Help me up
Taking pictures, laughing, joy filling me up,
As the music rushes over me in the form of a rap.
But it’s getting late
I need to get ready for bed.
Then- the world fades to black
As I lift up my head.
The pain in my shoulder blades feels like blades of its own.
The hot fiery burn makes me wish I was instead going to drown.
I’m stuck in bed, I can’t get help.
Tried to roll but was stuck in a vice.
I’ve tried to yell but to no avail.
Tears of anguish are filling my eyes.
This hell lives inside of me
Preying on the best days.
Turning the time of my life
Into but a dark misty haze.
There are times they laugh about
That I don’t even remember.
Too busy staring through the spots,
Uttering a pleading prayer.
God why would you give me something like this?
Something I can’t even understand, much less fix?
Over time I’ve become twisted, curved, and pleading.
The bones of my body begging for mercy, my muscles grieving.
They can fix my bones, fuse my spine with metal sheathing.
But what about my soul that is still aching and screaming?
God, I can’t even begin to explain.
All the frustration, anger, and pain.
It’s become so much a part of me,
That it may as well be my name.
Why would You give me an unsolvable puzzle like this?
Why would You show me something that makes no sense?
You show me things that make my world so much brighter,
Then I have days that make all else crumble and shatter.
Why would You give me this?
Why am I here?
I don’t understand it.
Absent is Your voice I still strain to hear.
Now I’m on the floor.
I tried to move but fell to my knees.
My tears are on the wood,
And the walls echo my screams.
But You still can’t hear me?
I’m begging, I’m pleading.
I’m stuck in this position,
Frozen in place, my heart weeping.
My father walks past my door, deaf to my pleading.
My mom doesn’t hear her phone, already sleeping.
My brother sees my texts, but his girl is on the phone…
So I’m still on the floor. Stuck, crying, and alone.
Out of all the people that have left me behind,
I knew God would never leave me in the darkness of my mind.
But with these demons, shadows,
And anxiety surrounding me…
I feel abandoned and helpless.
All alone, I have stopped believing.
This was written on October 7th. 15 short days before my surgery. At this point, I had three curves in my spine. The worst was mid 70 degrees. The damage and pain it was doing to my muscles is indescribable. I had already had my preoperative appointment a few days back, and the x-rays were horrifying to say the least. Surgery had been scheduled for a couple months. I was excited, and terrified. I had no idea what was going to happen. My life was about to be turned upside down. But this night is what sealed the deal for me to be ready for whatever was thrown my way.
It had been a good day, not a lot of pain (one of very few days like this), and that night I was laying on my back on my bed texting my friend. We were having fun, but it was getting late. As I tried to get up, my vision blacked out because of pain between my shoulder blades. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe, it just covered me. I called my mom for help getting up, like I had done before. I heard her phone ringing in the living room. But she was already in bed and already asleep. I texted my brother, knowing he was awake, but he was on the phone with his girlfriend and never saw or read the message until later. I tried to roll out of bed, but fell to my hands and knees instead. I screamed when I landed. I knew I was in trouble. I couldn’t get up. I was stuck on the floor. My phone was on my bed, and I was just barely able to reach it. I called my mom 6 times, hoping to either get my brother’: attention or hers. My dad actually got up, but my door was closed and he couldn’t hear me scream for help. I was still texting my friend, freaking out and asking what to do. He almost called 911. But I was lucky, and my dad had woken my mom up when he got up. I called my mom one more time, and she went to go get it. I screamed “mom!” As loud as I could when she was passing my door. She came in my room, and yelled for my dad to come help. They helped get me up, and I was safe and I was okay, but I continued to cry for over an hour.
I felt so lost, abandoned, and I had made myself sick from screaming so much. And that night, at 12:30 in the morning, is when I wrote this poem. The only person who I ever let read it was the friend I had been texting that night. But last Thursday, I was reading my mom some of the other poems I wrote. I read her this one. Her jaw was dropped, and I thought she was upset because of how depressing and gut wrenching it was. My poems are pure raw emotions and thoughts I have, and most of them are very dark, since I turn to poetry usually when I’m in a dark place. But she wasn’t upset at all. She told me that I needed to share this poem, because of the thousands of kids and scoliosis patients like me who felt like this and couldn’t describe it. Who never had a voice. She told me that my poem could be their voice.
Scoliosis is everywhere. Their are infants, kids, and adults with this problem. I was lucky, and I had spinal fusion (I got titanium in me now!), but the three years I had to deal with this before surgery was horrible. The days leading up to surgery was the worst. And there are people in this world, silent, but have these feelings and this pain. It’s real.
I am real.
I am a voice.
I am a hope.
I got up.
I can walk, I can run,
I can dance, I can sing.
But only a few months ago,
I couldn’t do any of these things.
A few months ago,
I was stuck on the floor.
Pleading and screaming,
Hiding behind a closed door.
The worst nights of my life were spent.
My muscles tensed and seizing.
Choking and crying tears of pain,
And that pain wasn’t leaving.
My spine was twisted,
This pain became my life.
But I put in a smile for them,
And my tears, I would hide.
Then my help arrived,
My knights in shining blue scrubs.
