As I sit here typing this, it seems strange that 5 years ago today (it was a tuesday too!!) I was being wheeled down to the ballrooom at this time.
But it being 5 years ago seems to be blowing my nearests' and dearests' minds away and they all say something along the lines of "Are you sure?" or "Is it really that long ago??!" when I tell them. It somehow seems a bigger milestone than any other hysterversary so far - perhaps because of how it's all been since.
I found this site about 2 weeks post op and membership was about 32-35,000 then. Looking around the site, I found women in the same boat as me, who understood the new feelings, worries and concerns - yet at the same time on different threads, they were offerring advice and help, some laughs, warmth and I couldn't believe that these "someone's" that I'd never met - and probably would never meet either - were sharing their stories and experiences so open-heartedly ........... so I joined up quickly and was soon made welcome and hopefully, over time did my bit of supporting as well as being reassured too, amongst the lighter-hearted moments.
I've looked around and see the same things going on now across the forums as back then. The site has grown so much which is wonderful to see.
As for myself, well.......... I sort of fell off the cliff, so's to speak, from immediately reaching post op, in completely different areas of health! I came out of the op with more pain in my lower back than any part of the surgical site and the rest as they say is history. It has never fully recovered and I have developed generalised osteoarthritis (most body joints affected now), am registered as deaf/hard of hearing, have CFS/ME and just recently been diagnosed with a squint ..... and have more visual tests to come. I lost my job because of all this and much as I would love to get back to working life, that day is still a dream away.
I don't think anyone could have predicted such a fall from grace
, yet I do not regret my hyst one bit. I didn't take these new health issues lightly - I refused to accept my body was ailing, fought it strongly, I mean, how dare it defy me for one thing!! The continual physical pain wore me out and down. It has most surely been a roller-coaster ride in so many ways, including self-embarrassment at the state of me. I went from a highly-active and independent person to someone who had to learn to say "Can you .... for me please?" over-night. It has been a painful curve in life in the sense I found out who my friends are and were. Some very cruel and cutting words and behaviour were handed to me by the very people I thought would help and support me through the early times especially and this includes my family.
Overall though, I feel this has probably been one of the best lessons in my life though ...... and I am still learning through it. There are plenty of people far worse off than me with far worse conditions and circumstances so I don't feel sorry for me.
I am now far more relaxed, tolerant, easy-going and I am 100% more aware that others may have un-seen disabilities too. I've met lovely new friends, some whom are also disabled who enrich my life in ways I've never encountered before. I have learnt new life skills, take time to smell the roses and appreciate the world around me in far greater ways. My life may be much smaller than 5 years ago, but I am far happier now.
It is so easy to take life for granted, what you have, what you can do etc - I certainly did. I'm so glad that I ran up and down the stairs several times the night before my op because it was my last time as it turned out. I did it "because I don't know when I'll be able to do it again" ......... I savour the feeling now!!
I'm currently working on a programme that will hopefully help me regain some confidence and ways to manage my conditions better. It's a bit of trial and error as it can be quite a juggling act at times but hopefully by the time my next hysterversary comes around, I'll have got life even more back on track. It's been a journey I didn't expect, but hey, I'm sure I'm better and stronger for it in all the right ways.
Thanks for reading .... if you've stuck it through to this end!!
Good luck and best wishes to all!