It’s not very often that I stop and feel sorry for myself. I’m typically the kind of person that rolls with the punches and I’ve gotten really good at picking myself up, dusting myself off, and moving forward after landing on my ass a few times (and occasionally pretty hard).
But this week has been one of the those weeks that makes you pause, look at the ceiling and think to oneself “all right…dammit. WHAT the hell?!”. A person can only take so much in any given period of time, and maybe it’s natural for us to stop and look around once in a while and take stock.
Especially if it happens to be in the middle of the stairs as you’re sitting on your ass because you fell again.
I fell down the stairs in November. November 19th to be exact. The day my son left for boot camp and five years to the day after my hip replacement surgery. (That was its own ‘what the HELL’ moment…but whatever.) Turns out I tore 2 ligaments in my foot when I fell so I am currently sporting an oh-so-fashionable sexy boot brace from the knee down for the next 3-5 weeks because it hasn’t healed right yet.
Then I fell again a few days ago. Not down the stairs this time, just on the stairs. I wasn’t hurt…well, nothing but my pride anyway. But I just sat there and started crying. I used to be a dancer and a runner. I took really good care of myself and I have always been in really good shape. So this….this new existence…is really hard for me to understand sometimes. Even if it has been over 10 years now.
I started dancing when I was 7 years old. I ran cross country starting in junior high. The idea that I couldn’t do something never occurred to me. But now I have fallen on the frickin stairs twice in 147 days. (YES, I counted them …stupid stairs)
This isn’t me. When I look in the mirror, I look like me. When I open my mouth, I sound like me. But this is not me. This is some alternate-reality-broken-version of me, but this is not me. This version of me has my hair (well…except for the grey ones) and my eyes…my memories, and all the same people in my life. But this is not me.
I think most people with a chronic illness, no matter what it is…but especially if it’s chronic pain or something really life altering, look in the mirror and wonder who it is they see there. It’s all part of mourning the loss of a part of yourself. And sometimes that can take a long time.
If you’ve read any of my blogs, you know that my life is divided up into the “before” and the “after”. Before is who I was before July 17, 2001 and After is anything and everything after that day. That’s when my life began to change. It started with pain in my left arm and 12 years later it has progressed into 6 surgeries, too many procedures to count, and 2 express trips down the stairs.
I see the girl in the mirror, but that’s not me.