17 July 2011

Oh Love

I have had a blast w/ my cousins here- oh how it's so amazing to be WELL again; I feel like a NEW person & can't help but smile!! Today we did a photo shoot- yes, I actually WANTED my picture taken! Who would've known?! lol OMG- I had a BLAST! It was better then taking my senior pics; partly because I was severely Anorexic when I took my senior pics & also because my amazing aunt was taking the pics- it was a BLAST!! I recall taking my senior pics- I blacked out every couple minutes but never told anyone that I had lost sight for a couple seconds. I had ZERO energy; I also remember him lifting me onto the top of the stone arch w/ one hand. I didn't think I looked skinny enough in the pics; let me phrase that differently- ED didn't think I was skinny enough! I remember praying to God to give me the energy to just GET THROUGH the session w/out fainting. Today was COMPLETELY different! I wanted to keep going 4ever! I'm SO excited about the pics- they TOTALLY describe ME!! OMG- I wanna show everyone!! I have LIFE!!! Life is so beautiful!!

This weekend we talked about memories- both good & bad. This is the 1st time in almost 3 years I've actually opened up about my surgery- I don't remember EVER discussing it!! I honestly tried to go on with life as if it never happened. I was beyond ashamed & embarrassed- especially of my scar! It was so UGLY! I couldn't understand why I was in so much pain- I DIDN'T NEED medicine! Surgery was nothing, right?! I am still trying to wrap my mind around this surgery- I don't know why it's taken me so long! Ugh! My family was telling me of THEIR experience w/ my surgery since I honestly don't remember very much of it. I forgot that right after surgery there was a little boy who was hit in the head w/ a horse whip & his brain was rapidly swelling- he was rushed into surgery & there was EXTREME chaos (I was oblivious to this due to the anesthesia & pain). Nurses & doctors were doing everything they could to save this tiny child's life. I wasn't allowed any pain meds until after the anesthesia wore off; well, due to the chaos my pain meds were WAY behind schedule- I was laying on an open wound- 21 screws & 2 rods- and I wasn't allotted any pain meds. I remember my mom was nearly beside herself during this time- she literally passed out because of the pain I was going through & she could do nothing about. She says I would moan, my eyes rolled backwards & I was clear sweaty & bloated due to the "trauma". I remember none of this- my mom tells me that at one point the pain was so intense that my dad laid his hands on me & prayed- crying out to God to help me. Several moments later I was able to fall asleep & my pain meds began working. There IS A God!! I was in the recovery room for over 3 hours- it normally takes 45 min.-1 hr- due to the chaos of the dying little boy. I'm sad to report that this little boy passed away that day- I hope & pray he is sitting at the feet of God, playing in Heaven & sitting on Jesus' lap.

 I remember waking up in ICU & seeing the beautiful & calming faces of Sam & Randy. I could hardly keep my eyes open, however due to the pain, exhaustion & meds. My grandma tells me of how in ICU I had a male nurse- she told me when he went out of the room that he was my nurse & I replied "he is NOT my nurse!!" She pointed to his name on the board & I had no comeback- she was right!! He had to turn me every 1/2 hr. or so off of my back- at those times I sighed with relief as the pressure was OFF my wound! Another memory I have is waking up to Dr. S the day I was released! I had my 1st good night's sleep as I decided to sleep on my belly. I had tried b4 but was unsuccessful due to all of the tubes, IV's, etc. Also, I needed help rolling myself over. My back was so weak from the surgery & was still healing- think about it; your back is basically the center of your body & what keeps you standing, gives strength, etc. It seems to me like I'm acting like a baby- please understand that I'm NOT exaggerating or do NOT intend to! I have minimized this surgery for years; I had no idea but others did.

I remember the ride home from the hospital- the LONGEST ride of my life! The bumps seemed never-ending & ever increasing in intensity- it also hurt to sit back in the seat & was uncomfortable & also took alot of energy just to sit up. I remember the tremendous amount of support I received from my family in Christ- it was AMAZING! So much love! Thank you again for being so incredibly supportive & empathetic!