My therapists, nurses, and doctors,
My angels sent from God above.
They helped me through my hardest of hard days.
They understood the words I couldn’t bear to say.
The most scared I’d ever been.
The most terrifying day.
But the nurses held my hand,
And I knew it’d be okay.
One nurse sang me to sleep,
Another asked about my year.
One doctor made me laugh.
Talking about memories I hold dear.
Drifting down into a deep sleep,
Then I was with Him and kind boy I once knew.
They held me in my dreams,
They were the ones who carried me through.
When I saw my parents again,
I felt so happy and safe.
I texted my friend that I was awake,
And in all caps he texted back “HEY!”
It couldn’t have gone better.
The first day wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t bad either.
Because of the people by my side, Things were a thousand times easier.
I was texting and drawing,
Calling my people immediately.
I talked to my best friend,
Who burst into tears when she heard me.
They all made sure to keep me occupied.
Keeping my mind off the pain,
Until I drifted asleep before even saying goodbye.
In the night, every two hours they woke me up.
But it wasn’t a bad thing.
I got to spend time with my favorite night nurse,
So I didn’t mind not sleeping.
The second day I got to put on pajamas,
And even walk out to see my excited family.
Sitting in a wheelchair with my guitar in hand,
I made a waiting brother a bit more encouraged and happy.
That was the day I made my decision.
This was home, the place to which I was called.
To make this long journey a little easier
For the families upon which hard times had fallen.
I was the luckiest kid on my floor
My nurses’ “miracle child”.
But for that I will give credit to God
And best people ever by my side.
That night I got to shoot pool
And walk around with my mom.
Being chased by nurses,
Laughter ringing through the halls.
Day three and I was leaving
With a happy and heavy heart.
We actually had a good time,
And I didn’t like having to part.
But I had a warm welcome coming home.
My brothers stood by my side.
The people who I missed the most,
I was so happy I almost cried.
Two weeks later,
Beginning to dance again!
Smiling comes more easily,
And I have far less pain.
My scar is silent and small.
My fear of being marred is gone.
My mark is to show my strength,
My prize of war to show I’ve overcome.
I begin to push the limits.
A month later and I’ve got the all clear.
Now I remember the life I had before.
No more restrictions, and no more fear.
A few months ago I couldn’t get up.
Stuck on the floor in fear, tears, and pain.
But now I rise, despite the odds,
And above this weakness and fear, I will remain.
At this point, about three years after being diagnosed with scoliosis, I felt hopeless. I never had a day without pain. And I thought it would always be this way. That was a very depressing and harmful thought to be reminded of every day.
But then I was sent to Shriners Hospital for Children in Greensville, South Carolina. And that was the best decision we could have ever made. They are absolutely incredible people, outstanding doctors and fantastic nurses. They helped me every step of the way, and for the first time in a very long time, I had hope. After surgery, they made it so easy to take those steps. And since then, I am now dancing, playing the violin and guitar, singing, working out, and moving, without pain, and that is something I couldn’t do before. It sounds really dramatic, but its true. The difference it has made in my life is indescribable. The difference they have made in my life is indescribable. I’m happy. And before this surgery, that is something that I couldn’t say from day to day. It was effecting my emotional health as well, and I was sunk in a deep depressed, helpless, abandoned, and hopeless cocktail of feelings that wasn’t being taken away. It couldn’t be taken away. Not while I was still living in that pain.
But now I am happy. I’m changed. I’m inspired, creativity spurred into hyper drive, and I have hope.
Sometimes… It isn’t a physical pain that can effect us like that. Life is hard, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. We all go through things that are painful. Things that we don’t understand. We can feel lost, abandoned, and hopeless. And these feelings are invalidated far too much. But just know that you aren’t alone, you are not abandoned, and whatever situation you are in is never hopeless. There are many poems and drawings I have, that were my way of coping with the pain until I found healing in Christ, the people around me, and in my art and writing. But before that, I was stuck facing things I didn’t know how to overcome. The anxiety monster that no one wants to talk about. The dark feelings and thoughts we just shove farther back into our mind. But to heal, to grow, to have hope… We have to face these things. If we had let the scoliosis sit, it would worsen and create more pain. But once I got help, and we were able to find a solution to the problem, I began to heal. I began to grow. And hope and happiness began to bloom. Its not an easy road. I won’t lie to you and tell you it is. It takes strength. Sometimes it takes strength you didn’t even know you had. Sometimes it takes weakness, and vulnerability, and a willingness to allow people to stand by you, even when you don’t want to, so they can support you on your search for what will help you heal.
Know that you aren’t alone. You’re never alone. You are not abandoned. And whatever situation you are in, it is never hopeless.
My journey is not over. Its not gonna get easier. I’m going to continue to struggle. I’m going to have things thrown in my way. Things I won’t understand. Things I’m going to hate facing. But through all of that, I know I’m not alone. I know that with the bad, there is also good. With the pain, small blessings and wisdom will follow.
I will grow in blood, sweat, and tears.
I will grow in pain, sadness, and loss.
I will grow in laughter, joy, and victories.
I will grow.
My journey is just beginning.
And that, my readers, is my hope.
Off on an adventure,