I finally had my “one year post op” appointment for my spine fusion surgery done 1/10/2018. Why was it not done closer to when I actually had the surgery… a promise to make the appointment was forgotten. As that one year anniversary loomed ahead, I asked about the appointment and received a text that the doc couldn’t see me until April! It was through professional courtesy that the doc “got me in” on 1/29 for my anniversary appointment missed three weeks prior to this date. “I didn’t know that date was that important to you” was the excuse.
But really, what did that appointment prove? The surgeon focused in on how I said I felt better even though my x-rays show I haven’t completely healed yet. The milestone of being healed at that one year anniversary date screams disappointment in my head. While I do agree… I do feel a bit better than I had prior to the surgery (surgeries if you count the previous year of when the surgery failed to heal; a year wasted spent in pain, disappointment, and realization that my life would never be the way it was prior to this problem!) Why do I “feel better”? In my mind, I feel better because I haven’t fallen off of a horse recently! THAT was one of the big reasons the first surgery failed! Totally my fault for believing I could do something I could not! But my spine was not healing long before I went horse-back riding. That “failed” surgery was just a matter of time before the doc would call it and send me somewhere else to be “fixed”… And start the entire process over again!
Never mind all the areas I still have problems. Stick to just the back/spine since that is what this doctor was responsible for in “fixing”. I can see/feel the screw that holds my spine together. It rubs daily on the muscles surrounding that screw causing pain. But at least it isn’t loosening! The hope is that eventually the muscles will scar to the point that rubbing no longer causes pain! Or… I can have another surgery to remove that screw, rods, and “hardware” which just doesn’t sound like much fun or an option to me! The “problem”, I’m told, is that I’m thin. Yeah, carrying those extra pounds kills my other joints so… I thought “being thin” was the goal?
As I tell that doc the other “spine” problems I still have, he has no answer. Redefining my life accepting all the things I can no longer do is not his concern. This is my new “normal”. The “normal” I’m grateful for because at least I wake up every morning! I KNOW I push my limits; things I used to be able to do without thinking about them are not so easy to do now. Now, I carefully plan “steps” and “activity” to be “productive”. I make so many “accommodations” to “appear” to be the person I once was… Sometimes I can even fool myself. Until I get overhwelmed knowing I can’t finish a project I started or realizing how long it now takes me to do something I might never have even thought about doing before. Limits. My new focus whenever I think about doing something. And accommodations… what will I have to employ to be able to do that thing?
I don’t talk about what I accomplish. In my mind, it is nothing compared to the person I was and what I used to be able to accomplish. The last thing I want is for anyone to look at me and “feel sorry” for me. So I hide what I do (and what I don’t) from everyone. I’ve gotten so good at doing this, I can now hide those things from myself. Unless I really think about them. Then, they come out as nightmares in my sleep. A world I can’t ignore or run away from.
I was recently told by a healthcare professional that there is no reason to ever scream. “We may think we need to scream to be heard but really, ‘WE’ should have more self control than in needing to scream.” A different healthcare professional told me to “not cry”. I’m to keep every conversation light and fun and NOT cry from pain or changes I now have to accept. It’s no wonder these emotions come out in my sleep! But during my waking hours… Don’t make anyone feel uncomfortable by how I truly feel! That is the message I hear over and over again!
So yeah… I’m healing. I’m not where I expected to be (or even where I want to be) but I’ll pretend to be grateful the news isn’t overtly “bad news”. “This year will be better”… Pardon my skepticism! My “new life”… I’ll figure that out too. But above all else, I’ll practice making sure no one “feels uncomfortable” because really… No one likes a downer! The only “real” place for my emotions are in my dreams!