Tag Archives: surgery

The night before my life began again

I wrote this in February and didn’t do anything with it. It was never meant to be a blog post, but I want to share it now, because it seems important that I do somehow.

It’s 11pm on 1st February 2014. I’ve just been standing outside in the dark looking at the stars, watching as the clouds are rushed through the black sky by the wind. I thought of all the skies I’ve seen in the past year. Vivid, beautiful and haunting in their own way. And I cried.

This time last year I’d packed my hospital bag, written letters to my nearest and dearest and said goodbye to my son. The next day I was going in hospital for an operation to fix my spine, stop my pain and give me the ability to walk again. I was prepared to come out either a very different person, or a very dead person. Either way I thought I was prepared. I still cried. I was still frightened but I was ready.

Standing outside tonight I reflected on all that has happened since this night last year. Another operation, pain, infection, depression, rehab, friends loved and lost. And I grieve. I grieve for what has passed. I grieve for the person I was who is now gone, I have a faint memory of her, but I like the person I am now, still flawed, still a bit broken, but I’m a new version of me. Jane.2 if you will.

There’ve been a lot of positives in the past year, but the pain, the physical I can cope with, the emotional less so. The 12 months of turmoil have wrung me out, left me struggling against the tide too many times. I’m broken but I’ve survived. I will continue to survive. What other choice is there? I looked at the sky and I cried, I broke down and cried.

Maybe it is a grieving process, maybe the first year is the hardest. But the sky will change in beautiful ways, clouds race, time moves on, the stars will always shine and I will heal. I will heal.

 

Spinal Rehab – Getting Fit Again

This year hasn’t been great, I’ve had two surgeries on my back and spent the best part of 8 months lying down in pain or being shunted about in a wheelchair. I’ve got my legs back now and can walk again though I still have back pain and numbness in my legs.

When I look back at where I was 18 months ago I was fit. I’d do around 4 hours of Zumba or other dance a week, I ran a bit and I’d walk for miles and miles. I used to love yoga and I was strong and flexible and most definitely fit.

Eight months of pain meds, biscuits and lying down have taken their toll and I’m as weak as a kitten. My legs shake, I have lost my core stability, I am weak and I hate it. Luckily I’ve got myself on a spinal rehab programme which is trying to make me strong again.

I’m only at the very start of my journey but I’ve got to walk a maximum of 2 miles a day. I’m allowed to return to Pilates as long as that’s done at my pace and I don’t push myself. I must learn to sit again and lie down less. I must complete my physio exercises daily. I must push myself but not too far. I can complete some basic household chores but I’m not allowed to lift and bend which is tricky with a toddler. I’m not allowed to take him out in his pushchair yet as that’s too strenuous. I am weak.

You’d think that this would be frustrating for me, my inability to function normally, to rely on others to empty the washing machine so I can peg out the washing, but no. I’ve been broken for so long just doing that is an achievement and makes me feel like I’m a more useful member of the household.

I want to start swimming again, I used to be a competitive swimmer and I was super strong and I want to be like that again. My Zumba days are most likely behind me and I’ll probably never run again as any activity which involves impact could further damage my spine.

I’m 36 and I’ve got to be careful. But I’m grateful not to be in horrendous pain anymore. I’m grateful that when my feet touch the floor more often than not I can feel the floor. I’m grateful that I can start to be a proper wife and mother again. I’m incredibly grateful to the surgeons for giving me my life back.

Now I need to take my life and shape it into something that makes me happy and fulfilled and most importantly a lifestyle that suits my ruined spine. Existing can be exhausting and if I overdo it I can be in pain for days. I’m determined to get fit again and I want to be strong. I need to be strong.

So if you go for a walk with me, sorry if I can’t keep up. If you want me to join you in the park with my son, I can’t push him there I’m sorry. If you want me to go clubbing with you I can’t dance. But I’m not going to lie down and rot ever again, not if I can help it.

I’ve been told it’ll be 2-3 years before I’m recovered from the surgeries and that I may always have pain and numbness. I can live with that because I’ve got my life back. Now I just need my strength and fitness.