Here is where my posts start getting less coherent, as now is when I’m truly feeling the fear about my upcoming surgery kick in. I’ll try my very best to keep updating this blog and share how I deal with it and keep myself going. I’m also going to try and be as honest as possible, despite the fact that I’d rather not admit some of the things that I’m feeling. I think it’s important for other people going through similar things to know that they’re not alone, and for supporters and carers to know what it’s like for the people they’re trying to help. Of course, this is all just my own personal experience. I can not speak for anyone else going through this.
So it’s 19 days to go now, and I’m terrified. All day it’s just nausea, stomach pains and headaches, and not just my usual Chiari ones either. I know this is a very normal anxiety reaction, so I know that the very best treatment is to keep myself healthy, calm and thinking positive. I’m being religious with my medication and vitamin taking and I am forcing myself to eat a healthy meal several times a day, despite the fact that my appetite has suddenly disappeared. I take many short moments out of my day to centre myself and breathe normally, and personally I enjoy reciting simple mantras and practising both vipassana and metta meditation to keep myself feeling centred.
Thinking positive seems to be the most important part though. Every now and then I feel the doubt creeping up on me, telling me that this is too big and that I’d be better off cancelling my surgery and living in pain and disability for the rest of my life. Sometimes my doubt even tries to tell me that even if I wanted to go through with this, I’m not strong enough to make it, and that if I try to push myself to it I’ll end up panicking and trying to run. Right now, I’m dealing with these thoughts by thoroughly refusing to give them any credit. I don’t even accept that there is any doubt at all about the fact that I will get through this. I know from past experience that saying “I don’t know if I can do this” quickly turns into “I can’t do this”, so it feels important for me right now to say with conviction that not only can I do this, I will do this, and I will do it with my head held high as well.
At the moment I find reading history very comforting. Sometimes I forget just how strong the human spirit is. Reading about strong people who turned their fear into conviction and courage really helps put my ordeal in its place and empower me at the same time.
What I am experiencing is not suffering. I am not suffering now, no matter how much pain I am in, no matter how scared I am, I never wish it weren’t happening. Nothing has been cruelly or unfairly inflicted upon me. This is a challenge. It’s one that I welcome. By no one’s fault, I was born with a Chiari. By my own willpower, by the love of my family and by good fortune and the hard work of our medical industry I have been given the chance to treat my illness. I’m far more fortunate than not. My fear is the result of my instinct for self preservation, but I will not let it drag me down.