I wanted to talk to you about an issue that I have been thinking about a lot lately. In fact, the thoughts that I am going to share with you seem to cross my mind often. Often I find that I think about the person I used to be before all the water under the bridge, or before I became very ill. Despite my parents constantly telling me that I am still exactly the same girl, and that I have simply grown older, each time I look at the pictures of me in the years, months and weeks leading up to the disaster, I seem to look at a different girl. I feel that I have changed in an almost inexplicable way. I feel that I have lost, or possibly even gained something (apart from the obvious, like a kidney, a new heart and many, many scars) since the ten year old Cissy who was preparing for life-changing surgery (although I wasn’t expecting it to be quite as life-changing as it was – none of us were) smiled into the camera. Sometimes I long to be the old Cissy again.
Everyone changes as they grow older, however, I feel that I have possibly not only changed, but have become a very different person. I think these feelings definitely come along with the fact that so much of my physical body had changed. 5 years ago, I walked normally into the hospital, with working kidneys and working feet and a perfectly normal and clear brain. I entered with a light, unnoticeable scar or “zip” running down my upper chest and an almost invisible scar on my back, not to mention a full head of long, thick, curly hair. I was a healthy child, despite the heart condition, who was able to run, jump, walk, swim and live life to the absolute fullest. I walked in expecting to be made better, not worse: and I mean a lot worse. When I left the hospital, 9 months later, I had no hair, I was confined to a wheelchair with irreversible nerve damage to my lower legs and feet, I had kidneys that were inevitably dying, scars that gave the impression that I had been attacked with a knife, a hole in my neck (from the tracheostomy breathing tube doctors had inserted), and not to mention a NEW HEART! I have overcome some of these problems one way or another, but you could say I am a whole new person, but not necessarily in a good way.
Apart from this, I have changed in my size and shape. In April 2010 I entered the operating theatre in a 10 year olds body. Leaving the hospital almost a whole year later, I had grown up massively. Between the ages of 10 and 11, a young girl grows up remarkably. I wasn’t prepared for this. I still expected to be 10 year old Cissy when I left, and then I just continued to grow, at a rate like never before – and then the insecurity and low self-esteem came along, like it does at some point in every girl’s life. I blamed all the horrible feelings that I was experiencing on what had happened to me, and not on puberty. This made me wish that I was 10 again, I wanted to be the old me again. Little did I know that all girls experience the same feelings that I was.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Therefore, surely I have been through all that I have for a greater purpose. However, I can’t help thinking: what was it all for? I have more problems now than I started with. But it also begs the question, would I be here today if they had left me be? Would my original heart condition have killed me by now anyway? I like to think I haven’t overcome everything in vain. I try to have a positive outlook, but its hard when the me now is almost completely different to the me before. However, I think I now have to accept the fact that maybe I am a new person, physically, and possibly mentally too. Not only have a gained scars, I’ve gained experience, confidence and most of all, an appreciation for life that I never had before. Now that I’ve turned 16, it’s time, after five years of clinging on to the 10 year old, former Cissy, for me to say goodbye to her, and welcome the new me with open arms. I’m a whole new person – I’ve gotta learn to love myself – all of my scars, my shape and size included and stop wishing I was 10 again!
Be proud of who you are. I’m still learning, but hopefully, I’m almost there!
Thank you so much everyone.
Also, I SOLEMNLY SWEAR TO POST MORE OFTEN!
Lot of love,
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