The first weeks
The weeks after our wedding were blissful. We traveled from Dominican Republic to Miami where we had a mini honeymoon. We also officially tied the knot in the Miami Beach Art Deco styled court house. MH and I people watched, jogged through the boardwalks and parks, and ate amazing Peruvian ceviche. During this time, however, I had a nagging shoulder pain. It had started the year before during an improperly taught barre class. It seemed like the physical therapy sessions I had in the month prior to getting married didn’t fix the problem.
As an avid (AKA obsessed) surfer, I found this pain and weakness in my shoulder to be life altering. Surfing was my outlet, my escape, my reset button, and my spiritual source. Without the daily routine of waking at dawn and surfing before work I felt lost, and really cranky. The constant and increasing pain wasn’t helping my mood, either.
The story of my shoulder surgeries, the pain and misdiagnosis leading up to them, and the life altering results are a novel of their own. All I can say is that I was in intense physical pain for a long time. Three years later I am still adjusting to my “new normal”. My first shoulder surgery was on my right shoulder in May of 2015. When I had I stopped physical therapy prior to my first surgery, my left shoulder destabilized, so six months later I had surgery on my left shoulder. I had stretched out both my capsules from the repeated overhead motion of surfing, improper muscle use, and just poor genetic luck.
Surgery fixed the problem (it was treated as a labral or SLAP tear for those who are wondering), but the nerve pain, which was exacerbated by any type of computer work, was physically and emotionally exhausting. For an entire year I was in a constant state of irritation and borderline depression. The last thing I could think about was having children; I literally did not have the ability to lift or hold them.
To make matters worse, our small condo received thousands of dollars of water damage just prior to my first surgery. A neighbor who was renovating his condo above was testing a pipe that was apparently unconnected, and the result was our kitchen and bathroom being flooded. We unexpectedly had to move out for several days. The contractor hired by the insurance company was terrible. It took 5 months for the work to be completed. What this meant, though, was that when MH’s parents came to visit us from the Dominican Republic they couldn’t stay with us. Their several week stay turned into two months in a nearby hotel, during which MH’s father went to the emergency room due to an Rheumatoid Arthritis crisis. He hadn’t taken enough medicine with him before he left, and his body was on the verge of shutting down.
An unfortunate event
Shortly after my in-laws returned back to the Dominican Republic, I got news that my cousin had tragically passed away. Going home to attend the service and spend time with my cousins and family was a healing experience. However, for many months I was hurt, shaken, and angered by his death. The voids that had been created by what “could” and “should” be from every other challenge that I had experienced so far that year paled in comparison to the vacuum created by actually losing someone you love.
By the end of 2015 my baby fund was drained and I felt like I was at my breaking point. MH’s and my union was tested in ways I could not have imagined during our first year of marriage, and I could not have anticipated that the hurdles would keep coming in the months ahead. Starting a family seemed so far away.