THE MIDDLE (THE WHY)
So what happened after high school? Nothing really. I went to college, still played basketball all the time. I stopped going to my orthopedic doctor who was at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania. I kept going to him until I was about 19. The last appointment I went on my own, and established that I was okay and too old to keep going to him.
Fast forward to when I was about 21, I was having back pain—more than I would have on a normal basis. By this point, I have a high tolerance to pain, so for me to say that it hurts, means it was really hurting. I decided that I would find an orthopedic doctor that I could see an as adult. It was then I met the man who changed my life (my new doctor lol).
In our first appointment we talked about everything—my back, my Master's program, my career goals. In regards to my back, the curve it developed had finally reached surgery territory. He told me that I had a 6 year window. In that 6 years, my curve could continue to get worse and get to a point where surgery was necessary, or it could stay the same. It was gamble, and he told me he wanted to see me back in a year. I went home to think.
My thoughts: I was 21 and in 6 years I would be 27. At that age, I could have a family, a boyfriend or husband, and a job that I would not be able to take the 8 weeks recovery time off. I was currently still on my family’s insurance (which was good and who knows what I would have come 27). If I had it during the summer, my two little sisters would be out of school and my mom could come from Jersey to Philly to take care of me everyday. It’s funny thinking back on it because I was nowhere near close to having a family or a husband, but who knows what could've come up in those 6 years. I will tell you now, I am a planner, so I did not like the uncertainty of not knowing where I would be or what I would be doing. So I planned.
A few months later (in January of 2015), I made an appointment to see the doctor again. I told him we were going to do it. My plan was to finish my Master's program in June of 2016 and then get the surgery afterwards. I didn’t have a job lined up, and I didn’t want to get one to then ask for 8 weeks off right after getting hired. Post graduation was a time that I would take a break from life. I could guarantee that I would have no major responsibilities to take care of on my own (kids, fam, etc). After hearing my plan, my doctor just looked at me. This 21 year old girl came in his office with a plan, and list of questions about the procedure. The nurse joked that even the old patients didn’t come this prepared and I was a year and a half out from the surgery.
My doctor and I followed the plan to a t. He also suggested I try yoga to strengthen my core (I will come back to this point, as it is one of the main reasons we are here). In January of 2016, we picked my surgery date of June 27th, 2016 right after my doctor got back from vacation (this is important too).
As the month went by, I began planning for graduation and with that I had to start planning for surgery. People always joke with memes on social media about getting older and having to take yourself to the doctors because your parents refused. This is a real thing people. I remember I had a fit when my grandmother told me that she wasn’t going to come to my appointment. I was going to ask a bunch of questions and pick the surgery date because my mom was going, but that wasn’t enough because the doctor told me to bring as many people as I could so that we could all listen to the answers and garner as many different perspectives as possible. She came, but leading up to the surgery, I had to take myself to all of the appointments for different scans and check ups.
I think I tried to run away from it. In fact, I kind of did. During my last term, I find out about a study abroad program for another Master's program closely tied to my first one. I HAD to go. The only issue was the program ended the Sunday before my surgery, which was scheduled for Monday I HAD TO DO IT! So graduation was June 9th and 10th, the trip was from June 18th – June 26th and what did I do? I booked a Euro-trip starting June 11th that would take me to meet my study abroad group in Italy on the 18th. Talk about cutting it close.
With a thesis, graduation, graduation party, and my Euro-trip, there left no opportunity for idle thinking about the surgery. That is until I was about to fly home …