I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a lovely New Year. Mine was spent with family and friends eating way too much, just the way I like it. This post may be a bit long, it is the obligatory look back at last year and looking forward to what may be in 2018. I would like to apologise in advance incase I waffle on a bit :-).
This time last year I had no idea how much my life would change. I could not have predicted that my on/off bad back would become a permanent disability. I did not foresee the changes and sacrifices I have had to make as a result of my Degenerative Disc Disease and Lumbar Spondylosis. I did not expect to be having to undergo spinal surgery to prevent paralysis or the constant pain that I now have to live with.
I am not bitter or angry. As a previous manager used to say “it is what it is”. There is nothing I can do to change how things have turned out. I won’t lie, I have been tempted on several occasions to find Doc Brown’s number to see if the Delorean is still working 😀 I believe things happen for a reason. If this has happened to me then it has left someone else alone.
It’s only pain. Yes, chronic pain is tiring, debilitating and downright awful but it could be worse. A lot worse. I get told not to compare my situation to that of someone with Cancer or any other disease or disability that is different or I see as worse than mine. Each and every person that is living with or is battling a disease, disability or terminal illness is going through a completely personal experience. Everyone’s fight is just as difficult and their pain just as torturous. But doing just that makes me feel grateful, it makes me feel grateful that it’s just two naughty discs in my spine, that my pain is manageable with Tramadol and Naproxen and that I can still walk, all be it with a stick. I can still drive short distances without too much discomfort.
2017 saw the end of walks with my dogs, I miss long walks through the countryside with friends and going to the local Country Park to wander through the woods. 2017 ruined my plans to do the Muddy Race For Life with my niece. It saw the sale of my camping gear and my beautiful huge tent which I loved dearly (it is a wonderful tent). I lost my job and I am now having to claim benefits which makes me feel awful. 2017 saw then end of me taking my disabled Mum on our weekly shopping trip or to other places. It also saw the end of some friendships as my usefulness decreased and I no longer served a purpose to them. 2017 also saw a massive amount of hurt when I didn’t even receive a get well card after very dangerous spinal surgery from those who profess to be my best friends. Mainly those who organise cards for everyone else but didn’t deem my circumstances to warrant a card or just didn’t think about it. I’m still not sure which is worse.
2017 saw the beginning of a new journey and a different way of life. It showed me how much my dogs are in tune with me when each time I was in agony they would come and sit by me gently. 2017 saw the strengthening of friendships and family bonds as people stepped forward without hesitation to help and take over my daughterly duties. It showed me how high my pain threshold is and how strong (or stupid) I was to just keep going even though I was in a tremendous amount of pain. I will be forever grateful for my brother generously paying for me to see a chiropractor which quickly brought to light just how bad my spine was and almost certainly saved me from paralysis.
2018 will be a year of hopes not resolutions. New year resolutions do not mean a lot to me. They are promises that are meant to be broken. This year I hope:
- that my pain levels decrease or at least remain stable
- that my discs behave themselves
- that I can begin swimming to help lose weight and take the pressure off my spine for a bit
- to remain as positive as possible
- to get back to work and
- to keep myself posting to this blog at least once a fortnight.
I will not be pressuring myself in anyway to uphold 3 – 5.
Socialising is really difficult when you can’t work and are so tired by the evening that you just want to curl up on the sofa. I have partly resolved this by starting to play Final Fantasy XIV again. It is an online RPG which encourages you to join forces with other players to help each other progress. It is a great way to meet new people and fulfil the “getting to know” new people part of socialisation. There is no pressure to make yourself look good or even get dressed when meeting up and you are only judged on the way you treat others in game. It is not a perfect replacement for going to work/college/uni and speaking to people face-to-face but it is better than not interacting at all.