Thirteen Days Out of Neurosurgery: Mind Over Matter

Sep 6, 2021

Today I sat up for an hour, something I’m extremely proud of. It’s September 6, 2021. It took three people to help me transfer, as I’m unable to feel my legs. At the moment, I’m unable to use them at all, so I have to rely on others to help me move. Before I transfer, I need help putting on my back brace. The brace is zebra printed, making it a bit more cheerful.

The feeling of sitting up is indescribable. I have never felt so proud in my life. It feels like such an accomplishment, something that I used to take for granted. Being bedbound for eight months has allowed me to look at life differently. This was a big reminder that we often take the little things in life for granted.

Half an hour sitting up I was hysterically crying; the pain was too much. There was so much pressure on my back. I hit the call button to get ahold of my nurse, and she helped me put the chair in a reclining position. This seemed to help take some of the pressure off my back. I was determined to sit up for an hour. Any time I sit up, I have the nurse take a photo of me for a couple of reasons. One, to remind myself that I made this accomplishment come true. Two, to remember that on the toughest days I was still able to push myself and make my goal come to life. Every day I set a goal for myself, to be able to sit up out of bed. However, I also remind myself that it’s okay if my body can’t handle that. It’s important to remember to listen to your body especially when it’s telling you something isn’t right.

At the one-hour mark I hit the button to get ahold of my nurse. I was hysterically crying; I couldn’t handle the pain anymore. Two people came in to help me transfer. Both of them were so kind and so compassionate, reminding me to take deep breaths and encouraging me and telling me that I could do it. They let me gain my composure and allowed me to take my time. I cried throughout this process and was grateful they were helping me. I was willing to do whatever was possible to help get me comfortable. This included using ice packs, propping my back up with pillows, having a comfortable blanket on, and snuggling with a comfortable pillow on top of my stomach to help cushion the abdominal incision. I had taken breakthrough medication prior to transferring, and I knew it was going to kick in soon.

In the meantime, I had to distract myself. I called one of my closest friends, Michelle, and talked to her on the phone for a bit. This helped get my mind off of things and helped calm me down. I knew I had to wait another thirty minutes until I could get breakthrough pain medication. I kept telling myself, “Mind over matter.” I reminded myself to focus on my goal: being able to sit up.

The surgeon warned me this recovery was going to brutal, especially the first three months. I have to focus on my mindset, as the brain is the strongest muscle. I know this is going to hard, and I am willing to fight as hard as I can to get my life back. No matter how hard the obstacle is, I promise, you can get through it. You have to remember that it is possible to accomplish anything you set your mind to. Everyone is going to have their good days and bad days, and that’s okay. Always remember, there is something good in every day.

When it feels like you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, take a step back and remember that your journey isn’t over; it’s just beginning. Keep going even on the days that you feel like you may want to give up. I promise you the fight is worth it.

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