Thursday, February 25, 2010

Today I Fell

Today I had a scary thing happen to me and its gonna sound so stupid to you but I fell. I went out to take my dog for a walk and I fell down. This is so scary for me because I have limited mobility and I am unable to brace myself or prepare myself for impact as a normal person does. My arms are hindered by scar tissue. So when I fell I couldn't brace myself properly and really hurt myself tearing some of the scar tissue in my shoulder.

I felt so stupid and so angry that I started crying. I feel like an older person having to be aware of my step so as not to fall and break a hip, well, in my case, tear scar tissue or anything more serious. I hate my limited mobility. It prevents me from doing the simplest of things. I still can't take a shower on my own cause I can't reach up to wash my own hair. My parents have to get a cup down from the cupboard for me so I can get something to drink. Everything in my room is low so I can reach what I need. I still can't put on my own pants or even underwear! because my arms are not flexible enough in the joint to reach down far enough to get my feet through. Do you have any idea how embarassing it is at 28 to have to be completely naked in front of your parent so they can help cream your burns and dress you? You feel so low.

I have even on occassion had to do this with my father because my mother was unable to take me to Portland for a doctor's appointment! Talk about embarassment. Having your father help you put your underwear on. There were even times when I was first released from the hospital and still very weak that I needed help sitting down on the toilet cause I wasn't strong enough in the legs yet to lower myself down. So once again, times when my mother was unable to go down to Portland, I had to have help from my father to be lowered down on the toilet.

I used to be a big runner and work out a lot but I am limited now to just walking because of the scar tissue in my arms prevent me from doing any kind of weight lifting. And I mean I was really big into working out and keeping lean and thin and now I've been reduced to walking.

So be thankful you can do the simplest of things like washing your own hair and putting on your own underwear and pants because there are people out there that can't, and I'm one of them. And I cry a lot.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Needing God and His Presence

I haven't felt close to God in a long time and I so desire having a close relationship with God like so many people I know do. I don't know how they do it. I think part of my problem is I'm still so angry all the time. All the time I'm angry because of what happened. It ruined my life and I feel like God did it to me. He didn't protect me. He just let it happen. And I'm so angry about that.

I have felt so alone spiritually since my accident. I feel alone a lot cause I don't see that many friends either. I isolate myself from people and the world because I just don't feel good enough for anybody and then there's the issues of my scars. Why can't i just get past that? My friends love me for who I am, not what I look like, but I still somehow deep down never feel good enough to be their friend.

I don't feel good enough for God and maybe that's why this happened. I really have a problem with self-worth. I don't find myself worthy of much. At times I don't find myself worthy of this life that I was spared and that's bad. I know that. I just don't like my life right now and with that comes not liking myself. And I try to pray and feel God's presence in my heart but I never feel it and that frustrates me. People tell me to put my faith in God that everything will be ok and that He will give me the strength to get through this. Well why did He have to let it happen in the first place? Just so He can give me that strength? I'll tell you what He did do though, was I look at life and people much different now. I don't see life as so great and wonderful anymore because of the predicament I'm in. I see most all people as beautiful and precious, especially those that are disabled in some way because I can relate. I understand their pain and frustration. I look up to those more "experienced disabled" persons though because they have learned patience and have most of all, learned to put God in their heart. I don't know how to do those things. I'm still learning. But my learning comes to abrupt halts because I get so angry at God and at life.

So here I am sobbing as I write this wishing that I would feel God's presence in the pain that I write today. But I don't. Where are you God? Did you just show up to teach me a lesson and then disappear for me to figure things out on my own? I need your help! I can't do this without You.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Will My Singing Voice Be Saved?

Something very sacred and dear to my very being and life may have been taken from me in my accident: my singing voice.

I was a vocal performance major in College and due to the smoke inhalation damage caused my singing voice is not what it was. It's barely what it was. My diaphram is messed up too. I can't hold my breath for very long making singing and even just speaking in longer sentences a challange.

I worked so hard on my voice. You have no idea what goes into a Senior Recital in Voice in college unless you've done it. It's incredibly hard and you have to practice everyday, numerous times a day to the point where sometimes you lose your voice you've practiced so hard and so much.

I try singing along with songs that I'm listening to and the voice that comes out is one that I don't recognize. It's an untrained voice that sounds like it can't amount to anything even if it were trained. I'm worried by the sounds of my voice when I sing, what I hear, that I will never get back what I had. And I couldn't be more upset about it. I'm a piano player, though I haven't played much in years, and the fire spared my hands and I believe it was so I would play again because I was also classically trained on the piano up to Level 10 syllabus, which is the highest level of piano you can go. But why, why take away what I was truly in love with, which was singing? I honestly don't know if I can train it back and if I can't I will never be the same without it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Retaining Spiritual Guidance

I just had my latest doctor appointment and another expansion done so I'm in a lot of pain right now and it will last for a couple days. So I'm not my best right now. I had to miss my dear friend's birthday party last night and I'm not very happy about that. Im just not very happy all around today.

