Stairway to Heaven


This past week has provided many opportunities to appreciate how far I’ve come, and how much I have to be thankful for. It seems suitable that it’s Thanksgiving as I write this.

This past weekend was my annual write-in weekend with one of my dearest friends. We have a wonderful time whenever we’re together. This is the fourth year we’ve had our annual weekend; all the fun aside, one of the biggest challenges of the weekend has always been the series of stairs down to the lakefront cabin. I usually am the first one to arrive, and I admit that part of the reason I do it is because I know those stairs are an issue.

My particular stairways to greater things

The first year, it took me a long time to get my stuff down to the cabin, and I had to rest repeatedly to get back up them. It takes roughly three trips to get everything down to the cabin; for my own health and abilities, I had to take long rests to make it. My friend has always been great about taking on more than she should have to, and I have always felt bad about not pulling my own weight, quite literally.

This past weekend? I didn’t need breaks between hauling stuff down and back up. My friend still carried a portable ice maker for me. That’s it. With one new knee (and a lot less weight!), the steps were far easier than they’ve ever been. And really, this is one of the biggest reasons I chose to work toward health.

I returned home on Monday just to turn around and leave for a couple days with my husband and drive over to a favorite haunt. We discovered places we hadn’t been, before, despite having been there many times over the last 35 or so years, including a Grand Promenade. We walked it, and it was an easy walk — but the stairs at the beginning were a challenge.

We also took several grand staircases in the historic hotel where we stayed, and it was quite nice to not be held back by physical limitations. It felt really great to stretch my legs; get out first thing in the morning and walk the Promenade; to stroll along the Avenue without concern about distance. We walked in the sunshine, and we walked among the Christmas lights. I could not have asked for more proof of how far I’ve come than the simple tasks of being able to move without constant planning and worry.

In just over a week, I take the next step, and while I had some angst and dread about the last knee replacement surgery, I am strangely excited about this one. I know I’ll be laid low for a bit; I’ll deal with weight gain, diet deviations, and the road to recovery — but I know without a doubt it’s worth it. It’s a stairway to somewhere I haven’t been, yet, and I’m ready.


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