There was a time when I thought I would never live past 20. Pain was so great and life was not. My eyes fill to their limit, and admitting that it all happened brings the tears down my cheeks.
I don’t cry because of the pain anymore, I cry because I cannot simply believe it.
It was December 17, I was 20. It was January, and still 20.
Life passed so quickly then, flickers of pain post-surgery.. I remember laughing just before going under as the people looked at me on the operating table and asked me about what music I liked. We talked about Broadway until the anesthesiologist came over. A man specifically sang some old show tunes to me and it faded to black.
I woke up thankful for waking up, and happy I could feel my legs. Then my head itched so deeply that my main focus was to scratch my scalp off my head and I felt coolness run through my veins and the itching was gone. Everything had gone well. I had Transderm Scop just behind my ear. I was ready to “walk” out of the hospital.
The next few days involved me reading when I could, I remember the book “the Art of Frozen” was involved. I remember my sister helping me move as I couldn’t explain to my body how to walk and found myself screaming from the inside that the fibers were taking their recovery to another level. My pain came in tears and no medicine soothed me more than Pokemon. Then there was SO MUCH Pokemon on my Nintendo 3ds hahaha i played, what must have been X and Y, for HOURS on end. I was breeding shiny Pokemon. There was a Larvitar, Cyndaquil… must’ve been others too. I watched the Lion King I think, and maybe another movie was Thumbelina? I think I watched a lot of Disney. I laid down, I was 20 pounds more than when I started college and the heaviest, saddest thing I’d ever seen in myself. I had been ready to lose the legs if it had come down to pain or no pain with no legs. I was ready to hear I had some bone cancer in my legs or that my body was rejecting my muscles. I didn’t even look into the surgery when the doctor told me I could have it and it may or may not solve my problems but it is the most likely to alleviate the pain. I was ready for any answer. I took it and recovered and so long later, after so many obstacles there after, almost dying from an anaphylactic reaction to some antibiotics that I was prescribed for an infection post-op diagnosed… the journey was all towards being able to have a new relationship with my legs and how I touch the world.
My legs and me, I had given them credit for so much of my life. I had allowed them to control my pain and sorrow, and hold onto my happiness, take any pleasure in life I had known for ransom. My legs were my gods and I thought that I had been smote meant I had to lose religion all together. I was an absolutist and it drove me to insanity. My legs were me and I had no self beyond whatever emotions they allowed me to exude.
I whirled through New York city last weekend…a fresh 24 year old, during this finale of June. I could move through the crowds more simply than I could tie my shoes. I found the ways through and my legs were able to continue on. I wore a Wonder Woman dress one day and felt that I was Wonder Woman, flying through as I did, without the burdens of hopelessness on my shoulders.
After that, I was inspired by Christy Altomare and the cast of Anastasia on broadway..my inspiration leaked to my motivation and I ran at the park twice this past week (of course, listening to the soundtrack of “Anastasia”) and found that I could run further than I could remember since high school… I can’t explain how special it is to me that I can run. It is a gift and a joy, it is trying and painful, but it is an ability that I never thought I’d be able to have. My legs didn’t let me down because I had the motivation. My dreams led my legs instead of my legs allowing me to dream. They are a part of me and not my whole life, now I can appreciate the relationship I have with my legs in a way that I never would even pause to think about.
I am more than my pains but yes, I am my pains. I am my self-worth and I am who I choose to be. My legs and me, we have so much more journeying to do together and they know who is in charge. I am thankful for my will to use them as often as I can remember to be thankful and I am trying now to treat my body with the greatest amount of respect that allows me a happy life as I can. At 24, at the set point of this July, I am freed of the gravity that was my sorrows and can freely move about my emotions without being drained of all life force. Some would call this blessed but I call this being aware. I am aware.