Remember that book I was working on writing? I let it sit, untouched, from September 2013 until December 2014 when I gave it to my friend Jan Perry to read and clean up. She was my second reader.
It’s about 60,000 words and 162 pages and is about two-thirds of my story. It is complete up to May 7, 2012 which was the day of my transplant. My plan is to write either through the first year of recovery or at least through my first cycling accomplishment 4 and a half months later.
The surprising thing, now that I have picked it up again and am rewriting and editing, is all of the emotion that is coming back to the surface. That’s probably therapeutic but it’s also pretty painful. Honestly, I’d rather forget.
Last night I woke up in the middle of a nightmare that was recurring after my surgery but has not visited me in about a year. In it, I see myself lying on a steal table with an apparatus on over my nose and mouth with an anesthesiologist leaning over me. There is a team of at least a dozen people in blue medical gowns, blue skull caps. bright blue rubber gloves covered with vibrant, red blood. They all have green masks over their mouths and wear small, bright lights on their foreheads.
I see the light reflect off an over- sized scalpel and then feel an incredibly sharp pain and tugging while the surgeon cuts across my belly. I try to scream, “Stop! I can feel that!” but I cannot move. I cannot speak. And then I wake up in a pool of sweat with my heart racing. I spend the next 20 minutes in self-talk trying to calm myself.
It is so very real that I have to tell myself that it did not really happen. In my mind I know I did not feel anything but, still, part of me doubts, “did I wake up during surgery?” I know I do not even remember being wheeled in. I have no memory of a breathing tube, no memory of my family greeting me in the recovery room and no memory of the first day in the hospital. My liver transplant survivor friends tell me it is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is common among us.
I want to complete my book as an encouragement to others living with chronic illness. I still believe that God led me to journal my journey for a reason. But, now that I have budgeted my time to include writing once again, I am not liking the memories. I want to push the emotion down and bury it. But, is that healthy? I don’t know.
I don’t know if my manuscript will ever see book form. Will I self-publish or shop publishers? I have no idea. All I know right now is that I have to finish it. I have to push.
Sometimes pushing hurts. This hurts.
Each time he said, “No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am; I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities. 2 Corinthians 12:9 TLB