I applied to renew my passport this week. It’s much easier now with online application; my son took my photo and I uploaded it. Before I’d pressed the HM Passport Office send button I’m screaming fake. That sour faced, elderly, wrinkly is not me! But she is. She’s just so altered. Long gone are beautiful bright eyes and clear, even skin. The me now looks exhumed. I could put it down to poor lighting and a straight face but it’s the two anterior dissections causing an expanse of chicken skin where my toned neck once was. My sparkly eyes are watery and sunken. It’s hard to swallow how much I’ve changed in ten years.
2009. I didn’t know it then but I already exhibited major symptoms of myelopathy; the black ops of degenerative disease. It’s so stealthy and gradual I never saw it coming. Who knows how long it was that tell-tale signs were there; the doctors think my early thirties. But I had limitations from conception; fused discs, a too narrow spinal canal.
2010. Following multiple mis-diagnosis I end up in A&E, spend considerable time in hospital, ending up with my first operation.
2011. My second operation
2014. My third – possibly my last – one lives in hope.
2019. I’m not living the life I imagined but I am living. I wake up each morning to uncertainty. I don’t know how much pain I’ll be in, how mobile I’ll be or what I might be able to achieve. But I’ve adapted. I rely on my strengths: cheerfulness – which used to be fairly annoying but this is the toned down version, tenacity – I refuse to break, I do crack though and my love of music and literature. I’m that determined not to be beaten I’ve written a book and it’s not one wallowing in myelopathy or self-pity. It’s pure fiction: a thriller with romance, crushes, stalking, abduction.
I’m blogging and vlogging. I’m learning how to edit clips. I’m finding a little social media family. My mind is buzzing away trying to find free ways of promoting Random Attachment. I’m editing The Rebirth of Henry Whittle. I’m trying to create a life for myself. I’m not going to get better. I need to work around my disability, not give up.
Sometimes I think how the f**k am I going to get through today. Other days I’m so caught up in my new life I think where the f**k did the time go?
I think my life is going to consist of contrast and contradictions. Realistically I will struggle with my mobility, mental health and general sense of well-being. But life is a gift and adventures are ahead if I can keep mine.
So even though I’m a fifty-one year old disabled woman, I’m going to listen to hiphop and write Young Adult romantic thrillers until I can no longer type…then I’ll just listen to hiphop.