as I walk

the journey to becoming me

scared

Everything is simultaneously great and awful. A year from now, I should be done at Northeastern, prepping for grad school. I’ve narrowed my choices down to three different schools. I fall deeper in love with my wife on an hourly basis. I’m entering into friendships at school. I feel supported by people at church. I’m learning to say “no”. Those are the things that fall under great. The awful though really is awful.

On Monday I went to the doctor for a sick visit and told him I felt like I was falling apart. He looked at the past month of my chart and agreed. Friday I went to my spine doctor and he said he has done all he can for me and I need to have a consult with a surgeon. He marked it as urgent.

I’ve been down this road before. October of 2008 I had back surgery. It was a lengthy and brutal recovery not to mention costly. Just 6 and a half years ago, surgeons removed a portion of a disc that had compressed a nerve so badly it paralyzed my leg. At least then, I was working full time and was able to get short term disability during the recovery. I stayed at my sister’s for about a month after the surgery so I wouldn’t have to deal with stairs. I had a walker – spray painted with flame stickers, a horn, and tassels, because that is the type of friends I have back in Connecticut.

I’m in the middle of a semester that is really challenging me. This is the first time I’ve felt stupid in a classroom, ever. Even when I got a D in geometry, I still understood it, I just didn’t do well. In one of my classes I actually have no idea what is even being discussed. Compound that with a large amount of Norco 10s that I have to take just to be able to make it through the day, I can’t do any amount of analysis on the subject matter.

On Monday, the doctor could very well say that I need surgery, and it could very well be something that I can’t put off until the end of the semester. As it is, I don’t even know how I will be able to walk from the parking garage to class on Tuesday. I am scared. I am scared of the pain. I am scared that it won’t fix the pain. I am scared of the financial toll it will take. I am scared that it will put me behind for grad school. I’m scared that all of this medication is slowly going to kill my liver. I’m scared that I won’t even be able to be home after the surgery because we live at the top of an elevator-less 3 flat. I’m scared that I won’t be able to get in and out of our 2 door civic. I’m scared that I won’t be able to get up out of bed in the morning. Mostly, I’m scared that it will be too much of a burden for my wife to have to deal with. I’m scared that I will find myself in the same position in another 6 or so years.

The closer I get to the appointment, the more intense the pain is becoming. I wake up in the middle of the night to take more Norco and Aleve so that it won’t be excruciating when I have to actually get up in the morning. This pain is deeply affecting my life. I had to quit an amazing job with amazing people that had an amazing starting wage. I can’t concentrate on homework. I haven’t been able to leave the apartment for church in weeks. This is overtaking my life.

I found myself on all fours yesterday morning screaming in pain because I had to get up to go to the bathroom. Tears and snot poured from my face as I tried to stand. I can’t live like this. I can’t put Kelly through that again. I’m willing to do the surgery if that’s what will stop this. I just don’t know how to make it through that though.

I’m scared financially, academically, and logistically.

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