Anyone who suffers with any type of chronic pain will tell you “I’m not the person I used to be”. It’s hard letting go of the person you used to be, something that we have to try to live with every day.
I remember the days I could walk for miles and miles and “feel” it the day after in my calves and knew I’d been walking. I could swim up and down a pool for as long as I wanted, I love the pool and water. Growing up I remember when I’d drive for miles in my car or even sit passenger and we would drive for hours. Getting ready to go to the local pub and socialise with all your friends, having a great night with great people. I also remember the days when I could clean my house top to toe in less than a day.
Those seem like distant memories now. I can no longer walk for miles, more like yards, but when i do walk it’s not just my calves that ache, my back screams at me. I can no longer get in a pool as I haven’t the strength to swim, plus my body has changed a lot and self esteem is at an all time level of unbelievably low! Nowadays I’m lucky if I can sit in a car for 20 minutes before pain sets in, and driving is worse. Going out to socialise, well that doesn’t happen either, I’ve changed in to a home bunny, I’d rather be in my jammies and comfortable than see the outside world. And cleaning, well instead of less than a day, it can now take me more than a week to clean the whole house. It’s exhausting.
But it’s not just the tasks, chores and everything inbetween that changes, you as a person change. I was fairly confident in myself, personally I was so happy, I had a career that I enjoyed and although i now had responsibilities (mortgage, a car, pets, a husband etc etc), going through a major life change seemed to take all that away from me. I grew angry, and I guess it was aimed at the world. Why on earth was i dealt this crappy card, what had I done that was so bad to warrant this life, I just want my old life back, I want the old Katrina, the one i had worked so hard to build, the happy, care-free, confident person I’d grown up to be, but yet was destroyed with the words “slipped disc” and “surgery”. Am i really that bad a person? I took it all to heart and changed. What else was I supposed to do, my life had changed in an instant, in a small breath and a few words. I couldn’t put the brakes on and stop it, I had no control, and that was the part I hated the most. No control.
My old life and the way I used to be is something I will never get back. No amount of anything will make this better. No matter how many times I pray for “just one day of being normal again”, no matter how many times I cry my eyes out, with my heart breaking inside, no matter how much I beg doctors to help me, no matter how much tablets i take in a day just to get through it and function. I’m in mourning. Mourning is exactly how it feels, a part of me died on that operating table on 28th May 2011, a part of me I lost, a part of me gone. Gone forever. And there’s nothing I can do about it.
I have to try to accept what’s happened and come to terms with my “new” life, but that’s a lot easier said than done. 5 years on I still cry. I cry when I’m at my lowest point, when I just want the pain to stop. I cry when there’s nobody else around me, so I don’t get the pitty looks. I cry when people don’t understand, when people judge me, and judge me on who I am now compared to who I used to be. The feeling of dread when I have to take another dose of tablets. The gut wrenching feeling when I leave the house, my safe haven, and have to smile even though I don’t have the energy. All these new things I have to learn to deal with, somehow. And someday maybe it will get easier and I’ll have all the answers, but for now I’m learning, and that’s all I can do.
I’m not the person I used to be.