 About 1 1/2 weeks after surgery we drove 9 hrs. away to my cousins wedding- I was so excited to see my oldest cousin tie the knot! This surgery was NOT going to keep me out of the action! The car ride was very uncomfortable- thankfully my amazing siblings allowed me to have the entire back seat to stretch my egg crate on & to sleep. I HATED taking the pain medicine & I remember refusing to take the required amount- I was very stubborn when it came to pain! I HATED to show pain!! I remember sitting for the 1st time post surgery on wooden benches- it was a strange sensation! I also remember somehow staying awake & standing all day- only God is my answer for this! I didn't have to miss my 1st cousin's wedding!!! We had a campfire after the wedding (we camped in a campground) & we all sat around the fire. The kids also went hiking & exploring the campground w/ our handy flashlights- I remember running down a hill for the 1st time post surgery- it felt SO FREEING!! I have so many good memories of this weekend- staying up all night talking & laughing, exploring, etc.

Several days after we returned I attended the 1st day of school- I remember taking a pillow (my mom insisted) but never using it. The next day was P.E.- my FAVORITE part of school!! It killed me to not be able to participate. I was prohibited from participating in P.E. for at least a month post surgery, I believe. I remember being dropped off at home during P.E.- I was home alone so I took advantage of this- I ran on the treadmill for hours until my siblings came home from school. Sometimes I was able to get by w/ running 2x daily. I was DETERMINED to not lose my athleticism & my muscle tone which I'd worked so hard for! I was determined to get right back into sports- right where I left off prior to surgery. I ran despite the piercing pain- I viewed it as accomplishment, I guess. The whole goal of this surgery is for the rods & my spine to fuse & become a single unit hence the bone grafting. My spine was not yet fused attributing to the pain & uncomfortableness. I remember getting to participate in P.E. for the 1st time post surgery- I believe it was several months post surgery. It felt so good, yet I was extremely disappointed w/ myself for not being as "good" as I was prior to surgery.

 I remember in track & field for my last time prior to surgery being prohibited by my doctor to participate in ANY competitive sports or tournaments. I wanted more then anything to participate- actually, I believe I did compete despite being prohibited to do so (shh...... don't tell Dr. S! ;) ). My peers didn't understand  why I couldn't participate- it wouldn't be the same!! I was accused of "trying to get out of competing"- totally the opposite of my intentions but I can't change others opinions & beliefs.

Post surgery it absolutely killed me to sit on the sidelines in volleyball as volleyball season was beginning. I was no longer a starter. I however faithfully attended practices- NOTHING was going to keep me "off the floor" & from sliding around. I was determined to work myself back up. Sports was my life- what else was there?! One of my loves has always been to dive - anywhere, whether on cement, grass, in mud, etc- I love to get INTO it! I remember diving on the cement court for the 1st time after surgery- everyone was so worried except for me! I also remember playing my absolute heart out on the court during scrimmages, practices & tournaments - I didn't count these as competitive. I remember that my mom was NOT happy w/ me- she was scared I'd mess something up in my back. I just liked to prove others wrong- that I COULD do it! I wasn't relying on God for my strength & advice. Sports had become my idol for a long time & little did I believe "you can only serve one master". God showed me this by replacing my idol w/ Himself.

 This is about all I can remember a the moment as I've never spent much time on this subject until recently. I've literally watched the 1 hr. live broadcast of a spinal fusion 10x or more- I am absolutely AMAZED & blown away- my mind cannot yet grasp this concept. Seeing the open wound, the blood lost replaced with my own donations, screws put in, rods literally hammered in between these screws for security, the actual bending & shaping of the spine- I had NO idea this was how they did it! Until I watched this movie I knew they had drilled holes into my body, but SEEING did wonders for me. I didn't realize the complexity- the pushing on the body to loosen up the spine - words cannot describe or explain what I felt while watching this & what I experienced. My eyes were opened to new horizons; one of my dreams is to witness- to be in the OR during a spinal fusion. I can't fully explain the experience- I learn by experiencing myself- words can only do so much. I'm beginning to think of this experience- I don't like to consider it as traumatic but a part of me believes it was. I don't know if it is for everyone, though.

No comments: