The calmness of my day

Today I was theoretically meant to be out of the house for over 11 hours. I had just about space to write everything down in my diary, and had to meticulously schedule each portion of my day in order to cope with where I was meant to be at each time. I sorted out a packed lunch including cold chicken goujons and potato wedges cooked yesterday. I got my tea ready in the morning.

And so it began, brisk walk to Founders to get a lift to Virginia Water to sign a tenancy agreement to drive back to have coffee in Crosslands to go on to my seminar to go to a skills workshop to go to an induction to grab some more food to head out to Orchestra to come back home and cook and eat to then Skype my friend and go to bed. Much stress, yes?

Except it wasn’t. I was stressed on Tuesday, I was a bit stressed this morning, but once I got going I just wasn’t. I could cope with the day and the busyness. And I think I have worked out why. You see, I was praying last night. Yes, PRAYING to God for the ability to cope and succeed with my day, not to stress and be calm. And it worked. It really worked. And that was something I wanted to explain to the people who saw me full of energy earlier despite my complaints of potential stress made on Tuesday. (Also God fixed it so that my schedule was not quite as full on!)


I am Titanium

I don’t know if you have ever heard the song Titanium by David Guetta, but I particularly like it. It’s probably under the genre of dance/house music, but not massive bass or anything – the sort of music I would like to hear when I’m out (which is barely ever). BUT, I did go out last night with Jess and Amie, for the History and Classics takeover at the Student Union – ALTHOUGH NO ONE WAS IN COSTUME! So, lesson for you, people don’t take notice of themed nights…

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the SU, and we initially were going out for the History Society Pub Crawl beforehand (but due to lateness, slow speed at eating food, and general lack of interest, we didn’t make it). We then planned to join the pub crawl at the final venue, but in the end just went straight to the Union, mainly cos it was cheaper before half 10 and quite empty. The crowding of the venue is what really gets me; I’m not great with crowds of people even without having a scar on my back. “Oh but your scar doesn’t hurt” is a true statement, but I’m more worried about people bumping it and also my nerves are still a bit messed up so a tiny spot or something can spread discomfort over an entire area. And then you have the bass. The music when we arrived was absolutely rubbish, basically all bass, and you can REALLY feel it. Luckily in getting there early we managed to claim a sofa and just sat down for a fair while, as well as actually being able to go to the bar (and coming from Brighton, drinking at the SU is VERY cheap comparatively, although they seem to have a problem with non-alcoholic drinks supposedly).

Anyway, back to feeling the bass. Having had surgery at 16, I have absolutely no idea how a normal person feels when in a crowded room with heavy bass, but I can really feel it in my spine. To be honest it is more in my lower back, where I don’t think I have any metal, but I wonder whether the metal has an effect. Because, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I am literally Titanium, the other reason why I love the song. I have Titanium rods in my back. I am Titanium.

That would’ve been a great place to end my blog, but I feel I should briefly summarise the rest of yesterday evening. We did manage to find Clem in costume when we arrived, which made four of us! One of my flatmates arrived a hour or so after we got there, another one arrived about an hour after that, bumped into another one as we left. Jess’ flatmates arrived at some point, we saw some other people on the course, and said hello to the CU setting up for Club Mission. And of course we ended the night with free water and doughnuts courtesy of them! Even though none of us were drunk, we were thirsty and hungry (with it being the middle of the night), and we were able to chat about our experiences of Club Mission and how cold it is! After all that, we returned to mine, had cups of tea, and then gratefully went our separate ways and climbed into our respective beds. And let me tell you, curling up in bed was great.

Oh, and here’s Titanium!


Because we are adults

I was sitting here, getting ready for bed, and just really wanted to blog. I have had a most pleasant evening (and indeed day) in which we have suddenly accepted that we are adults. We saw a house, and I’m not going to say much about that because of reasons, but we were just walking through and were like “wow, guess this means we’re adults now”. And then didn’t ask any questions because we were very overwhelmed (and realised just before we went in that we are all socially awkward and anxious people). But, anyway, after that we went to Tesco, because we are adults, and bought whatever we walked past and particularly wanted, because we are still children inside and didn’t bring lists. And while we were in Tesco someone suggested we watch The Devil Wears Prada and, because we are adults, we thought, yeah, it’s only half eight and we have the evening ahead (and body clocks are broken). So we watched the film, and now I am about to go to bed.


Post-operative anxiety

So, there are a whole load of things I want to share, but the other day I went to visit my cousin and discovered a very interesting fact about post-operative anxiety. Yes, it’s a thing. I was not aware, but post-operative anxiety is a recognised condition. And it was something they experienced after their daughter had her tonsils out. OK, so their daughter is four, so that means she will have had a different level of understanding of what is happening. For example, anxiety manifested itself in not wanting to sleep, which is understandable as the operation starts with being put to sleep. But surely someone older, such as myself, would be able to separate the induced sleep of the operation from the normal state of sleeping? Well, yes, I expect so, but the subconscious is an odd thing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a manifestation of post-operative anxiety in any age group.

Anyway, seeds were sown, and I did a bit of research on post-operative anxiety. It’s not something they talk about in the pre-op so I wanted to see how much of a big thing it really is. There is very little official evidence of this being common – nothing on NHS Choices, and the main hits being forums or very confusing studies of postoperative pain (some albeit with anxiety thrown in). Add in post-operative depression however, and a few more useful sites come to light. This article is probably the best: http://www.alternet.org/having-surgery-what-you-need-know-about-post-operative-depression. It attributes post-operative depression to “disappointment in the outcome of the surgery and a response to physical changes such as stitches or scars as well as resulting feelings of vulnerability and fear”. Now I would say in a way I experienced aspects of all of these to some extent, although I was very pleased with the outcome, just slightly annoyed by the small lump existing at the top of my scar. The vulnerability was especially prevalent – it’s in a way a very invisible procedure and I think I felt that people wouldn’t understand if I pushed myself to do something and then suddenly withdrew.

I wrote briefly back in August about the anxiety I experienced in early 2013 (https://afterscoliosis.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/anxiety/) but didn’t really think that post-operative anxiety was normal. I don’t recall having extreme problems sleeping, and, with the nature of my operation, problems I did have I just credited to discomfort. But now I feel like maybe my anxiety was more normal than we all thought!

Not sure how this post should end, so I will leave you with a few more useful website I found, as well as some really complicated research! Good for any scientists reading, maybe? (Not you Sunny)









[After Scoliosis] About – Why I absolutely love this subject line

So, over the last month, I have received a few emails with the subject “[After Scoliosis] About”. Sounds boring, right? But you know what, getting emails entitled this is one of the most exciting things in my life. You’re probably thinking this makes my life sound very dull, and you might be right, but the reason that I receive these emails is because people read this blog and want to contact me about it. I won’t go into details of what people have said, but it is really touching to hear from people going through the same thing. I make a point of replying to comments I receive (so if you’ve used the contact form then check your emails!) and I am very happy for you to reply to me in return!

That’s pretty much all I wanted to say really, so thank you!


To the new reader of my blog

Hello to you all, but especially to one particular person. I don’t know who you are, although I know that I potentially know you because today’s referrals are from Facebook. You can do quite a lot with stats nowadays, and so an hour or so ago I can see that my blog got 32 views. On delving into the stats page, I can see that they are likely to be from the same person, as my visitor count is pretty low. But, you know what, whoever you are, you have made my day. And that goes for anyone reading this blog, because every view is someone else taking an interest and hopefully gaining knowledge about scoliosis, and potentially I am helping. However, it would be lovely if you let me know who you are via the contact form in the about page, because I’d love to get feedback and tell you personally how much you made my day!


Article published in The Founder

So, back in the last week of term in December, the student newspaper The Founder was published. I spent the first half of the week swinging past the Student Union searching for the new copies, on one occasion bumping into flatmate George, who was doing the exact same thing. On 10th December, our wait for the new edition was finally over – and it was a good read for us both. Of course the whole Wednesday days off thing meant that I collected two copies, being the person in the flat who actually gets up before midday, and read mine before anyone else got up. I then rather aggressively tried to get George to get up because the paper wouldn’t fit under the door (sorry!). But anyway, what I’m trying to say is that we both got our articles published.

My piece was entitled ‘Addicted to Insanity Radio’, and was basically me talking about how good Royal Holloway’s student radio station is. I won’t reproduce that here but I wanted to elaborate on my love for Insanity and extend this to other student radio broadcasts that I have had the pleasure of listening to. I started listening to Insanity itself properly after a friend got a show on Sundays at 11pm – I tried it out on a Open Day beforehand but didn’t realise that no presenters were awake in the mornings and they just played music. After a shout out battle with George, I became a devout listener of the show and continue to text in for shout outs every week.

However, after going home for the school evening of celebration, I discovered some more student radio stations, namely Burst Radio at University of Bristol, courtesy of Patrick Thomas and his radio show. After submitting my Founder article the previous weekend, I was buoyed up on my enjoyment of Insanity, so I put Patrick’s show in my diary and listened in. Good music, chat, and references to the evening of celebration made it a really great listen and so I kept tuning in each week. I also stumbled across the fact that someone else I knew from school had a radio show, this one on Nerve Radio from Bournemouth University. Neither of these quite measured up to Insanity (do any student radio stations have normal names!?), but I did begin my quest to be shouted out on many radio stations, getting a shout out on both shows to add to the many I already had from Tanyel and Katie on Insanity.

Student radio is a great thing to listen to, and I assume be involved in, and I really hope it continues. I will end this post in the same way as I ended my Founder article – if anyone reading is involved in Insanity and wants to get me to pop into the studio, I would be most grateful!

'Addicted to Insanity Radio' piece published in The Founder

‘Addicted to Insanity Radio’ piece published in The Founder