It's always good to start with a quote from Carrie!
I haven't blogged since 2013, wowzers! I sit and write this now, simply because I want to bottle up the emotion I'm feeling right now. Who knows if I'll have the guts to publish it?!
When we're born we get thrown into a life, a life of which we have no say over. Some grow up to be pretty, some grow tall and others grow to be small (the best kind) The majority of people float through life without too many hurdles, with just the 'average' life worries for company. Others, however, get thrown into a life that is slightly more challenging. I developed a chronic condition at only 18 months old. I grew up thinking that regular surgery and physio was normal. I frequently spent more time in Hospital than I did in School. I'm a bit shabby on my Maths and my History but I could tell you how to insert a Cannula, how to do a joint injection, or how to self inject! I didn't know any different and I was never brought up to feel 'different' I knew I wasn't allowed / couldn't run around in the playground and that I had to sit on a chair in assembly, I just accepted it as the norm.
As life went on I carried on happily, never really feeling much different, I just fitted in nicely. Then in my late teens my health took a nose dive. My freedom was taken away from me and my life felt like it was over. For the first time in my life I felt 'different'. I didn't feel like I was the 'perfect' girl that society demanded you had to be in order to be happy. I lost myself, I cut myself off from my friends and I took zero pride in my appearance. I was shy and I hated myself.
Then came the news that I needed major hip surgery, there was a good chance it might help, but if it failed, I'd never walk again. A tough decision to make at 20. I went for it and I found myself (How very X-Factor!) along the way. I pulled myself through the pain, I kept focussed when things looked bleak. I was very ill after my final surgery but I kept going. When I eventually managed to walk, it was amazing. I was on cloud 9, my self confidence rocketed and I felt good! Then I realised I had big scars, my knees looked awful and I thought my bum was huge (eat your heart out J-Lo!) I plummeted again. Eventually I learnt to love my scars and imperfections and I got myself going. I plodded along nicely, until 2014 came along....
My health took a turn for the worse in 2014, it was one of the worst flare ups I've ever had. My Arthritis had spread to my eye, I couldn't see properly. I was in excruciating pain and unable to get out of bed in a morning. I collapsed at home at Easter in what was to be the beginning of the end! (Dramatic music) I wasn't receiving the correct medical care & medication was being withheld from me. I was 26 years old and unable to function at all. I was a prisoner in my own body, trapped. Every day was a battle and I hated myself. I have only a hand full of pictures of myself from 2014, and I hate to look at them. I can see the pain in my eyes and it breaks my heart.
I kept fighting, every morning I listened to the same song to give me strength to face the day. The song was Invictus (from The Invictus Games) ; "I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.."
Eventually I moved hospitals and got the care I needed. I started some new medication in December and it's made the world of difference to me. Man oh man has it been a tough journey?!
Tonight, for the first time in 12 months I looked at my body properly. I realised how much better it looks, one of my legs even looks 'normal' ! As I realised it tears pooled in my eyes, my heart was suddenly filled with an overwhelming sense of pride. I did this, I carried on fighting when the whole world felt against me. I liked myself again tonight. I know it can all change in a heartbeat, god forbid my medication could stop working, my hips might give up the ghost. It's important I appreciate each day, and I that's why I want to remember this moment. The moment I looked in the mirror and saw myself looking back! Welcome back, I've missed you my old friend.
Out of the night that covers me,Black as the Pit from pole to pole,I thank whatever gods may beFor my unconquerable soul.In the fell clutch of circumstanceI have not winced nor cried aloud.Under the bludgeonings of chanceMy head is bloody, but unbowed.Beyond this place of wrath and tearsLooms but the Horror of the shade,And yet the menace of the yearsFinds, and shall find, me unafraid.It matters not how strait the gate,How charged with punishments the scroll,I am the master of my fate:I am the captain of my soul.