Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The good, the bad; The bright, the sad.

Something I've learned recently, among a heckton of medical terminology and physiology paraphernalia... Let yourself feel whatever comes to you, but look for the bright side wherever possible.


Bright Side #1.


My surgery left me bed- (or rather, sofa-) ridden for a few weeks, and I was on some mighty steroids before and after the op - both of these combined led to me gaining weight, so now I have the most immense and unshakeable feelings of insecurity and even hatred whenever I look in a mirror, be it the cute cupboard mirrors in my friends' bathroom or the full length monstrosity in my bedroom. The bright side of this? Yes I have got a little bigger but it's made me want to work harder and eat healthier - it's a project, if you will. 'Project Back to a Ten'! Size that is, not rating, because let's face it, that won't happen any time soon or at all.
Weight gain also makes me that much more aware of my body, whereas a few months ago I was poisoning myself in more ways than one and not caring in the slightest. I can only get better, now. I'm well on my way already, being back in a very hilly city, living a fair distance from town and working like a demon at two jobs, plus eating fairly sensibly every (other) day... My steroids are slowly but surely wearing off, too. People are commenting on my drug-chub face slimming down, which makes me want to dance madly. 



Bright Side #2.

I've had to come off my contraceptive pill, and am currently looking into going back on it. Coming off for three months obviously brings on ALL of the unpleasant girly business; for instance my pill banished breakouts and shrunk my waist as well as calming down the dreaded hormones, and now I'm spotty, swollen, sore, chubby and grumpy. 
My doctors' surgery I've been registered with at uni saw me last week. The receptionist was dismissive and a little bitchy when I arrived early and asked whether anyone could see me a little before my scheduled appointment slot - then when I gave my name, panic crossed her peachy complexion and she flustered all over me, apologising for her utter failure in finding me a doctor who could see me a few minutes prior to my allotted time, asking if there was anything else she could do, if I needed anything while I waited... That has to be my bright side. Being greeted with respect and perhaps the cutest little dose of fear when I cross the threshold of my doctors' surgery, home to the doctors who didn't believe me several months ago when I first told them about my twitchy useless arm or take me seriously when I showed them my half-frozen face... Oh, if only they'd been right. Still, this little victory is stupidly exciting for me.


Bright Side #3.
'No, I can't remember that... It must have been taken out of my head!'

Sometimes, in fact a good ninety-something percent of the time, I'll joke happily at my own expense partly because it's hilarious (ofc), and really to remind everyone it's a-okay to giggle - Tumour Humour is encouraged.
Honestly, it's better than fawning sympathy or one too many intimate questions; while I'll go on forever telling my story and throwing in amusing anecdotes for those interested, poking fun and bringing about some laughter is always going to be the preferred approach to my insane issues. I'll laugh along when someone makes their own joke, every time. Make the most, people! Because I don't take much fun-making about anything else; for years my love life, my accent, my hair or my driving have been the subject of barbs and jests, and I'd actually rather hear a comment about my 'defective' brain be met with uproarious laughter.

My friends also actively encourage me to 'play the tumour card'. Whether it's just for when I get tired and need to sit down, when I don't fancy going to a party or night out, when I don't want to have sex (a ludicrous thought) or even can't be bothered to do a shift at work. 
Now, I've used it twice and immediately regretted it - but it has got a few laughs. Once, my best friend pointed out that I hadn't gone to his birthday party; I responded with a panicked shout of 'I was in hospital!!' He then thought for a second and then said 'No, you weren't! This was months before!' All our friends standing with us laughed so hard it echoed, and I felt awful but relieved it had gone down better than expected. 
Last night, I didn't like a card I'd drawn from the pile in a game of Cards Against Humanity, so I put it back and picked another, which is technically flouting the sacred rules - my boyfriend caught me, reprimanded me, and I timidly said 'Oww, my head hurts...' And brought a hand up to my scar. I was excused, and laughed at. 
So while funny at times, and maybe even deserved, I will not play the Tumour Card. I'm off the sofa now, and able to walk again, people shouldn't have to make crazy allowances for me - letting me off work or fetching cups of tea for me whenever I want.


Bright Side Wanted.

'It's just The Sads. Nothing to worry about.'

Now for the most frustrating (and apparently taboo) effect my operation has had, the one that took its time to take its toll...
I get The Sads. Every now and again I am seized by this agonisingly slow-moving, most unwelcome overhanging black cloud... I loathe the likening of sadness to a cloud, it doesn't do justice to the more elegant cumulus beauties or the superb violent stormy badboys, but in this instance I am forever in lack of a better word. It happens over the course of an hour or so most of the time, although sometimes it will last a few tearful minutes or a slump-filled day. I'll go quiet, most unlike me as I'm a champion chatter, shrink away from social atmospheres whether that means inching up the sofa a little or leaving a building completely; I concentrate on my breathing and any mundane everyday thought possible, I hang on to something comparatively concrete - myself. My mind is only so-so, it's vulnerable, flawed and weak, so despite my total lack of body love right now, sometimes running my hands over my ribs, feeling one leg shift against the other, or connecting my chin to my chest... It all helps.
It could be because I've thrown myself back into work at two jobs and distanced myself from my secure family home - apparently pushing yourself too far one day can set you back two weeks, and I've been pushing just a little too hard, maybe. I admitted to a physio recently that I may have 'jumped off the sofa too early'. In my defence, I love my jobs and the sofa life drove me mad with cabin fever. 

I've been told to 'find my feet' which helps relax you; I've heard soaking crystals in water and drinking will release the positive attributes of the stones; I've been advised that we are always in control, we humans. Sure, sometimes something comes along and knocks you over pretty damn hard, but at the end of the day the way we deal with it is all in our control, and can make it all better. It's naive, a little too simple, but ultimately it works. Remember whatever happens happens, and it's all meant to be. Take solace in the fact that you can embrace what you can control. You can turn a situation around.

I sometimes worry that my life will become an endless stream of this stuff. Everything will be hashtagged #postop. 
Then I realise that this little blip on my radar doesn't define me, not by any means. I'm not having an almost-quarter life crisis. I still have so much of my life to look forward to, so many incredible experiences that haven't happened yet, and some of the best days of my life still lie in wait. All I have to do is make it through this tricky stretch, and it'll be worth it. It's the same with anything - guys, have hope! 
Okay, pep talk over. I promise I won't dedicate this blog to this one big thing, and my next few posts will be much more upbeat. Cool? Cool. Coolcoolcool.

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