Anxiety and Anticipation

Yesterday we received news that the remodel we’ve saved for 10 years to do on our house has exceeded the budget thanks to rising construction costs, despite my cutting the extras I’d wanted. And one week before I’m to pay out the high deductible for my ExoSyms. Awesome.

I had planned on taking the family with me on a work conference on the Big Island of Hawaii in October. The kids have been begging to see real hot lava and this was a great opportunity. However, based on the construction news, last evening we made the difficult decision to cancel the family vacation to save money.

After many tears (the kids and me), my husband had another idea: “Your feet are more important. Once you have your ExoSyms we can go on some hiking trips close to home to Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens this summer with the kids. Hawaii and its lava aren’t going anywhere. We’ll go another year.”

Something in my subconscious must have grabbed onto that suggestion because last night I dreamt I received my ExoSyms. Well, if I’m being honest, it was a total anxiety dream from HELL.

The foot parts of the devices were the size of snowshoes and the straps (made of flimsy plastic in this nightmarish version) wouldn’t wrap around my tiny calves. The staff was nonchalant when I asked why they didn’t fit, saying my feet and calves were just too small and it wasn’t going to work for me.

My conscious mind must have known what was going on because I remembered I’d seen ExoSyms for a little boy, but when I tried to tell the staff this in my dream, they looked at me like I was high. I couldn’t walk in the devices and fell a lot. My feet and neck were killing me. I sat down on the floor and cried at the realization I’d not be doing things with my family after all. I was doomed to living in this constant pain for the rest of my life. I’d gotten my hopes up for nothing.

I woke up crying, with a neck kink for good measure. I was so relieved to realize it was a dream, but the reason behind it remains real enough. I’m afraid to put too much hope behind the devices. What if I can’t do all I want to do with them?

The good news is, the results of these devices is guaranteed to be 100 times better than that dream. But how much better will it be than what I live with today? The tendonitis in my left ankle still hurt when I tried on the test devices. That haunts me.

Sometimes all this waiting between test device and actual devices can be good – time to save money, do preparation exercise and plan the things I’ll do. And at the same time it can be bad – giving my over active imagination WAY too much time to design worst case scenarios. The fear of getting my hopes up too far is real, and completely natural. I’m doing my best to keep the faith and trust in the process. It will be better. Just how much better, we shall see.

In the meantime, I’m putting together my simple list of things I hope (please, please, pretty please) I’ll be able to do once I’ve received, learned to use and strengthened my body properly for the ExoSyms.

My ExoSym Bucket List

  • Confidently take thousands and thousands of steps every day without fear of sudden debilitating pain at the wrong step.
  • Go for several mile hikes over uneven terrain in the mountains with my family and my exceptionally outdoor brother’s family.
  • Walk around the zoo, downtown, state fairs, malls, Disneyland and any other hard surface area for hours without pain.
  • Walk with my daughter and her Girl Scout Troop in parades, hikes, and events.
  • No longer cringe when asked if we can walk the dogs or go to a playground.
  • Go for walks on rocky and sandy beaches.
  • Play tennis, basketball, baseball, Frisbee, soccer, and any other sport my kids want me to play with them.
  • Clean the house with zero foot pain during or at the end.
  • Go snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.
  • Learn to run (more to keep up with folks than to take it up as a sport; though it does come in handy during a zombie apocalypse).
  • Jump with the confidence that I won’t double up in pain when I land.
  • Go to bed at night after an active day and have no need for a Tylenol PM to help me sleep through the foot pain.
  • Confidently take a fast hard step to catch myself when I trip and not feel gut wrenching pain as a result.
  • Keep up with my active, energetic kids and be able to participate in whatever they want to do. (Never saying “I’m sorry honey, my feet won’t let me” or “I’m sorry, I hurt too much today” again.)
  • Tell a really creative story about my secret mission that lead to my injury and the ExoSyms, and what happened to “the other guy” if anyone asks what the devices are and why I wear them.
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