Following on with the previous blog, where I mentioned I am finding getting back to normality is proving to be a challenge (I think it was last Friday), all I can say the general feeling hasn’t really changed.
I am absolutely fine physically. I am in no pain, I can eat as normal as before, my breathing – at least at the moment – couldn’t be better. I am back at work and am getting on well despite my voice resembling that of E.T. rather than anything properly audible. I am enjoying the occasional laughs with colleagues and patients. I have even been out if only for a meal. Admittedly I do feel rather fatigued the moment I am able to sit any longer than 10 minutes, but while I am busy with whatever it is I am fine. So then why do I feel so beside myself still? So out of sync?
Amazingly I am finding it increasingly difficult dealing with being asked ‘So how are you now?’. Considering I have created a Facebook group for my operation AND writing a blog about my dealings with it all it seems somewhat of a paradox. It is said that as human beings we tend to “lie” roughtly 200 times per day (though how true this is, is not truly evident statistically. But internet is great for any kind of information). These lies are mainly ‘little white lies’. Right now I feel I am breaking the bank in terms of “lying“. I don’t feel well, at least not within myself. But I can’t really say that to everyone who walks through the door, can I? For one, during my working day my patients have taken time out of their hectic life so the last thing they want to hear while they are getting their teeth cleaned is a tearful hygienist rambling on about how mentally traumatic the most recent medical experience has been. And secondly, do I really want all of my patients to know that of me? Or other random strangers? No, I don’t actually. So I ‘man up‘ (and here we have that lovely punch-worthy phrase again) and deal with these situations as professionally as I can.
This also leads to people close to me having to deal with the emotional me much more than I and most likely even they are used to. I have been told I am much quieter within myself than before I had the operation done, and not just because I am not really able to communicate at the moment. I feel it also. And I have no idea how to deal with this me, that is as lethargic as this. I know it is technically still early days. And I have not been, nor am I expecting to be walking away from this all light and gay as though all I had done was a course of spa treatments. But this? I feel so far away from myself it is gruelling. I feel all I want is to hybernate, withdraw and be emotionally nurtured.
Yesterday at work I felt a fairly strong and unusual urge to go home, so much so that I was actually in tears. And by that I am not talking about leaving work, getting in the car and driving back to the house. As comfortable as I am here in the UK, and as much as I love it, my ‘home‘ is not here. My family is all in Germany. Being on my own, I have no one here to say ‘let me take care of this‘ or ‘don’t worry, I’ll do that‘. I am aware this blog seems very contradicting to my last, and yes, while I have this need to get back to normality, I also have this want, this desire to be looked after at the moment. The trouble is, I am not really able to pin point exactly in what way, but most likely like a child being held safe it its mother’s arms. Pretty ironic that a 32 year old woman with a child herself should experience such a desire. I guess with all the stresses and strains we have to deal with as adults it seems only too normal to want to fall back into the security of what once was when we were young. At least occasionally.
I am struggling to cope with my missing voice. My biggest concern is how temporary or permanent this actually is. The decision to go ahead with the reconstruction was definitely the right one to make in terms of the medical perspecitve. But at what cost? That is what I am asking myself a lot at the moment. Again, I know it is early days, very early actually. The initial follow-up was positive in the fact that according to the doctor who had a look onto my vocal cords both of them are showing signs of movement. And the consultant said it could take upt to three months for things to recuperate. But for some reason this subconcious worry is not ceasing for the past nine years I have had to live with a voice that wasn’t mine, taken from me during an operation to do with this condition. Since then I have been trying to block out the fact that I have been missing my voice by saying things like ‘Hey, I can breath, that’s the main thing so it’s a small price to pay‘. Well, it’s not. It’s a bloddy high one. To think that there is the possibility that my voice will not improve to the level it was before (and I am not talking about pre-ISS but pre-reconstruction, because by God, from where I am at the moment I’d be happy if it were possible to reach that again) is scaring me to death. I think it is quite underestimated how vital it is being able to communicate properly. By that I mean the simplest of things such as random small talk with someone you happen to bump into. Or ordering a drink when going out. This vocal barrier makes you feel like an outcast because you find yourself avoiding any situation with even the remote possibility of backround noise louder than off-peak traffic in the country. And what’s worse, you always try and make light of the situation just so you yourself don’t get any more depressed about it than you already are.
Yes, I am not myself. I feel unwell. I am out of sync. I hate it. This is not a me I like. But I guess I will have to be kind to this awkward me, probably nurture it to a state of well-being again. If I am lucky, before too long I may get this me back to the way it was before all of this. That thought is an uplifting one.