I don't know where this blog post is going to end up, I just need to write. Writing has become my therapy when I didn't even realise I needed some. And I don't really, in the grand scheme of what people deal with in life, I don't think I come close to a case for special treatment. I do however, think we should all find time to think and absorb life and our emotions, the good and the tricky, so writing is how I manage that.
To be fair I've never been the most emotionally stable person, so perhaps it's quite a relief being able to use my tranny-p as a reason for it now. Maybe I'm thinking about emotion a lot because, now I'm past the one year milestone, I'm starting to think 'this time last year I...' a lot.
This time last year I was six weeks post op. I'd been home almost a month and I was still in my euphoric stage, which was sadly set to last only about another six weeks. I was setting my alarm for 5am and (figuratively) jumping out of bed, turning on lamps, lighting candles, brewing coffee, and planning wild, wonderful, risky, crazy adventures, trips and business ideas. I was manic with it and saw everything with a new clarity. My life had just been saved and I didn't want to waste a single moment.
Physically I can't imagine this gave my body the best chance of a quick recovery! But, sleep aside, I was treating my body with the respect it deserved. I cut out sugar completely and I was trying to walk as much as I could. I was absolutely determined to beat all the general timelines for recovery. Not running again until three months post-op? Get out of town.
Then, like with any high, I hit the low. But this hadn't been like any other high, and this low wasn't like any other low. Three months post op I mentally plummeted. I had fits of anger like you wouldn't believe, screaming and screaming into a pillow - why did this have to happen to ME! And I barely went two hours without uncontrollable sobbing and sadness. I'd spent the first three months telling my friends and family I was fine, better than fine, and they were satisfied. And so now, apart from Paul, I felt very alone.
The manic productivity was still going strong, although realistically I'm not sure how productive I actually was, and when I was thinking rationally I knew the things I was thinking weren't real. 'Why did this have to happen to me?' I never think like that, there's no reason this should happen to anybody, what makes me so special. The feelings of desperate sadness were the hardest to get my head around, I had nothing to be sad for, and I was well aware of that.
This went on for another three months before it started to fade, sometimes the sadness still finds me, but for the most part it's a healthy sadness. What happened was sad, it's sad that my donor died. It's cruel that I was hoping for it. I feel ashamed of it. And that takes a lot of getting my head around.
If there's one thing I did to get myself out the other side of the low, it was running. I know I say a lot how important running is to me. It really is though, it helped to save my life. And during this period it gave me such a focus. Planning each day's training (and when I say training it started as small as a 10 second jog), assessing how each run felt wound-wise, and most of all seeing the progress. Having something to measure was so good for my soul. Not to mention how many happy hormones running releases.
This time last year I think I'd just done my first run (the 10 second jog), a year later I've just beaten my pre-transplant parkrun PB, from 21:02, to 20:37. What a liver this must be!
I started off this post not knowing what I was about to write, and I'm not sure what I've achieved, except that I already feel an awful lot better just for getting some thoughts and memories out. My transplant happened to me so suddenly, my poor brain didn't have a moment to comprehend what was going on. It took me a year to realise how much recovery a brain needs from that sort of trauma, so I'm being an awful lot kinder to it at last. Manic productivity worked for me at the time, now starting the day a little slower, with some writing, some coffee, some sofa and burying my bare feet into the shaggy rug, is working pretty nicely...for the most part.