I write every day. Not on this blog, but in a notebook. I journal every morning, pouring out whatever I’m feeling and documenting my life and, as it turned out, the pandemic. I love getting everything out of my head and on to the page. It frees me up for the day. Or it used to. The last couple of weeks have been really difficult for me and I’ve carried my feelings from the page into my days.
This passage is a transcription of what I wrote on Bank Holiday Monday. I read it back last night and it made me cry. I want to share it because recently I’ve been writing mostly happy and flowery posts on social media… and nothing on here. I want to be transparent and vulnerable and show how I’m really feeling. Photos of flowers are easy to post… real life often isn’t.
31st August 2020 – day 161 (I’ve numbered the days since lockdown began)
It’s the last day of August. How shit is that? My Summer effectively ended on 6th July – seven weeks ago. That was the last time I did a proper workout. That was when my back and leg decided to not play properly. That was when my sciatica came back.
After nearly two years of a pain fee life, the pain has restarted with a vengeance and there’s not much that I can do about it. I feel like the NHS is failing me and I can’t afford to go private.
Now I have an appreciation of what Stage 4 cancer patients feel like. Stuck and frustrated and on the scrap heap. That’s what it feels like. Stuck in an outsourced world where patient choice doesn’t exist anymore. Where you can get treatment but only if you pay.
So, I just exist day to day, shuffling around. Walking for 15 minutes until the pain hits like a hot poker through my calf and ankle, reducing me to tears. Doing crappy little exercises that are so boring they make me cry and forget about doing them. Spending time with Evie on her treatment bed instead of lifting weights. Swallowing Pregabalin and Naproxen …and nothing relieves the pain.
Everyone tells me that I’ll be OK. To be patient. To accept the situation. But I don’t want to accept not being able to go for a walk, not to be able to visit gardens, walk by the sea, or just stroll to the shops. I want to go for a run if I want to, and to do HIIT workouts and lift weights. I haven’t walked my dogs for weeks. I miss that. I miss the time I spend with Liam, walking the dogs. That’s the time when we really talk.
That’s gone now and I can’t accept it. It’s messing with my head. I’m really sad. Every day is the same. Waking up with nothing much to look forward to. I know all of the things that I should be doing, Live in the present. Live for today. Well, today is the same as yesterday was, and tomorrow will be no different. If I can’t change the situation, then I should just adjust my thinking towards it. Believe me, I’m working hard on that.
The situation seems so unfair. I know that I don’t have cancer at the moment and there are many who are much worse off than me… but this is hard to cope with.
Seven weeks ago I was feeling great. Strong, fit and my mind was good too. I’d confronted some really difficult life events and was a long way down the road to accepting them. Now – not so much. The lesson I’ve learnt is that nothing is permanent. And that applies to the good things as well as the bad. So really appreciate the good. I thought that I was doing that, but was I really? I know the reverse is also true. Bad things are not permanent either. This too shall pass. But when?
That’s the difficulty for me. There’s no timeline here. Bones and muscles heal – usually with a known recovery time. Not this bloody sciatica. I don’t even know the cause, whether its nerve inflammation or further degeneration of my spinal canal, let alone when it will stop.
That’s where it ends. Abrupt and angry.
Featured image – Dr Santosh Shetty