I feel like I’m saying goodbye to the whole world.
Sounds dramatic right?
Starting tomorrow I will have a different life.
In my new life I will not have to worry about the weather.
There will be no birthday parties, concerts, brunches, playgrounds and no Christmas dinner.
There will be no workdays, no supermarkets, no transport and no busy schedule.
Thursday I will get four springs drilled into the bones in my back. There is 85% chance that this will cure the constant pain that I have been suffering every minute of every day for the last year. Back pain that I have known sporadically since my teenage years, has now become unbearable. The drain of never ending pain leaves me exhausted. I struggle to stay awake during the day. I have to concentrate really hard to remember what day it is and what my plans are for the coming days.
The operation will take 3 hours. I will stay in hospital for one week. I will be confined to bed for 6 weeks, not allowed to sit or stand while the screws set in my bones. You should see my new bookshelf, I bought an impressive stack of books to keep me occupied. Luckily I have been able to rent a snazzy electric hospital bed. This means I can position myself in front of the television in the living room. However the first few weeks I might have to stay on the same floor as the bathroom, I don’t know if I will be able to do stairs.
Searching the internet to try to figure out what the problem actually is I came across an image showing several possible back problems. I have all of them! The two lowest disks in my back are bulging, herniated, thinning and degenerated. Due to this the bones are showing damage usually only seen in patients older than 60. After consulting three top surgeons it seems that the only solution is to attach springs to the vertebrae to keep them apart and take the pressure off the disks. Believe me, I’ve tried every other option. I am not worried about the operation itself, the surgeon told me it is the most basic operation he does and he performs it twice daily. My scans are like thousands he has seen before. It’s just that he had never seen it in someone my age. I always knew I was special. 😉
So that is what is happening.
Last week in Prague I said goodbye to hundreds of colleagues who I will not see for at least six months. This week my son had holiday from school so we spent the week visiting friends, eating out, drinking tea, playing, building, hugging, exploring, laughing and making epic selfies.
In my heart I was saying goodbye. Goodbye to restaurants. Goodbye to the roof of the MAS museum. Goodbye to the indoor playground. Goodbye to pancake parties. Goodbye to my office. Goodbye to my car. Goodbye to walking, standing, sitting.
I don’t know when I’ll be back on my feet.
My mum told me that she know someone who had the same operation six months ago and was now getting ready to run her first marathon! I don’t see any marathons in my future but who knows.
And how do I feel? I trust the operation will go well. I am more worried about the months afterwards. About the loss of freedom. I feel like I’m talking about someone else if I explain the operation. I realised that it must be upsetting me on some level when I started crying in a clothes shop today. The whole store was full of beautiful dresses and sparkly things for the festive season, that didn’t make me feel very nice. Like the world doesn’t count for me anymore. Like I’m taking a step out of civilisation and it will continue without me. Trying to find a bra that would be comfortable to wear in bed is more difficult than you would imagine. Excluding underwire, padding, lace and shiny pretty things, the only bras left are breastfeeding ones. Apparently pure comfort is not a priority for the average bra designer.
Everyone says they wish they could do something to help me. It makes me feel a bit panicked that I know there is really nothing anyone can do to help. However, I can think of one thing you could do to make me happy. I know that in our society the gut reaction is to buy things for people we love. If someone is ill we buy flowers and teddy bears, grapes and chocolates. Well I have a suggestion for you. Instead of buying things that will die or be eaten, go to your nearest Standaard Boekhandel or Relay and pick up a copy of Charlie (€9.90). I am very proud that of those 144 fantastic pages, I created 3 of them.
If you already have it, buy one for a friend. Then let me know via facebook what your favorite article is and what it means to you. Doing this will make me happy for two reasons. Firstly I know you will love it, it is a thing of beauty. It gives me such joy to give someone the gift of peaceful me-time. Secondly you will be contributing to the survival of a wonderful group of writers who write honestly and from the heart.
So here I go.
It’ll be worth it right?
Catch you on the flip side.
Lovely people who have bought themselves a Charlie for me!