Hello all! Today will not be the end of my timeline like I had previous said, today’s post turned out longer than expected and so therefore the last piece of the timeline will be uploaded on Monday.
Thank-you all so much for reading!
In May of last year my knee began dislocating again and I discovered I needed specialised surgery again costing £10,000. Looking back to the day I found out this surgery would cost such a large amount of money, I thought having the surgery would never be possible. But just 3 months later, because of God and the love and generosity of so many, the money was raised. It seemed like an impossible task at the time, but instead God made it all possible. “We prayed big prayers and God gave us an even bigger answer.”
6th August 2013
Wednesday 6th August was operation day, after all these months of waiting and the high cost of this operation I was nervous. For some reason when an operation is fundraised for I always feel really responsible in making sure the operation is a success. I don’t want to let the people down who have all donated so generously to my surgery.
I still remember that surgery so clearly. I went down to theatre and got an injection into my hip in order to put a nerve block in my leg for 24 hours, I then was given the anaesthetic drugs and went to sleep. Before I go any further I will explain that I was given the amount of anaesthetic to last a long operation. I was having another MPFL reconstruction like before but only this time I was having a donor graft of hamstring through my knee rather than my own faulty tissue.
I woke up from the surgery however and I don’t really remember much until I was back in my hospital room. I remember waking up and saying to mum “I don’t think I’ve had my operation.” Mum thought I was being ridiculous, in fact the idea sounded absolutely crazy. I had no way of telling, there was a bandage on my knee and I couldn’t feel my leg to tell if there was pain, but for some strange reason I just had a strange feeling that the operation hadn’t went ahead.
Sure enough I was right, I did have a minor operation however not the operation intended. The surgeon explained to me that when he opened up my knee he discovered that the graft was actually still intact and that I had extra unusual bone growth which meant I needed a major operation to reshape the bone behind my patella (the end of my femur). Unfortunately I would have to come back in 4 weeks time to have this done as the surgeon needed another doctor in this operation to assist. I was devastated, all this waiting, thinking it was all over, but instead having to come back 4 weeks later to go through an even bigger operation. I stayed in hospital overnight and got back to the apartment in Bristol the next day, I just wanted to go home.
5th September 2013
So 4 weeks later I was back in Bristol and dreading the most extensive surgery I’d ever been through before. I had never been so scared about surgery, I’d already had 9 surgeries by this stage, but this one was nothing like before. This operation is called a “Trochleoplasty,” where my kneecap is removed and all the cartilage is gently peeled off and ligaments moved in order to re-shape the bone underneath and then basically my knee is then all built back into place. I underwent my surgery and sure enough, as warned, the pain was horrendous, the recovery was long and gruelling and I ended up having to wear a leg brace, from the top of my leg right down to my ankle, for a long 9 months. However, praise the Lord, I can now say that although I still have EDS problems weakness due to my muscle problems, that operation has been the best thing I’ve ever had done and the results from it has been amazing, it really was worth all that suffering for such a wonderful outcome.
I think now is the best time to explain something more. When I have any operation, or an operation such as this, generally others believe that this surgery will mean I’ll be able to walk properly, no longer need a chair or any other walking aid. However this is not the case, these operations dramatically improve my quality of life, the side to my life that many don’t see. Having an operation such as this means that I don’t have to constantly relocated my own joints and endure extra pain and suffering. However to the outside world it may seem like things are the same, you may still see me limping or using some sort of walking aid, maybe even my chair. This does not mean the operation has failed, it just means that some of the symptoms of my Ehlers-Danlos has been eliminated, however I still do and still always will have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. These operations mean I’m suffering less and although on the outside people may not be able to see a big difference, behind closed doors my family, friends and I see a dramatic difference, a wonderful difference and so I thank each and everyone of you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who donated so kindly to any of my surgeries.
16th December 2013
Just 9 days before Christmas I had yet another operation (Surgery No. 11) in Musgrave Park Hospital Belfast in an attempt to stablise my right shoulder for the 3rd time. This was another 3rd big dose of anaesthetic within just 5 months and to be honest I really did suffer the consequences of this. But unfortunately just a short 10 weeks after this my shoulder began to give me problem again, it looked like this surgery had been unsuccessful too.
Lately I have been battling in my mind whether to tell you this next part, a part of my life which the majority of you will not know, in fact very few people knew this about me. However the reason I want to tell you is because I want this blog to be 100% honest, revealing the real Carla and my truthful thoughts and I really do feel that if I didn’t tell you this part I really would be a hypocrite. However please bear with me as this is something extremely sensitive to me.
In January I was diagnosed with clinical depression. This may shock some people because many look at me and see someone who deals with everything and nothing ever fazes me. But really at the end of the day I am human, and when someone has been through what I’ve had to deal with over the past 8 years it’s going to catch up with you at some stage. To begin with I couldn’t see that anything was wrong, but now looking back I realised that this had been brewing up from just before my trochleoplasty operation in September.
Another reason why I wanted to share this with you is because I want you all to know that it’s completely normal to “break” like I did. For many months I wrestled in my mind that I must have lost my trust in God in order to begin feeling this way, but that is not true, what God made me realise now is that I simply needed rest. I needed rest from everything, from the world, from my suffering, from these operations and whatever else I was facing. We are not invincible, we are human and so sometimes things like this will happen, but that’s okay because God is there to catch us when we fall and give us the rest we need.
Thankfully I can now say that with the right medication, talking and a lot of strength from God I am now better and I can actually say that God has saved my life. He reached down and pulled me out of that pit of depression and by doing so He rescued me from death.
I am sorry that I may not fully be able to explain depression, but do know that it is not something that you can just “snap out of” like I had thought. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain and so medical help is needed. But none of this is anything to be ashamed of, going through this has made me stronger and taught me that we do need rest, that we all are only human and that it is not good to keep emotions under the surface. Please do not make the same mistake as I did, do not bottle up these kind of feelings and don’t hide it for so long as I did. Open up to someone you trust, don’t be ashamed and realise that it’s okay, God knows you need rest and He is there right by your side.
‘Depression is one of the major health problems of our generation…Christians are not immune for it.’ (Collins and Haynes, 2012).
Some people think that someone can’t both be depressed and also be a true Christian but this is wrong. Many well known Christians throughout history have suffered from depression, such as, CS Lewis and Martin Luther. Furthermore, in the Bible; Elijah, Moses, Job, David and many others all suffered from bouts of depression. Just as we aren’t immune from physical sickness, we also aren’t immune from emotional sickness. This doesn’t mean a lack of faith, in fact many of these people above showed great faith through the darkness.
For anyone reading this and currently suffering all I can say is, trust God and do not give up. You are valuable and loved, God made you in His image and you are precious to Him, keep holding on to God’s hand, you will get through this, one day this suffering will end. Keep trusting God through the darkness and He will get you through this. God hears your cries, He understands, He is near.
‘I am worn out from my groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me all you who do evil, for the LORD HAS HEARD MY WEEPING. THE LORD ACCEPTS MY CRY FOR MERCY, THE LORD ACCEPTS MY PRAYER. All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed, they will turn their back in sudden disgrace.’ Psalm 6:6-10.