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Hi, all -
It's been a while since I was on here. A close friend reminded me to check back in with you (the Forum) when I called her tonight in tears, so here I am.
My fusion surgery (T2-S1) was summer 2017, and after that I had hand surgery and then foot surgery, so I took the whole year off from teaching and focused on recovering. Now I've returned to work, and I'm feeling slammed by the reality of what has happened: I have a completely different body now -- or so it feels to me -- and every single one of my old teaching habits (from 32 years of teaching!) is out the window. A new me has to walk up the three flights of stairs to my office; a new me has to try to write on the board without being able to turn to look at the students; a new me can't distribute handouts without feeling stiff and robotic, physically. It's horrible. Nobody at work (especially administration, but also colleagues) has any idea what is happening with me, so they are pushing me to just pull myself up by my bootstraps and do the same duties and jobs and tasks that I have been doing at this particular school for the last 17 years! I also have bulging discs in my cervical spine and considerable neck issues, so basically everything feels "off." I was an athlete before my fusion, and now I have saddlebags on my legs that look like they were transplanted from some other person. It's bizarre, and scary, and depressing. And I feel very alone with it, as none of my colleagues understands anything about this. I do have friends who are incredibly compassionate, and they listen and comfort me, but they don't really know what it feels like to have my "real" body taken away and an alien body installed in its place.
HELP! I guess I'm seeking words of wisdom from others who have experienced or are experiencing what I've described above. I realize that I am still grieving the loss of my "real" self (the grief comes in waves, and maybe it never ends...?), but that realization is only mildly helpful. I'm starting therapy again tomorrow, so that's good. But is there anyone out there who feels like their body ISN'T their body???