Stacey

Tonight on Big Brother Stacey and Bradley had a fight. It had started as all of a bit of a joke with him teasing her about her age and she laughing along, until a point and suddenly she snapped.

Later what she said to Big Brother in the diary room struck a cord with me.

She told him that while she loved to laugh and joke around and was always so upbeat, she had a limit. And there was a point where the comments actually hurt. She felt since she was always laughing and having fun people assumed she was almost invincible against taking offence at joke like comments.

I feel the same way. I don’t take myself seriously and am often the first person to laugh at myself. I love a joke and there is not a great deal that will offend me but I have a limit. Some of the comments my friends say as a joke actually do hurt, I just never let anyone see that.

Advertisements

Pain

This might sound a little sickening to some but there are days where my life just seems almost perfect. I have a job where I am lucky enough to write about my passions each day. I get to talk to celebrities, listen to new music and see the latest movies and get paid for it!

I have a great group of friends, enjoy working out with my gym buddies and have plenty of fun activities to fill my time with.

The thought of leaving all of this behind even for a short time sends a shiver of sadness and a flash of terror through me. How will I cope being away from a life I love for so long?

And then the pain hits.

This morning at the gym I did a pretty sweaty workout where I pushed my body to the limit. Like a drug addict I rode high on the endorphins as I pushed myself on the cross-trainer.

But then I stepped off and I knew instantly I was going to pay for this workout for the rest of the day, if not the next few days.

Filled with sweat, my leg could barely grip to my skin and each step towards the car was like walking on broken glass.

I sat at my desk and many times today wanted to go to the toilet but the short walk to the bathroom seemed almost too painful to deal with so I simply just distracted myself with other tasks.

Then tonight I was supposed to go shopping with one of my best friends. There was no way I was going to give up an evening of fun because of my leg and like so many other times I just gritted my teeth, painted a smile on my face and sucked it up.

I may love my life, but boy, I can’t wait to be rid of this pain. Looking down at my rubbed raw and blistered skin I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am making the right choice in having this operation.

Physio

I discovered the other day at the doctor’s that since I am considered to be living with a chronic condition I am entitled to six free physio sessions a year. This is perfect timing as I have been instructed to visit a physio and have them show me some stump strengthening exercises to build up the muscles in my stump which will make the new walking process a lot easier.

I make an appointment with a female physio from New Zealand who I am told is the best in the company and has had experience with amputees before.

After our first session I am not entirely sure this is true and if it is I feel extremely sorry for the other amputees she has seen if she treated them anything like she treated me.

I tell her about the operation and she seems quite interested. She brings out a sheet of exercises that are designed for people who have just been amputated and asks me to take my leg off so we can run through the exercises.

I am in the process of taking it off when she gasps somewhat and tells me how huge my leg is.

As a girl I instantly take offence. Is she calling me fat?

She continues.

“That comes up so high! The new legs don’t come up so high and are no where near as bulky!”

Great, she is practically calling my leg prehistoric. I can feel the tears ready to spring from behind my eyes, but I refuse to cry in front of her.

I don’t know how many prosthetic legs she has seen in her life but as a through-knee amputee if my leg didn’t come up as high then there is no way it would be able to be held on by suction. This would be the case for any through-knee or above knee amputees.

I get on the table and run through the exercises which focus mostly on my right hip, butt and hip flexor.  I go to the gym six days a week and do a variety of classes from Body Balance to Pump, to Step and Boxing so I figure these simple exercises will be a breeze.

Not so.

With many of the movements I can feel my hip (or lack there of I suppose) clicking and cracking as bone rubs against bone. It’s not painful as such but extremely uncomfortable and like the tactical equivalent of finger nails scraping down a chalkboard, gives me an uneasy feeling in my stomach.

I am also surprised at how very little muscle I have in my right leg and butt cheek. I knew it was underdeveloped as this has always bothered me in pants but I figured since I went to the gym there would be at least some muscle strength there.

The physio says she can feel a flicker of movement in my right glute but it’s weak.

I feel flustered and frustrated and leave almost in tears, worried that with such weak muscle strength learning to walk with my new leg is going to be incredibly difficult.

One prospect I am excited about though, is the thought of building up the muscle in my right thigh and glute. I have long felt self-conscious about the difference in size in my butt cheeks. I’m sure it’s barely noticeable to most people but for me it’s like a flashing neon sign.

When I was 13 I was dressed in a pair of tight jeans at a party and I thought I looked pretty hot. One of the girls at the party was chatting to me and she commented on my butt. 12 years later I can still remember her exact words.

“Do you have a fake butt as well as a fake leg?”

Up until then I had been happy to wear tight jeans, Capri pants of stretchy fabrics and tight skirts but after that comment I threw them all out of wardrobe.

Tight pants and clingy fabrics have never been my friend. As well as not looking great with my lopsided butt, they pull too tightly across the top of my artificial leg highlighting the bulk and outline of the prosthesis.

