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Spinal Surgery Recovery~Lessons in Patience & Gratitude

Spinal Surgery Recovery: The Other Side of Strong

January, 2016

I was only a few days post spinal surgery and the winter temps of the Central Highlands had me chilled to the bones and wobbly on the tile floors of our San Miguel de Allende home.

Tender on my feet and using all of my might to put one in front of the other, I hobbled into my son’s room with socks in my hands and tears in my eyes. “Liam, buddy”, I called to him, “Can you please help me put these on?”. My husband Frank was out running errands and I needed to learn to rely on the support of others. Life Lesson #1.

Before I could get the words out, Liam caught me mid-sentence, “Oh Mama, do you need my help?”

The tears fell without restraint, “Yes, son, like a little baby, could you please help me?”

Spinal Surgery Recovery~Lessons in Patience & Gratitude

Down on his knees, my 11-year-old boy–without hesitation and with great patience, love, and care–put each of my socks on my half-frozen feet. I could not have done it myself had my life depended on it. The pride and gratitude I felt for my kind-hearted son far outweighed my overwhelming sense of helplessness.

Lessons in Patience & Gratitude

I will never take bending over, crouching down or putting my clothes on by myself for granted. Nor will I ever again be able to look at barbecue tongs in the same way after having used them to help me put my underwear on–true story. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention!

These have been a very trying past two and a half months, but things are getting better and I am getting stronger every day. Our recent three-week trip to the States proved to be something of a reset for me and a necessary distancing from the home that has been the container of my pain and my struggles of recovery from two life-altering events.

Sometimes propelling ourselves into an unknown and new environment helps to create a better, renewed and stronger frame of mind. Without a doubt, our time spent in snowy Colorado re-booted me into another realm of recovery. Navigating myself like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Woman in multiple layers of clothing and shin-high snow boots was no small feat. But it engaged both my mind and body, and slow and steady with great patience and grace for self, I made my way from point A to B stronger and more confident in my newfound skills and life outlook. 

I give thanks every single day that the gift of walking has been slowly returned to me, literally inch by inch, and that I was one of the lucky ones not sentenced to a life in a wheelchair. I am forever grateful that destiny and fate allowed my path to cross with doctors that have literally saved and given me my life back. Thank you, thank you, mil gracias mi Querido México.

With great gratitude for this one precious life,

Katie O’Grady



*Don’t become a statistic. Get your Carbon Monoxide Detectors for both home and travel today.




About the author: Together with my Retired Firefighter Husband and our now 19-year-old twins who were just 8 when we immigrated to Mexico in 2012, we have created a joyful life of design and freedom South of The Border. Welcome to Los O’Gradys in Mexico! Saludos, Katie 🇲🇽 ☘️

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Sherri Chessen January 29, 2016, 11:24 am

    God made tears for when words were insufficient.
    This is such a time for me.
    I love you all and my heart suffers along with you.
    So proud of your love and strength, Katie.

    • Katie O'Grady January 29, 2016, 11:31 am

      Thank you Sherri…
      That means so very much to me.
      Much love,

  • Katie O'Grady January 29, 2016, 2:29 pm

    Because posts get further and further down on a Facebook feed, I have copied and pasted these FB comments to my blog in a desire to have a permanent record of them. Thank you all for your contributions and comments. ~Katie

    Donna J. Quinton:
    Great Read Katie and Change is good it teaches us to be flexible and happy. Much love!

    Trevor Gregg:
    Well written youngster! You have experienced more than most do in a lifetime. It hasn’t beaten you down, but made you a better person. You go into your next chapter of life with a wealth of knowledge few attain.
    I challenge you to do one thing: take all the writings that you have complied and start preparing for the book that is sure to come. Don’t wait until there is too much information to handle.
    Hopefully I’ll be around to read it!

    Kate Loomis Healy:
    So proud of you Katie- You are incredible and are constantly challenging yourself. Good luck with your next adventure and don’t let the jerks get you down…something is wrong with them:) Hugs and kisses and lots of good luck!

    Mary Jo Miller:
    You tell ’em Katie O’Grady. I’m certain your appreciative followers far outweigh the negative nellies. Your truth and candor are really refreshing and I am excited to continue to follow you and Frank and the Reds journey. Namaste

    Renee Lotta:
    Love it well said Katie! I enjoy reading all your deep hearted life journeys. Your transparency is so appreciated. I like others would love to see you but girl when you are on a mission you have to be on course. We love you and your family and hopefully in the future we will cross paths. Until then mi querida familia we will continue to support the life you have chosen for you and your beautiful family. Keep writing it’s such a blessing to me. I wish you complete healing and strength to enjoy those things you love and desire♡

    Larry Ruth:
    Wow that is quite a read. Follow the path you trust in. God be you and your family

    Fatima Nieto:
    What a great woman and human being you are. My admiration always. God bless!

  • Jill February 2, 2016, 5:17 pm

    Oh, my! I had no idea you were going through all that! Glad to hear that it sounds like things are finally looking up for you. I look forward to reading your continued adventures, wherever they take you! (Because it sounds like wherever you go, you´ll make an adventure out of it.) 😉

    • Katie O'Grady February 2, 2016, 10:08 pm

      Hi Jill,

      Thanks so much for popping in! I have enjoyed looking at your blog and your many adventures!

      I am starting to get a spunk back to my step….tomorrow marks 3 months since my surgery. I am singing my surgeon’s praises and my own ability to pick myself up from the bootstraps!

      I am grateful that I get to adventure on…


      Katie 🙂

  • Barbara Lane February 5, 2016, 7:08 pm

    Katie Darling – I hope you are so proud. You have reason to be. And on the hard days? Remember God said it came to pass, He didn’t say it came to stay.


    • Katie O'Grady February 5, 2016, 9:39 pm

      Sweet Barbara,
      Thank you for such a lovely message.
      I couldn’t agree more.
      🙂 Katie

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