In the days that followed the devastating news I found myself on a swing; the upward push I would feel strong, positive, motivated, determined. Resolute in the fact that this situation had happened for a reason and focused on making this setback into something good. I figured if I could make it a meaningful experience, create a positive meaning out of it all then it wouldn’t be wasted time. Wouldn’t be such a devastating blow to come to terms with.
But then just when I felt I would not only survive, but conquer this obstacle, the swing would be thrust backwards and I would plummet down. I felt fragile. Like tissue paper where any small gust of wind would break me into pieces. Teary, flat and lost.
For the first few weeks I existed in a fog. I did the necessarily preparations for surgery and kept myself busy making plans and setting my mind to the new task. For months there had been so much uncertainty about my pain and at times it seemed like no doctor would take me seriously. Or they would simply throw another drug at the situation rather than look for the underlying reason. The uncertainty was the worst. But now I had a concrete answer. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, the furthest possible thing but at least there was an answer and a plan to fix it. And with that came some relief.
But then the reality of the situation would hit. And I would feel paralyzed. What got me though was staying focused on the moment. Life was good in the small moments. It was when I thought of the big picture that I would feel the heaviness of doom, the weight of disappointment and the fears, doubts and worries crawl in. But in each moment there was joy. A good book in the sun. A delicious cup of tea shared with friends. Meals with my parents. Raw treats. And really all life is a collection of moments strung together.
But in saying that on the downward cycle of the swing there were moments where my heart felt like it was in a vice. I’m not sure if was the heavy antibiotics and other drugs I was taking or the stress or the weight of what lay ahead. Or a combination. It felt tight, heavy, constricting. Almost like a mini-panic attack of sorts. I felt paralysed and then like a rain cloud giving way all I would be left with was a soggy sadness. It fell upon me like a mist. I felt it damp upon my skin and it felt like I was breathing fairy floss. There were days where it was always there, not always in the forefront but it licked at the corners of my mind like a small fire burning the edge of a piece of wood. It could sizzle away undetected for a while until it demanded attention. When the sadness descended everything suddenly felt too hard, required too much energy. Suddenly just existing seemed exhausting. I struggled to do anything and then I would feel annoyed at myself for wasting time, for not functioning.
One day I was looking through photos from last year and seeing how happy I was, how good life was, brought me to tears. It was the best time of my life and I longed to have that again. Life made sense and nothing seemed impossible. I longed for the spark that lit up the face of the girl in the photo. It had been so long I couldn’t even remember how it felt to walk.
Part of me looked forward excitedly to that day in rehab when I again would take my first steps and how amazing that would feel, maybe even better than last time. And then part of me just felt sad for the life I once had in my grasp. It was all there, complete happiness and like sand it had slipped through my grasp. At the time it had almost felt too good to be true and in a way it now felt like it was. I knew I would get it back, I was determined to ensure that was true. But I also grieved for what was and what was now lost.
I looked at my goals from back then or even a few short months ago and remembered how this year held such promise. That had all changed. I did still want to tick of those goals but life had also been simplified and it’s funny how much my goals had now changed. Before I wanted to climb mountains, compete in Crossfit comps, walk 10kms and while I still wanted to do these things they were suddenly less important. All I really wanted was walk. Walk without pain. To be able to walk around the house, the shops, walk the dog. Walk to class at uni and hold my boyfriend’s hand when I walk. That’s all I wanted. How simple and bland it would have seemed to the Miranda that first had this operation. And yes there is still time to be extraordinary but right now I longed for the ordinary. When you lose everything suddenly the extras don’t seem so important.
But I needed to let go of how things were supposed to happen or how I thought they would and embrace what they were now and make the best of this. I refuse to believe anything in this life happens completely by chance. There is a reason for all of this. I wasn’t quite sure what that might be but I was positive it would become apparent as this journey continued.
An in the meantime, there was still much joy to be found in the small things. In the small moments. One moment at a time I would make it through this.