Sunday, 11 March 2018

One Year Later

This day last year I was in London having an operation that would affect me in more ways than one; it would bring both positives and negatives. I've struggled to talk about the operation and I find that the longer I leave it, the worse it feels. For some, what I went through mightn't have been a big deal but, for me it was life changing - in ways that are physical and emotional. I'm in a good place with my mental health, however this gets shoved into the back of my mind every time it attempts to come to the forefront. It's as if it didn't happen, or rather as if I haven't accepted that it happened. I'm not writing this as a sob story or to ramble on about some operation - this is as much about me as it is about you. If you've ever grieved, experienced pain or had relationship breakdowns to name but a few and you've struggled to accept them or simply talk about them; this one's for you. Avoiding things and hiding scary reminders at the back of your mind isn't a healthy mindset to have but you're not alone. I'm not here to tell you to immediately start talking about them. You have to be ready. It could take weeks, months or even years but the most important thing is that it's down to you. I'll be honest (not ashamed) and say that I've found it incredibly difficult to talk about my spinal surgery but I feel like this is a good place to start.

The Progress You Make Is Completely Up To You

If I've learnt one thing in the last year it's that hard work and positivity can get you anywhere. I'm proud to say that I worked my little ass off in that hospital last year. I had to learn to walk and breathe like a normal human being again. I felt as if I'd forgotten everything I had learnt in 18 years. The nurses and doctors praised me for getting back on my feet so quickly after two operations. They couldn't believe how positive I was. Why can't I dwell on my positivity instead of the negatives of being in a hospital? I attended rather painful physiotherapy sessions in order to build up all of the muscle that I seemed to have lost. This was followed by regular pilates. I won't lie this took a lot of hard work and discipline but I knew the outcome of these painful exercises could only be a positive one - I persisted. Why can't I dwell on my determination instead of the pain I was experiencing?  If only we could just turn situations around to focus on what's most important. Not the pain, not the trauma, not the struggle but what we've achieved. We're still here and still going - can't we let that be enough? 

I've always loved the sentiment "every scar tells a story" but I never really considered what it would truly be like to own that 'scar'. Yes I have a physical scar running the length of my spine, but also an emotional scar that I'll hold with me forever. When I touch my scar it freaks me out, bringing back all that I went through. While I don't always enjoy this reminder, I'll always be grateful for the lessons it taught me. When I stop to look at how far I've come [how far you've come], I'm really proud of myself and I have every right to be! My story is one of vulnerability but also one of strength...a strength I didn't know was in me. While my story is very specific, I hope it's one that you can apply to your own experiences and struggles - whatever they may be. Things get a little easier everyday. I'm ready to accept it.

I will forever be grateful for the support I received from family and friends, even down to mocking my gain of 3" in height 'over night'. I'm indebted to my consultant and the nurses who took care of me and made me feel safe in the hospital in London, I could never have ask for better care. Also, to the physiotherapist in Belfast who encouraged me and challenged me to realise the strength of my body. This is my thanks to them. 

You can see the start of my journey here  


  1. I had no idea you had gone through all this. Don’t hold it in lovely, your one strong woman ❤️

  2. Really encouraged to see you take pride, strength and encouragement from the incredibly rough journey you have been on and how far you have come. Thank you for sharing what is very difficult to talk about. One brave lady! Best wishes. Neville

  3. So Brave ❤ and so beautifully written.
    Well done Katie
    BW Suzy

  4. Katie even though I don’t know you personally, I am so proud for what you have achieved and all your hard work! At first I was like “hmm, I’m not sure if this post is for me” but I’m so glad I read it now because you made me realise how strong and amazing I really am and rather look at my insane strengths as opposed to my struggles. Simply thank you Katie and I wish you all the best. <3

    Ellie Xx

    1. Aww this is so lovely! So glad it helped you, thank you!x


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