Vivacious to Bed Bound
Being a high level athlete, I was always in shape, and always eating right. I always stayed active, and fit while putting gymnastics first.
We had to train a certain amount of hours a week, therefore fitness was just something that was number one in my life, and I never thought I would have to experience life without it.
I was in the best shape of my life before 2012, and since I had my surgeries that all went down hill...very quickly.
As a kid, I was that little girl that NEVER STOPPED MOVING. I always wanted to be in the dirt, in the water, upside down, water skiing, snow skiing, dance, cheerleading, tumbling. If there was an activity going on, I wanted to be a part of it.
When I had my first surgery 2012, all of that came to a screeching halt.
I went from being athletic and healthy, to lying in a hospital bed, not sure how I was even going to lift my head up from the pillow by myself.
Before my first surgery in 2012, I was someone who was happy, lively, the energizer bunny, never self conscious, and fearless, then this life changing circumstance smacked me in the face. I remember looking at my body in 2017, and thinking "who is this person? Who am I?" I did not recognize the girl that was looking back at me in the mirror, mentally and physically.
I was having a mental tug of war of wanting to make progress in recovery, but my body did not enable me too. My goal was to get my mind, body and soul back to a strong space, but in reality my body was screaming inside saying "what are you doing to me?" Obviously, I was in pain and having a hard time getting back into it, I had a new body. I had new hardware, a new spine, and learned how to walk again. I was angry at myself, at life, at my body for letting me down. I was so young, yet I felt trapped in an 80 year olds body. My mind wanted to take a leap, but my body wouldn't allow it. I had to be patient, and continue to lay low and follow my physical therapy schedule, resting, and medication treatment.
The entire process of getting into a new schedule and getting back to "Madison" has been the farthest thing from simple. I had to learn that I am not the same person I was four years ago. Mentally, I am stronger, wiser, and much more resilient. Physically...I didn't even know who I was as if I couldn't match my mind to my body. How could I be so young? So athletic? and yet, I needed help getting changed, showering, and getting in and out of bed. It took a very long time and a lot of acceptance in recognizing that this was my "new normal."
The old Madison was long gone, and I had to basically reinvent myself and figure out who I was going to be.
The mental strain of being this wild child, active, athletic, girl to being confined to a hospital bed for four years was unimaginable. In 2017, after getting cleared by my physical therapist, surgeon, and other doctors, I was able to begin doing more "normal" activities. I had a mental fear that, if I did certain activities I would have to pay for it with a night of pain. But, nothing could stop me from starting to get my body going again.
After a few months, I slowly started getting into a new routine of eating healthy meals, walking the dog, and doing little fun activities everyday that impacted my mind positively. This was not an easy task, and my body definitely was in shock and I had a lot of restless nights, and still do. This is when I learned the true meaning of mind over matter. I came to terms with understanding and believing that chronic pain would be in my life forever. There was no denying it, no hiding it, no running away from it. I either let pain and misery win, or I take it by its throat and I learn to restrain it. I may never kill the monster, but I was okay with taming it.
Trust me when I say that darkness took over my life and I hated myself, and how I was living. I wanted things to change but for so long, but I didn't have control over my health and where my life was going. For so long I had to put my faith, my future, and my health into the hands of others. Now, this is one year after my third surgery I had the option to take control and it is an incredible feeling. Never in my life, did I think I would have to give up my freedom, my youth, my life. I never would have thought that I would be in this position of being limited to a hospital bed. Every step I took off the bed, every outing, every time out of the house was a risk of being in more pain. At the end of the day, this is the life I was dealt and I had to bite the bullet and take the bull by the horns and take the first step into my new life.
Here I am now, living with chronic pain, depression and anxiety everyday. Every new day is a challenge and a gift, but the choice is up to you how you look at it.