Have you ever had to decide between two things that both terrify you?
That’s where I’m at right now: in the middle of making probably the biggest choice of my life.
I can see the pros and cons of both. Either one could easily be the “right” decision and act as that last push to get me over the hump of adversity to reach my most desired goals.
I want to be able to walk on my own again, as most of you know. Right now, I have two options to really have a chance to make that happen.
Behind door number one, I have just general physical therapy, along with a few other treatments (bracing, injections, etc.) which could be enough to overcome the physiological barriers that my condition presents and allow me to have a shot to start walking on my own again.
Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. I’ve been stuck in place for so long that more drastic, permanent measures might give me a better chance.
Which leads me to door number two–surgery. In short, and sparing you all the gory details, the operation could (I use that word with great emphasis) do everything the aforementioned option would do, but do it better.
Again, easy decision right? No. The recovery is long and painstaking. I’d be spending six weeks simply lying around waiting to heal, and then two to three months of intense PT in order to get back into shape, and there are still no guarantees
I’ve had a similar procedure before, twice actually. So I know what I’m getting myself into. It’s not fun at all. The thing is, I’m in a race against the clock.
I’m old. Well, I’m old for a CP patient at least. I’m right on the edge physically of this surgery having a decent enough chance of being beneficial. If I wait too long to have it done to see if the other treatments would work well enough, not only would I have to put off school and my career, but I might not have anywhere close to the same effect.
There is also an opportunity for redemption here. I’ve said that I’ve done this before.
I know what it’s like to reach this goal. It’s incredible. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, tears and good fortune for everything to come together.
When that was taken away from me, I didn’t want to go through all of it again. There were periods of times where I didn’t want to do the PT, I didn’t want to put in the work, to go through the pain anymore, so I didn’t I slacked off and just lived my life being content with the way things were and when I did decide to get myself up off the canvas, I was intimidated and overwhelmed by how much I had to do.
That time has passed. I can say confidently that I’ve never wanted this more than I do right now.
There’s no time to waste. There’s still no guarantees either. However, this could be my last chance at a second chance. Eventually, life will take its course and there will not be time for risk taking and dream chasing.
I want to have a successful career, to start a family and to look back knowing that I tried my hardest to walk again, even if I end up not being able to. I can live with that.
So, I’m rolling the dice and having the surgery, and, once I’m able to, I’m going to work harder than I ever have. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, maybe it will all be for not, and I’m still scared of that possibility but sometimes you have to gamble to win the jackpot.
So, if you’re faced with a problem such as mine – one with no clear-cut answer – you might just have to take a chance to reach your goal.
First ask yourself: is the risk worth the reward? Do you want it badly enough? If your answer is no, you’ll surely fail.
If yes, you might just do exactly what you set out to do. After all, there might not be any better time than now.
Jacob Barrett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org