery.

I wish I could say it’s smooth sailing from here, but the real game has just begun.

(PS: this song is dedicated to both my husband and daughter, because I know they both despise it. 😉 )


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