Personal Stories

Real Life Chronic Pain: My First Surgery

November 18, 2022

I wanted to share a conversation I had with my aunt Denise Lankford Carden last night. She asked me why I was not sharing my self, my story and my genuine personality with all of you. To be honest, it came down to fear.

The truth is, I am an imperfect person. But the reality is that our flaws and unique souls are what humanize us and make us so special. So, I committed to her that I was going to start sharing my journey. FLAWS AND ALL! I hope you guys are ready!

The first piece of my journey that comes to mind is the experience of my first knee surgery. I am sure so many of you have similar experiences. I was only 19 and to be honest I was not all that afraid of the surgery and in my innocence I just believed what the doctor said. They know what they are talking about right? lol and ALMOST ALWAYS they actually do!

I remember being nervous about the pain of the procedure but not worrying about potentially having pain long term, being so young and able it just never crossed my mind. One of the funniest things I remember about waking up in recovery is how much I craved that darned apple juice! The nurses actually ran out of the little bottles they had because I drank so many and I remember asking my Doug ( my amazing stepdad) to stop on our way home to grab a bunch more apple juice. I am not sure why I craved it so badly but he was so sweet and got me a gallon of the stuff. This knowledge came in handy for future surgeries (we always came prepared with enough apple juice to feed a horse! lol).

To be honest, the first two weeks after the surgery my memories are a bit of a blur with the medications they had me on. I remember lots of pain and crying but also laughing with my mom and Doug because I was upset that my mom had not made my favorite dish (chicken and yellow rice), ONLY to find out that she had made it for me the day before.

Although there were some funny memories surrounding that time, the truth is that this was the beginning of my chronic pain journey. And I did not even know it at the time. It wasn't until about 8 months later that we realized something was wrong, I was not recovering appropriately, physical therapy was not working like it should, and the pain that I thought was just from my surgery, was persisting in a bad way.

That is when fear, anger and upset started to really set in. The thought I remember having the most (which I know was an unhealthy perspective to have that ultimately harmed me deeply), was how UNFAIR it was that I was 20 years old and my abilities had been taken from me. Somehow, the fact that I couldn't go to the club and dance with my girls anymore, or run around the USF campus (go bulls!), or go to standing events like concerts was so much worse than the pain. Do any of you share that experience?

Obviously my life today looks lightyears different than it did then, and I have found fulfillment, self-love and purpose in my pain. But the journey getting here was... well... ugly and full of pain and misery and anguish and unhealthy behaviors, actions and patterns.

The truth of the matter is that all of our journey's get a little messy from time to time and that is the nature of life. When you see someone speak on a Ted Talk or on a news segment and you are in awe of what they are saying, how they look at the world, or what they have accomplished, it is so important to remember that at one point in their lives, they were lost too. They battled to get where they are today. Just like you might be battling today. Like I still battle sometimes too.

So, my purpose here is to show you what is behind the curtain.Make clear that I am human too, and getting to this place was a bumpy road. I want to share the amazing experiences, and the challenges with all of you. I hope that we get to laugh AND cry together and unite in our support of one another. I also hope that I can learn about you and your journey.

On that note (after my diatribe) hope that you have an amazing day and I would love to hear about any of the challenges, bumps or even some of those funny experiences you remember. DM me using the instagram button below!


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