Current Mood: sitting uncomfortably

I deal with pain from my spine surgery almost every single day.  It varies - some days it's a dull ache, a constant nagging twinge that makes sitting or standing uncomfortable and distracts me from the moment.  Other times (mercifully, rarely) it's a knife attack, a moment of breath-stealing fury.  Or it becomes the itch behind the scars, hidden beneath dead nerves that I've scratched until I'm bleeding without realizing.  And maybe most insidious, the pain lies dormant during the day only to blossom as I'm winding down, keeping me awake as I toss and turn trying to find a way to get to sleep.

All of them start in my core and get linked to any movement of my body.  Sometimes I can hear the rods bolted to my bones squeaking and it's like nails on a chalkboard in my eardrum turned up to 11. 

But through all of that, it feels like mostly my personal, internal problem.  Sure, my family and closest friends know I've had the surgery, but I work to keep it out of the day to day conversation.  I don't bring it up to new people and I don't use it as an excuse.  Blog post aside, I rarely talk about it* and if I do I make jokes about robot parts and floating like a compass in a pool.  I plan ahead - stretches and bottles of aspirin at home, in my bag, in my work desk, in the car, and in Jenny's purse.  Pretty much any day of physical activity guarantees I'll be sore the next day... is it worth it?  I try not to let it dictate my activity.

You can't really see it from the outside.  I'm just a short dude.  I don't have a hunchback and I don't walk with a limp.  My shoulders are uneven, but you'd be hard pressed to notice.  I have a scar, but it's hidden beneath my clothes and I rarely wear backless gowns.  I don't even usually see it myself - it takes a camera or at least a set of mirrors to even catch a glimpse, which is a conscious effort that I rarely bother with anymore. I live with it every day inside me, stalking me, and if you can believe it sometimes I forget that the scar is there.

So when Jenny told me the other day when I got out of the shower that my scar was starting to fade, I was really confused when that made me angry.  Is it a part of my identity now?  Do I need a trophy to justify how painful it was and is?  Is it a badge of toughness that makes me look stronger than I feel?

Why do I care so much about a stupid scar I don't even want?

*Except to J, she hears about it plenty.


  1. It's part of you. Like my two different sized stiff feet that I don't talk about. It is a badge of toughness.

  2. Didn't know you had mismatched stiff feet (you really don't talk about them!), so soldier on hermano.