Several months ago, I was asked what my scars looked like healed after surgery from a fellow TOS patient. I am really surprised how well they healed because I have a tendency to form keloid scars. It is important to note that my surgeon glued my incisions instead of using traditional stitches. I really enjoyed this approach, I found it less irritating than when I had stitches for my shoulder repair. Below are pictures of my scars 1.5 years after my surgery.
The past several months I can't help but to think that I was cursed- cursed to be in some way shape or form ill. Now, I realize I could have it A LOT worse and I am very thankful for the good fortunes I do have. But honestly, the past few years have been rough - finding out all these things wrong, genetic abnormalities, or simply being the "exception to the rule".
I guess I should back up and tell you why these feelings came back in full force. I got into a minor car accident which caused me to have shoulder surgery. Yep you read that correctly, I had surgery...again.
The 4th surgery in a year and 2 weeks to be exact. This summer I had to get a hole repaired in the capsule of my shoulder joint, fix a torn ligament, put in anchors (screws) and basically re-attached/secured a muscle. Going into surgery they knew I needed a capsule repair but then found the additional problems and that my growth plate never fused together like it should have. Ugh. Another genetic abnormality and another "rare" problem to fix (my type of shoulder tear is seen in about 10% of patients).
my new scar
Positive: my TOS surgery from last summer was not affected, slowed my PT down but internally everything looks great.
Negative: I don't think I will ever get out of my PT's office. ;)
Joking aside, it really does take a toll on a person's mental and emotional state. The recovery extra precautions, worry, physical activity isn't really allowed, learn so many new ways of doing every day tasks....the list could really go on forever. I think the worst thing about the recovery process is the lack of confidence in yourself whether it be leisure time activities or chores around your house. Feeling isolated/alone might be a close second or just further kills the confidence level. I don't know, I haven't quite figured it out yet.
Is it wrong to think I am and will be perpetually ill or that I was meant to be a science project? Everyone says this has all happened for a reason but I don't think I'm convinced. What is the life lesson here? How am I supposed to spin this on a job application or what personal virtue am I supposed to further develop - patience? What if, there was no reason for being a science project, the 1 in a million, the special case. What if, the reason is just simply bad luck.
April 24th was my Golden Birthday - which means I turned 24 on the 24th (your age and date of birth match!) This was also the day I got into a minor car accident with my mom. The short story is we spent the day in the ER, mom is doing well, and I get to deal with the joys of traffic court, insurance companies, and personal injury.
To say the past week or so of bottled up thoughts and emotions is a whirlwind would be an little bit of an understatement. I have almost become emotionally numb (key word almost) to the fact that my body took a beating and I more or less am starting over in my recovery journey. My hips were pushed out of alignment and my shoulders/upper back are a mess.
Good news, the accident didn't disrupt or harm anything relating to my TOS surgery!!!
Bad news, they think I tore my rotator cuff and need to see a specialist.
I am mentally prepared for the worst and even have it mapped out in my brain how it would work. MRI next week, surgery this summer, additional physical therapy on top of my TOS recovery schedule, continued no physical activity/strenuous activity for another 6 months.
I keep thinking everything happens for a reason and wonder what this reasoning is. I keep thinking what am I supposed to learn from this or how will I use this new journey in my life. I may be getting a head of myself but my heart says I have a complete tear based on feeling. My brain says the same thing but based on my mobility limitations, extreme weakness, tingling, and poor tracking or the grinding/popping of the joint when I do move my arm.
Hopefully, things really do happen for a reason and although this is negative it can become a positive and meaningful experience.
I've taken a long time to process how my life has changed throughout the past few months - which meant my blog posts have been far and few between.
Recently, I have thought a lot about life after TOS. I've thought about how I feel, what I'll be able to do/can do, regain my inner spark....the list really does go on and on but then it hit me about 2 weeks ago at the gym.
I was walking at the gym - it is about the 4th time or so I have been there since my surgery and I decided to try jogging. As I slowly jogged, I could feel the familiar tightness spread across my chest and neck. It became harder to breath, the jostling around amplified the tightness and then there it was...a slight tingling in my hands.