The prospect of being able to wear whatever I want and actually looking good in it fills me with as much as excitement as a kid waking up to new bike at Christmas.

It’s a simple thing and something that many take for granted but for a girl who loves fashion the prospect of a whole new wardrobe with countless options is the thing of dreams.

I just have to get these muscles strong first.

 

 

Cyborg

With my new hardware soon to be installed I am essentially about to become a cyborg. I like the term. Like the shark attack story it makes me feel powerful, special somehow rather than just disabled which is a label I have never felt particularly comfortable about.

My friends all embraced the tag with gusto but every time I have mentioned it to my parents they seem a little uneasy about it.

I don’t think Mum thinks I am being very nice about myself and Dad and my brother don’t think I will legitimately fit the category of a cyborg. Dad seemed fixated on the Cybermen from Doctor Who and the Six Million Dollar Man which he believes I will be as far from as a mouse is to a bird.

So it was time to go to the expert in all things robotic. I called my friend H to discuss just what a cyborg was and whether in fact I would be one.

We knuckled down the definition that a cyborg was essentially a human with bionic, or robotic implants. A fusion of man and machine, where flesh and metal meet.

Since I will have a metal rod inserted which will fuse with my own bone and attach to a robotic part of sorts I feel comfortable with the assertion that I will indeed be a cyborg.

I guess in a few weeks it will be farewell to an existence as a human and time for a new chapter as a cyborg. I may not be quite like the Cybermen or the Six Million Dollar Man but they could be considered my cousins.

Shame

Despite the fact that since deciding to have this operation and becoming much more open about my leg, I still experience a level of difficulty when talking about it.  I’m not sure if there is still a level of shame attached to my leg or just that sometimes it just feels easier not to bring it up at all, to simply leave it as a non-issue.

For example the other weekend at Splendour in the Grass I was sharing a room with a girl from work. I hadn’t met this girl before so she had no idea about my leg. I normally take my leg off to sleep but I felt weird about just whipping it off in front of her but bringing up a conversation about it felt even more awkward. I stood frozen by my bed unsure of what to do.

In the end I decided it might simply just be easier to put up with a little discomfort and sleep with it on under the covers.

This feeling of shame is something that I realize I really need to work on. I always knew it was there at the corner of my mind but it’s only now that I realize how much it impacts upon my life.

It was only the other night I was having a discussion about boys with Flatmate 1. He was telling me I should finally man-up (so to speak) and tell the boy I had been crushing on for months how I felt.

I told him I was really unsure how the boy felt towards me and I didn’t want to ruin the friendship if he didn’t feel the same way. I didn’t want things to change between us and I would be devastated if they became awkward or worse we stopped speaking.

All these things were true but what I didn’t dare voice aloud was what I knew was at the root of my nervousness about confessing my feelings.

I guess the underlying fear was that I would never be good enough for this boy. Could he possibly love me looking like I did? Would any boy?

I can’t blame S entirely for feeling like this but his rejection and disrespectful comment those years ago certainly keeps this fear and worry fresh in my mind.

But if I can’t love and accept my own body, how on earth can I ever expect anyone else to?

Cruel Comments

I know most people don’t mean to be cruel or hurtful with their comments but sometimes even people I consider close friends say things that like a knife cut deep. The wound might not bleed but it hurts just the same.

At lunch the other day one of the girls said with horrified fascination that she had never seen a stump before.

“I dunno it might creep me out,” she added.

I know she didn’t mean to hurt me nor disrespect me at all but there is nothing like someone implying that your body is hideous to ruin your afternoon.

Then there was the first time I told another friend about my hand. He knew about my leg and we had discussed the operation in great detail but he had never noticed my missing finger or scar on my hand.

When I pointed it out I saw a look horror pass over his eyes and he flinched. It was only brief but it was there. I suddenly felt incredibly awkward and exposed.

Waiting

It’s a little more than two months to when go on leave and there is a lot to be done in that time. I need to find a physio to show me some strengthening exercises that will help me when it becomes time to learn to walk. I want to get as physically fit as possible before the operation so my recovery will be easier. And I want to lose some more weight as vain as it might sound I know being in hospital there will be a lot of nurses and doctors looking at my body and I don’t want to be feeling incredibly self conscious all the time.

I try not to focus too much on the impending operation and keep myself ever busy for in the quiet moment that’s when the fear pounces like a sneaky panther.

There are moments when I am temporarily paralyzed by fear at just how huge the whole process is. Not just the operation, but the recovery, the time away from work and friends.

Also the prospect of losing more of my leg does concern me. I know it will only be the tip but still the thought of losing a part of me fills me with nerves.

My biggest fear is the moment after the first surgery when I lift the sheet and look down at what my leg has become. I keep picturing it like a scene from a car crash movie where the protagonist has just lost their leg and sees their body for the first time and along comes the sea of tears.

I know it’s crazy and irrational and will be nothing like that, but still the thought and image persists.