The Surgery Dairies: Surgery, exams and all

So there’s just over a week left of August which means that my posts reflecting on my surgery six years ago in this month are almost over. Thanks for sticking with me so far. Today I’m going to fast forward to when I had the second operation. If you’ve missed anything so far and want to catch up, feel free to do that by clicking here.

The plan had originally been to do both the bone-breaking operation and the muscle-stretching one in the longer summer holidays that I had between finishing my GCSEs and starting Sixth Form, but for various reasons things didn’t happen that way. Surgery Number Two happened during the school year sometime in November.

Having my muscles cut and lengthened was even more tough than I ever thought it would be. When I woke up from this round of going under the surgeon’s knife I was so swollen that my legs practically met each other in the middle, and I was really bruised so much it hurt to sit. Mum told me a looked a little bit like a lump of liver more than once. Cheers, Mother, I love you too.

My feet were in pots and my legs were strapped into something called gaiters because I wasn’t allowed to bend them unless it was to get washed or do my exercises for the first six weeks. I’ve never done them so much in my life, just for an excuse to move my legs. Thankfully this time I was encouraged to stand and do bits of walking (with the gaiters still on). I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to wonder around without bending your knees, but it’s certainly a strange and interesting experience, but one I got used to pretty quickly. I was given a temporary wheelchair that I could use to keep my legs in the right position, but if wanted to sit in an arm chair in the living room, my parents would have to strap them to the coffee because they’d always fall off otherwise.

My school were great. They were really helpful and supportive but I won’t deny that I found keeping up difficult. I tried my hardest to throw myself into the work as much as possible in the first few weeks of term before I went back into hospital, but  was still doing loads of physio, rattling full of pain killers, (some of which made me tired), and still quite sore and achy in general. Concentrating was hard going. I collected as much work off my teachers to do while I was away to keep myself on target for the exams that I would take it January with my operation two months beforehand.  I knew there’d be even more physio, even more tablets, and I’d have to ease my way back into school slowly until I could bear to sit in a chair for long enough to last a whole day. I’d reached the point where I could just about do this after Operation One, but now I was back at square one again.

I took my January exams and they really didn’t go how I had hoped, but they did turn out just as I expected. Thankfully lots of hard work later I managed to pass them (and my next round of exams on top of those) in May so everything turned out well in the end. My second year of A-levels went even better and I achieved more than I ever thought I would. I got far better grades than I needed to get into the university that I wanted. Somehow I got through and that’s what mattered.

I know I’ve talked a lot about school today, but I’ll go into more detail about the impact of Operation Two and my recovery in my next post.