Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cut out your scar tissue obstacles.

It is amazing to me the impact an obstacle can have on someone's effort towards something they really want to achieve.  So many people give up and see the goal as just unachievable or too hard.  I am here to tell you, it is worth fighting to find a way around or through or removing that obstacle.  You have to be stubborn - don't take NO for an answer.  You will fight through some extremely frustrating and maybe even painful times but in the end, when you achieve that goal, trust me, it will all be worth it.

You may wonder why the heck am I yammering on about "don't let go of your goals" or "don't let an obstacle get in your way"...I hear ya...yeah, yeah, yeah Oprah, sing those optimist psalms.  So why have I all of a sudden gone into the business of positive thinking blogging? No, don't worry, I have no intention of quitting my day job but I have had some time to THINK about my day job recently and reflect upon obstacles.

Some of you may know that I had my knee replaced 2 years ago. Please do not tell me I am too young because I have to hold myself back from punching people who say that - see, not a "self-help speaker" do I make.  I mean really...I am too don't say.  I digress.  Some may also know that I have had a bit of a rough go of it with this new knee of mine.  Let me tell you. It is really hard to convince people how much pain you are in.  Trust me, I am fighting the VA Board of Appeals right now on that very issue.  How to score how bad your pain is.  We all know that stupid "from 1 to bad is your pain"scale is right?!, I don't know, 15?  I mean really, I just may be a whole lot tougher than you big whimpy VA claim reader and think my pain is a 5 when you would think it is a 9 but those damn numbers matter when it comes to a lot things it appears.

So, back to my knee. Over the last year, I have been in an incredible amount of pain and losing flexion as each day went by.  You don't really appreciate how important it is that your knee bends until it doesn't.  I went to my surgeon who said it was part of the process, but I just knew something was not right.  I had to get a second opinion.  I went back to physical therapy - more like physical torture - sessions but still, that stupid knee would not budge past 90 degrees no matter how many people tried to bend it (while others had to hold me down because the pain was so extreme).

There was a definite obstacle.  Some would have just decided that was how it was going to be and lived with all that pain and lack of motion.  Heck, even my new doctor told me that the last thing they would want to do to someone my age (yep, there it is again) would be a REVISION of a total knee replacement, but I would not take no for an answer. I knew something was wrong, and dammit, I wanted it fixed.  My doctor ran the tests and decided, yep, better do the revision.  He figured some part had to have come loose and would have to be replaced.  So though things were crazy at work and not exactly the best time for me to take a hiatus from the office and leading my team, I decided to have the surgery.  Now trust me, this is not an easy decision for me since I cannot take pain killers.  I knew life was about to totally suck for a while.

Fast forward to after the surgery.  I am in recovery, and my doctor comes to try and have a coherent conversation with me.  What he said though popped me right out of the anesthesia.  He said the replacement was fine but there was a "wall" of scar tissue that was blocking the knee. He said they had never seen anything like it - he wished he had a camera to video it (yeah, so do I  - yes, I am one of those gross fascination people who gets pictures for her medical records of surgeries).  As soon as this obstacle was removed, the knee worked perfectly - bending to 120 degrees after closed up.  I almost leapt from the bed and hugged the man (people would likely have looked at me strangely at that gown not exactly all secure in the rear ya know).  I was immediately put in a machine bending my knee 90 degrees for the first almost 24 hours.  Seriously!! I had not bent it that much without excruciating pain for almost a year, and it was working with hardly any pain at all.  Here I am, 1 week after surgery, and bending 105 degrees.  I could almost dance if I did not want to go and screw up this miracle.

<exhale> I know...long story short but one I wanted to share because it speaks volumes about obstacles.  Here I had this high tech knee that just would not work at all and not because of something wrong with the knee but rather an obstacle my body had created for some Murphy's Law reason.  Now that it is removed, I just know my goal of getting back to having a normal life (until my left knee has to be done) can be achieved.  I am so thrilled I am like a kid at Christmas.

All this made me think about work.  There are SOOOOOO many obstacles to information sharing - especially between the government and industry.  It is what I work on every day. It is what I am PASSIONATE about!  I truly believe that building a trusted community of knowledge is what we need in order to get ahead of this ever present cyber threat that is draining industry and government alike of precious resources every day.

There are so many obstacles to just getting things done in the government, with DHS being a special case in and of themselves.  So many people give up and say it is too hard (hence the recent parading of leadership out the door). They say, "I am going to go at this myself," or go to industry or find greener pastures. I am here to tell you, as I have shared the wise words of one of my mentors before...the grass is not always greener, it is sometimes just green.

We cannot give up when these obstacles pop up or when people say it cannot be done. Don't let the "NO" people determine the future of your goals.  Be one of those people who pushes back and says, "NO person, either you help find a way that we can or get the heck out of my way."  If you work hard enough, and try to find ways to remove or go around an obstacle, you will find those very painful efforts on the other side to be so rewarding.  Now, they may not be finally being able to walk downstairs like a grown-up again, like in my case.  I mean, that one is really hard to beat.  It will be worth it - and when you really start digging to find what that obstacle actually is, you may find it has nothing to do with the problem at all - it may be something that is only there because you are allowing it to be there.

Cut out that scar tissue and get your knee bending again.  Okay, we now return to my regularly, non-inspriational, blog programming. :o)
--Michelle Valdez

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