Gratitude

My heart is filled with gratitude—the kind of inner flush that starts in your heart and constantly reframes your thoughts. It is not just a polite ”Yes, I am feeling good.” And it is not fleeting. These complex days in the world find me with a newfound ability to listen, reflect, and sort through what to take in and what to let go.

I had my two-week post-surgical visit this week. Excellent report after my L4/L5 bilateral laminectomy. Now free to resume swimming, biking, and hiking—albeit gently. (My surgeon knows me.) But even before that visit, I knew I was doing well because I had weaned myself off all pain meds, begun moving more easily than I have in a couple of years, and above all, am feeling no sciatica pain!

When my surgeon came into the room, I got up and took his hand in both of mine and profoundly thanked him. Certainly, his skill and that of his entire team was instrumental in all of this, but I went into surgery as physically strong as I could. We were quite the team. I feel as if I have been given a new lease on my active life.

Thanks to all of you who reached out during this time. I read and re-read every comment and card. They meant a lot. Those good wishes helped me remain hopeful. I was carried into the surgery on a wave of healing energy.

This public declaration of gratitude will help me hold that point on the wheel of each situation I find myself in these next months and beyond. It is a stated covenant, a commitment to keep my hand on the gratitude rudder that charts the course of my life.

My wish for each of you is to capture moments of gratitude, tuck them into a pouch where they can easily be retrieved, and pull them out as needed to serve as antidotes of hopefulness in moments of challenge.

After a visit with my surgeon, a celebratory hike to our favorite Bowman Bay. Resting in the blessing of the long vista of Puget Sound. photo by Christina Baldwin

40 replies
  1. Glenda Goodrich
    Glenda Goodrich says:

    Oh gosh Ann. I didn’t know you had surgery. I’m so happy to hear it went well and that you are recovering nicely. I am grateful for people like you who fill the world with positivity and kindness. Thank you for being you! xo

    Reply
  2. Bonnie Rae
    Bonnie Rae says:

    I like to think that your appreciation and gratitude are what helped bring this healing full circle for you. Such invaluable things as you find your strength again. Thanks for sharing this good news! Take good care. 

    Reply
  3. Julie Glover
    Julie Glover says:

    HOORAY!!!!! Had I known when you were going in for surgery, I would have sent you love notes for sure. I feel a comparable gratitude to yours in realizing that I don’t have to move out of my dearly-loved house. Hasn’t life been amazingly good to us both? Haven’t we been so blessed and lucky? 😘

    Reply
  4. Tenneson
    Tenneson says:

    I’m glad for you Ann — and this way that you work as team. Makes me smile to think of you in these physical things that you love! Hugs.

    Reply
  5. Melissa B-K
    Melissa B-K says:

    What a profound testimony to the gift of gratitude. I feel joy as I imagine you easing back into those practices that also feed your soul.

    Reply
  6. Meredith Jordan
    Meredith Jordan says:

    Happy to hear this news (even though I didn’t know about your surgery) and to imagine your delight at once again becoming your active self! Brava to you and your surgeon! Big heart blessings to all of you.

    Reply
    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Part of the reason I share my story is to provide some change in the tried and not always true mantra, “Oh dear, if you have back surgery in your 70s, it could be the beginning of your downslide!”

      Reply
  7. Judy Todd
    Judy Todd says:

    I’m so glad you are in the healing time now, and have come through the surgery so well (I too just heard of it with your post).
    May this carry you powerfully into your ‘next’…

    Reply
  8. Audrey B Denecke
    Audrey B Denecke says:

    Oh, Ann. I too did missed the information about your surgery. So happy to hear your healing is well underway. Wishing you all you want and need during your recovery. Hugs.

    Reply
  9. Bruce Agte
    Bruce Agte says:

    Ann, your attitude and posture toward change (invited or otherwise) in life provides true and tone-perfect instruction and inspiration to me, for which I am truly grateful. Love and late-summer blessings to you and Christina.

    Reply
  10. Anna Coffman
    Anna Coffman says:

    Congratulations, Ann!
    I am very happy for you that you are doing so well. May your healing journey continue! 💐🤗💕🙏🏻
    Much love, Anna

    Reply
  11. Jana Jopson
    Jana Jopson says:

    You are a testament to our freedom to give shape to our own truths beyond what’s available in the common pool of beliefs about health and healing. Thank you for sharing your story! Blessings on your continuing, healing journey. Strong and stronger than ever.

    Reply
  12. Judy Dixon
    Judy Dixon says:

    Oh My!! I seem to have missed a ton. You had surgery Ann and the two of you went on an epic trip to Alaska. Rushing through summer has caught up to me. I’m grateful Ann you are doing well and have corralled the pain. Your trip to the far north made my adventure bug drool. How lucky to have your very own private guide. Adventures on the outer edges are the best. Hugs to you on your healing and if you are in need of anything let me know.

    Reply
  13. Kate Lipkis
    Kate Lipkis says:

    Ann! I too had no idea you had this surgery. In July, I had two bolts and a titanium cage inserted into my lower spine for spondylolisthesis. I said a prayer for the generous human who donated their body so that their bone, along with some of mine from a shaved facet, could help my body fuse my spine. I assembled a wonderful circle of friends who brought meals and others to stay with me in hospital. Indeed, if surgeons have big egos, it might be from all the deserved thanks we shower upon them. Also, I give gratitude for the robotic arm that guided these 5 hours of neurosurgery. My knees are next!

    Happy to hear of your quick recovery.

    Reply
    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Wow, Kate! A remarkable health journey—both in terms of the extensive surgery, but also the support of friends. Keep recovering and believing in the remarkableness of western medicine when it is needed. Ann

      Reply
  14. Barbi Taylor
    Barbi Taylor says:

    Ann, so happy to hear of your swift recovery and wishing you more quality adventures in your newly configured chassis! Still grateful for the help you provided when I broke my ankle on Cortes decades ago. Our bodies are miraculous in their ability to regenerate new tissue and heal.. much love from Montana

    Reply
    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Dear Barbi, Great to hear from you! Yes, I remember the broken ankle rescue very clearly—and how lucky you were that there was a surgeon in Campbell River who regularly did ankle surgeries from ski injuries similar to yours. I found my surgeon to be a humble man genuinely interested in offering “the best possible help with the least amount of intervention”. And, like you, I went into the surgery being as physically fit as I could to facilitate the healing. Ann

      Reply
  15. Jeanne Guy
    Jeanne Guy says:

    The gratitude rudder. Love it. Love you. You mentor the rest of us well with your attitude, Ann. In addition to my regular daily journal, I have a “Five Minute Journal” I use to express gratitude in the morning and when I go to bed. I guess it’s sort of my “gratitude rudder” as you’ve dubbed it. As an aside, I do believe your name has appeared on a few of those daily pages. Stay well.

    Reply
    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Jeanne, your regularity of journal writing is an inspiration for me! Manage it once or twice a week and love the idea of a five minute journal to express gratitude. Thank you! Ann

      Reply
  16. Cristina
    Cristina says:

    Dear Ann, I was sorry to know you dad surgery. I had exactly the same on 2017 and, as you said, it was a new opportunity for a new time pain free.

    Although we have not seen each other in a while, I have you and Christina in my heart. I send all my love and good vibes for your and Christina health.

    With love.

    Cristina

    Reply
    • Ann Linnea
      Ann Linnea says:

      Oh, Cristina, it is wonderful to hear from you! Yes, you reside in a close place in our hearts as well. Grateful that your surgical result was similar to mine. Blessings, Ann

      Reply

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