Monday, August 27, 2012

Recovery on a down slope

Recovering from surgery has its ups and downs.  I mentioned earlier that I've been in a slump or as my mom would like to say, "Pip squeak, you are depressed. Baby girl, this isn't like you."  I don't disagree but I don't want to admit that I'm depressed at the same time.

I've been depressed largely due to my activity level and how sluggish my right side is healing.  Sure, I was "active" before my surgery, I tried to keep myself busy.  I would attempt working out so it would make sense why chilling extra hard all summer would be difficult.  The not lifting more than 5 pounds in theory doesn't seem that hard but in practice might as well be climbing Everest or solving the nations economic crisis.  I hate asking people for help because I think I am putting them out and it is embarrassing.  I'm 23 not  83!! It is the simple things too, taking out the trash, cleaning my home, sleeping on my stomach, getting off the floor without using your upper body.  It is extremely difficult to adjust automatically to a new life or a new way to do things while you are recovering.  You have to consciously think of every moment, every activity, and every breath for that matter.  Everything you do becomes an Olympic endurance event; it is planned, calculated, practiced, rethought, performed, analyzed, and readjusted. 

I know healing takes time and is a very complex process, I get that.  What I don't understand is how to tell myself: things will be okay, your body heals at different rates, don't give up.  It is so much easier to tell that to a client than be the client.  Furthermore, I tried to convince myself before the surgery that it really wasn't that big of a deal, routine surgery - it's not.  It is a very invasive, intense surgery that required me to spend 7 full days in the hospital.  I've had 3 chest x-rays, a CT scan, EKG, and lots of blood tests all because my lungs weren't quite up to par and they were afraid I had collapsed them or had a blood clot.     

The main source of my depression, no bull shit, straight up - I don't recognize the girl in the mirror anymore, I simply have a loss of self identity.  The thing about my TOS is I've had it my entire life and didn't realize that kids my age didn't experience the things that I did every day.  My entire life, I have been in pain.  I didn't talk about it, I didn't WANT to talk about it.  I'm still young, still trying to figure out the world, who I am, and how I fit into the world.  Several people have told me that it is no different than cancer survivors or other people who have had massive surgery but I disagree.  I disagree based on the fact I've had this my entire life, I fully accept the fact that I may not have known I had TOS my entire life but I have felt like a mystery science project - different.  Other people may not identify me as the girl with medical issues but before being a dancer, student, science nerd, I was a kid in pain.

Unlike other diseases or disorders you remember a time before the diagnosis - I don't.  I don't know or remember a time before the pain, before accepting the role of a science project.  I don't know how to be a normal functioning person!  I don't know what to say when people ask me about it.  Do I say, I had TOS or make a joke out of it saying my parents loved me so much they gave me extra bones and got them removed because they gave me a run for my money.  Or is it one of those cases where you will always have reminders of your journey but you reached the destination and it is over leaving you to the next adventure?

I'm lost, have been lost for awhile now.  I can't say that I am out of my slump as I write this rant but I will say this.  Recent comments from people with TOS discovering my blog has helped rise me up a bit, I never thought other people with TOS would find my journey helpful or comforting knowing they weren't alone....It made me realize that I am not completely alone which at the end of the day is nice.


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