Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Scoliosis Surgery: Honesty

Five months ago I came home from the hospital, and all I could do was cry. 
I cried and cried and cried, mourning the body I’d lost, and fearing the months ahead. 
I didn’t feel like I could do it. 
And five months on, I still don’t.

Nothing could have prepared me for how physically, mentally and emotionally difficult this would all be. Sure, I watched all of the YouTube videos I could find, and sure, I heard everyone saying it was the worst time of their life, but I told myself I could get through it, because it wouldn’t last forever. But here I am, five months on, and things are still so tough. In fact, they’re even tougher. Things might not be as physically difficult as they used to be... but now, I’m emotionally exhausted. 

Back then, everything was still new. Every tiny bit of progress felt exciting. I was hopeful for what was to come. But now it’s tedious, endless, torturous. It’s been so long, yet I still haven’t made half the progress I’d hoped to. I wake up every morning, and I just don't want to face another day of it. And though I want to keep heading toward the light at the end of the tunnel, I’m not even sure that there is one. Because right now, I’m trapped in the dark.

When will I feel normal again? 
Will I ever feel normal again? 
When will I make a complete recovery? 
Will I ever make a complete recovery?

At five months, I’m starting to lose my patience. I had it in my head: “People say you start to feel normal again at six months.” Six months. Six months. Six months. “You just have to hold out for six months.” Yet here I am, heading toward the six month mark, and I don’t even feel close to normal. And, if I’m being honest? That terrifies me.

I want my strength back. I want my energy back. I want my life back.

I’m 21 years old. I’ve just graduated from university. Everyone around me is moving on with their lives – getting houses, jobs, qualifications, Master degrees – and I’m trapped here. My present life consists of this empty, endless, agonising routine of pain, frustration, tiredness, repetitiveness, loneliness... And my future? Well... it’s blank. I can’t even begin to plan for it, because it’s impossible to picture. It’s impossible to know what I will and won’t be able to do, or when I will and won’t be able to do it. I feel trapped, and I feel empty. I keep pushing on every day, but it feels like I have nothing to keep pushing on for.

I watch everybody, posting their positive quotes, having their fun days out, building their futures... and I feel so detached from it all – stuck in my bed, or within my own four walls, or stuck in my body, that just won’t work the way I want it to. I want so badly to be a part of it all and it makes my heart hurt. I feel so left behind. I’m sick of having my life on hold, at the exact time that it should just be beginning.

But on top of it all – on top of all of this – is the guilt. The guilt that comes every time I ask “how is this fair?”, or “why is this happening to me?”, when there are people going through so much worse. There are people dying. There are people who’ve gone through this every single day of their lives, and have never known any different. Yet here I am, writing 600+ words of self-pity.

I said when I left the hospital that I’d have to take recovery “step by literal step at a time”. And I’m trying. I really am. But the more steps you take, the harder it gets. The more exhausted you become. And it’s even harder to keep going when you just can’t see the finish line.


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