“I felt as though I wasn’t talking to a person; I was talking to a screen, a shell of someone I once knew”
Back in London and with only a few weeks to go until the operation I was feeling incredibly drained both physically and emotionally. I felt weaker and weaker and I was permanently operating at fifty percent.
I quite literally needed a shoulder to lean on and very often a simple hug.
It was a strange period where it felt like I was surrounded by ghosts – everyone was just a blank screen to me. It was clear that people were putting on a front with me and were hiding how they truly felt about everything that was happening. They were not allowing their real thoughts, fears and anxieties to come to the surface for me to see. I could only presume they thought they had to put on a brave face; keeping up the appearance of being strong in order to be there for me. However, nothing could have been further from the truth of what I actually needed and put even more of a barrier between us.
I couldn’t get anything out of anyone which made me feel more alone. I felt as though I wasn’t talking to a person; I was talking to a screen, a shell of someone I once knew – like they were ghosts.
I kept thinking that I wished they would just scream if they needed to. Punch, cry, yell, say, do whatever they wanted. I needed feelings and emotions. I wanted them to tell me how they felt not present this false shadow. I wanted them to show me they were human, show me who they were so we could do this together by helping each other. I wanted them to be honest and break down if they needed to. I could handle that; I could handle them being real.
I concluded I would have to work this one out on my own.
There was only so much advice anyone could have given me. It was having the choice of operations that made it so hard. A friend of mine commented: “you wouldn’t wish that choice on your worst enemy; it’s such a decision I can’t even begin to imagine.”
I wasn’t in a situation where they could say ‘this is the case and this is what we’re going to do about it and you’ll get better’. I was given a choice and I had to work out what was going to be right for me.
It’s an almost unfathomable decision until you are given it; it meant deciding what sort of life I may have after the operation, depending of course on how the operation went. I had to base my answer on unknown factors. What was life going to be like and what life did I want?
I arranged to see people as and when I could, generally during the day as I was too wiped out in the afternoon and evening. I was and still am grateful for the loving friends I had around me who would come to see me. It became quite strange when we were saying goodbye as it could potentially have been for the last time and I had this feeling that I was preparing them for what was coming.