To make a comeback, you must first experience a setback.
In January, I sat with my orthopaedic surgeon asking for a referral back to my extended-scope physiotherapy practitioner, David, from the pain team, because I was at genuine risk of losing my mobility. Considering I’m only 28, it was pretty scary for me.
I still had a very obvious limp after my surgery, and walking any kind of distance was so painful. But wor David had a plan.
I’ve been working with David since 2016, around 6 months after my fibromyalgia was diagnosed. He is a physiotherapist primarily but he knows how I work. Exercise isn’t particularly great for me, partly due to the fibromyalgia, but partly down to the demands I put on myself and the effects of that – basically I go too hard too soon and really struggle to pace myself.
We began setting goals in January. I wanted to get back to my volunteer post at the hospice, I wanted to do more with my time, and I wanted to spend less time in my damn house.
I returned to the hospice in March, with limitations (no carrying trays, mostly morning coffee shifts which are 1.5 hours) and I also began volunteer training with the local children’s centre so I could get involved there. It’s been nice getting out and seeing people, making new friends and being outside my home.
I’ve had a rough month with little crappy things going on. About four weeks ago I made a tough decision, and the fallout has sent ripples through my life, and so I also decided to take a bit of a break from social media. Not a total break – just cutting back.
Last Friday, I went to my appointment with David and we had a chat about how things have gone, about where they are going, and about what happens next. For all I am still disabled, and that is permanent, I am beginning to get elements of my old life back – the life I had before Jack’s autism and my pain made me put everything on hold.
I feel valued in my life, in my community, by my friends. While my mental health isn’t immaculate, it never has been quite right. I guess I never actually believed I’d be an adult, be 28 and so I didn’t plan this far ahead.
And so each day I’m just playing it by ear. Even if all I do is put one foot before the next, I’m moving forward. I’m saying NO when I’d previously say YES, and saying YES when I want to reflexively say NO.
It’ll be ok. I know it is OK if things aren’t OK, but I think they will be, in time.
Tomorrow is a very special day: Day One of the Grand Comeback. The relaunch/rebrand of Stephanie Ward. And I can’t wait.