When I was ten or eleven years old, I had two titanium rods screwed to my spine to cure my scoliosis. The surgery was a success, and I was supposed to be hospitalized for at least two months. A little over three weeks later, I walked out of that hospital (okay, they rolled me to the car, from what I remember, but I could've walked...just very very slowly).
Today, at twenty-two, I'm starting to have this weird back pain at night. Sometimes, throughout the day, a part of my upper back will feel as if it's being pulled in one direction while the rest of me is staying still. My hips and knees ache. I'm like, thirty-eight, in a twenty-two year old's body.
I've been doing a little research here and there about the long term effects of these rods, and the outlook isn't very good. People's discs are crushed, some have trouble sleeping if they aren't lying completely flat and it all starts for most of them after the ten year mark, but they ignore it until it's too late. I'm done growing up, so I think the risk of my spine curving again is minimal. I want the rods out.
A friend of mine, Tony, has said I don't live for myself, and that I should start thinking about what I want. This is a big thing that I want, but I don't want it for my right now, I want it for my future. If you could read some of the stories from people who had the surgery in the 70's, even one's who had their surgeries the same year I had mine, and read their pain and frustration with their bodies not holding up despite the promises and the "progress" they'd made.
It's a big thing to want, and I'm scared of it. Not the surgery itself, but the wanting of something seemingly so big for myself. I've always been afraid of wanting things for myself, afraid that wanting those things would put automatically make them not come true. But it's a new year, and I'm older now and have learned that wanting things is nothing without the action behind them. I'm old enough now to know the difference between wants that are possible and wants that are impossible.
So in the spirit of the new year, my goal is to want things, and go for those things that I want.
It started simply by seeing Django for a second time (I freaking love that movie) and evolved into "Where do you want to be years from now? What do you want to be doing? Who do you want to be?"
I want the rods out. And I want to live near my boyfriend. And I want to graduate college with a degree in English and teaching certification. One day, I want to be a mom and a homeowner. I want a life that's full. And today's the day I start wanting it more than fearing it.
When I was ten or eleven, on my way out of the hospital, my nurses said I was stronger than they thought. My father told me the same, a few weeks later when I tried (and succeeded) crawling my way to the bathroom instead of waking someone up to help me. I am a strong woman, a lot stronger than I know. And it's time to start testing my metal (no pun intended).