Where to Begin

Happy Monday! Ok, so I'm finally going to stop dragging my feet this morning and post more about Joe's amputation. I honestly did not think it would be so hard to write about or to share, but it has been a HUGE struggle: 1. I'm just not sure what to write about (I've been working on this same blog for about 2 weeks now), 2. it's really hard for me to share my feelings or things I've gone through voluntarily, and 3. I'm nervous about what people will think. So I've just decided go for it and perhaps start at the beginning and share my perspective on it; the things you didn't see on the previous blogs; the worries; the heavy stuff. If you are just joining the blog or have joined within the last couple of months, here's a very, very quick recap: my boyfriend Joe got his left foot amputated last summer. To view his story, you can view an awesome video here, check out his Facebook Page, or read some of my other posts: Where I've Been,  Famous? and  Welcome Home.

View More: http://instantdeviephotography.pass.us/johnna_joeHere we are! Photo by Instant de Vie Photography

It's really weird seeing those old photos. They feel like a lifetime ago. And to be honest, it's weird to see him with 2 real legs/feet now. I'm so used to his prosthetic, that I don't really remember a time without it. Funny how that works, isn't it?

So, I was watching How I Met Your Mother today (as per usual), and there was a quote that really resonated with me (as so many do.) It was the episode where Victoria is about to leave for Germany (Season 1, Episode 16), and Ted and her decide to break up. Ted was wallowing in his apartment, and here's what Marshall said:

"She’s leaving for Germany tomorrow, and you break up with her today? No. You spend one more amazing day together. Think about it this way… if you knew that you were going to lose your leg tomorrow, would you sit on the couch and cry about it? Or would you run, and jump, and do some awesome air kicks while you still could?"

- Marshall (How I Met Your Mother)

We spent two months doing awesome air kicks.


Those two months leading up the surgery were so jam-packed and went by so quickly that we almost forget that it was even happening. We made a whole bucket list of things to do before the surgery and almost did every single one. There wasn't really any time to feel sorry or wallow or feel bad. It was more about celebrating what time we had left.

But I can't say there were no hard moments, because there definitely were.

The last 2 days before the surgery were the worst. We had nothing left but us: no distractions, no events, just...a countdown. And those days were dark. We worked and did what we could, but it was more or less just going through the motions. What else can you do? There are no comforting words to say, there's nothing you can do. You just have to wait.

The surgery was nerve-racking, but fortunately, it didn't last very long, but I counted down every minute until I knew he came out on the other side. I was so lucky to be able to sit and wait with Joe's family and Jeri surprised me with a visit for a few hours. It was during this time and during the next week at the hospital that Joe's family became my family. I don't know how I would have done it without them.

Other than the surgery being nerve-racking, I selfishly had a lot of things that were going through my mind around the amputation. Because it's not JUST  surgery. It is a whole life change. How was the amputation going to affect our relationship? Was Joey going to be the same strong, charismatic person I fell in love with? Would we be able to make it through this? Was I strong enough to handle this?

I had no idea what to expect or what role I was going to play in the situation. Joe and I had only been dating for 3 months. We hadn't even said the 'L' word yet. I wasn't exactly sure where I fit in with this huge decision. I wanted to be there for Joey more than anything, but I also knew that this could mean so many different things. This could mean letting him be with his family and taking a back seat until he was ready. It could mean being there a little bit, but letting him take care of himself. Or it could mean jumping in and being there every step of the way no matter what.

What could have been a strain on our relationship or even an ending point turned out to be what made our relationship. As soon as Joey got out of surgery, I was actually the first person he asked for and as soon as I got down to see him, he told me he loved me (he was still pretty hopped up from surgery, so it took me 2 or 3 days to really believe it haha). This was my defining moment. It was when I finally made the 'I'm All In' leap. And it was the best decision I ever made.