Even though I only jogged 0.35 miles and created minor TOS symptoms - it felt great. It also made me sad- I missed jogging, I missed the sense of peace it gave me. I felt like me when I jogged. I went to do my PT exercises and I just kept thinking about how jogging made me feel.
It was there in a dim light, nearly silent exercise room at 24hr fitness that I found out TOS never really goes away. Sure the surgery was successful but I was naive to think TOS wouldn't be apart of my life post surgery. TOS still impacts how you think or how you feel about simple day to day activities (at least it does for me)! More importantly, I think i accepted the fact I'm scared. Scared of TOS re-occurrence by pushing myself, scared my recovery may take longer than 'normal'.
I am scared I will never find that inner peace I left between miles 2 and 3...
Children, work, sleep, family, faith, school, physical health,
nutrition, moving up the food chain at work, having the newest electronics,
cars, fashion.....the list goes on and on.
I'm sure some people say that at some point priorities have to be
the same otherwise no one would never date, marry or have children - or
do anything really.
Now I am not disagreeing with that but here is my question. are
the priorities in the same order.
Think about it, there is no way humanly possible that so many
people's priorities are the exact same at that exact time. Lucky for most
people they cross paths from time to time; because it is really devastating
when you discover your an option to another person & they are your number one.
I've said it once I'll say it again, I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day. I'm sure in some degree it is because I am a bit bitter and jaded but honestly it just isn't the same as it was when you were little. I love doing valentines for everyone, it was fun! No stress, no expectations, no hurt feelings. Now it feels different. Single folk feel left out, sad, lonely, unloved; guys feel obligated to get their girlfriends/wives flowers, chocolate, jewelry, fancy dinner. let's be honest of a second, this is a Hallmark holiday - which is fine and maybe it is more for married couples with children to have an excuse to have date night and actually take the time out for one another instead of constantly focusing on the children. Or it gives the less romantic of guys a reminder or an excuse to be romantic.
I - I just wonder what is wrong with wanting to feel loved/romanced or get Valentine day like treats unexpectedly throughout the year.
Don't get me wrong, I love flowers, being taken out, feeling loved & appreciated - hello, who doesn't!? It still just goes back to the thought of obligation vs. desire for me. Maybe it is a deep rooted psychological fear, thought, or perception I've always had and I need to seek counseling for (haha joking - kinda?) but I've never wanted to make someone feel obligated to feel a certain way when they just aren't there - think love the person where they are at not where you want them to be.
I'm sure one day when I'm married and have rugrats, I will view this day differently but right now... I think I love the idea of unconditional love and random acts of romance.
Romance to me is a funny thing. Especially if you look at it by generation. I'll admit it I'm kinda old school. Blame it on being jaded, very jaded or spending almost everyday with my grandparents; there is just something different the way generations do things. It is a 2-way street ladies- what do you do for your man? or maybe romance is relative to the relationship and those involved....5 love languages anyone? Or maybe I just don't understand because:
I don't live with my boyfriend
Have hardly dated
My current boyfriend saw me in the hospital...post surgery...saw 7 inch drainage tubes taken out of my back (twice)...dealt with my alligator tears and all my fears of surgery...BEFORE we started dating
What sparked these thoughts - the Chris Miller Show.
Soooo, I was listening to my friend Chris's radio/internet talk show a few weeks ago (check out some of his archives and website you'll be glad you did) not only did laugh but it really got me thinking. They got on the topic (more or less) of how do you keep the romance alive in a relationship after you have moved in or have just been together long enough to see the other person's grossness, keep the mystery.
I'm a curious person and asked around. These were the responses that most stood out:
- really Christine, why are you asking me this?... duh, sex
- the grossness doesn't matter, you accept them for being human for being themselves, do little things for each other
- you always need to have a finger on the pulse of the relationship, ask the other person what they need, and have regular date nights
- my cheesy June Clever answer- clean all dolled up and in heels...oh TV Land haha
- recognize when the other person is really making an effort
- act like strangers in a public place, meeting for the 1st time
- takes 2 to make or break a relationship, romance isn't one sided
This is basically what I got out of it. You're gross, they're gross, recognize that you both are human and do little things for each other along the way, whether it is beer and wings, flowers, showering regularly or working a little harder to hide your grossness, oh and the obvious matters... intimacy