So right now I'm listening to Jack and hoping that he will calm me down. so far so good. I'm so tired of living at home. I want to be on my own again. I am so longing to have my own place again and take care of myself. I was so good on my own. I really took care of myself. I feel like I don't take care of myself here. I have no inspiration. I feel like I have in no spiritual guidance. I've been reading spiritual books to try and help me out and there's one author who is speaking to me and I've read two of his books so far and i'm on his third. And I feel spiritual inspiriation while i'm reading it but then once I'm done I feel like all of it just goes "poof" and it's gone from my head and body. My life makes starts to make sense and how to make it better when I read him but then once I'm done I feel lost again. I don't know how to retain that spiritual inspiration I get from reading him. But then again, I need to find somewhere else to find spiritual inspiration because I'm gonna run out of his books. I get it from church when I go but once again once I leave I feel like it's left me and i'm back to being cranky and irritable about my situation.

How do I retain spiritual inspiration because I think if I have that in my life, my life will be much better. I'll be able to handle my situation better. Oh please God, help me to retain spiritual inspiration. Help me find it first. Because right now I'm so irritated I can't stand to look at my mother or my father or even myself in the mirror.

I've got even more anxiety on me right now because I just got an email announcing the dates of our high school reunion. It's not until the beginning of August and it's got me all crazy about it. I'm so nervous about it because I want to go so badly but I don't think I'll be going unless some certain surgeries are done by then. I got terrible knots in my stomach reading that email knowing that all my classmates will most likely be there and will look terrific and have great things to say about their lives and what they're doing. I'm so incredibly jealous of their lives; that they never had an accident that changed their life like it has mine. Which brings me again to the question, Why me? I don't understand. I want to go to the reunion as the person I was when I was living my first year in New York. Then I would be more than excited to go and proud of who I was and what I was doing with my life. But that's just not possible.

So how do I find that spiritual guidance I'm looking for and how do I retain it? Because maybe if I could find it and retain it, maybe I could guster up the nerve to go to my high school reunion because I would be ok with myself

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dying of Boredom and Irritiability

How do I fight these feelings of irritability, annoyance, boredom, anger? I am having them all right now and I just don't know how to deal with them. I get cranky and awful to be around. I don't know what to do to occupy my time.

I laid on my bed in my room for a good hour just staring at the wall, fuming with anger and boredom. I have nothing to do. I used to be a big runner and I'd go running right now if I could but I can't. I read almost every hour of the day so sometimes I get sick of reading as well as cross stitching, which I do just as much as reading. I take my dog for walks, not as much as I should or could but I do. And all my scrapbooking is up to date so there's nothing I can do there. But when I get like this I am just so irritable that I can't do anything!

I hate it. I hate this feeling! How do I shake it?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Who am I?

I'm sitting here watching the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda and they have Lady GaGa on and it's got me thinking, who am I? Because she has a definite defined sense of self. She has her characteristics that people can describe her. She's got a solid personality and a solid image. And it's got me thinking who i am.

I'm no sure I even know who i am really. I'd like to be more like Lady GaGa in the sense that she seems to have a solid sense of person and that shows through her sense of style, her make-up, and her music especially. It may be odd, but it's solid and that's gotta be nice. and fun.

As for me, well I don't have a solid sense of style or way I do my make-up like she does, granted it may be odd, i'm not a writer either so I can't express myself that way. I used to be a performer but now I'm a burn victim and that may have been taken from me so what do I have left if I can't perform? That was my life. Will it be taken from me? And if so, then what will make up me then cause I really don't have anything else that defines me I don't think. What defines me? What is my personality and style?

What would someone say in my eulogy? I don't even know where to start myself cause I'm so confused at who I am. I feel boring. Does anyone else feel this way? Does anyone ever think about who they are like I do myself? I wish I had a certain style that people knew was me so if they ever saw something like it, they would say, "Oh that's so Sarah Watterson." I want to have that defined sense of self. I want to be exciting. I want to do exciting things. And like I said before, I just feel so boring. Who am I? I feel like I'm nothing but a burn victim now. And that's the last thing I want to be.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Split and Full Thickness Grafts

I thought I'd explain the differences between split thickness grafts and full thickness grafts since I speak of them often.

A split thickness graft is where they shave off, like peeling a potato, a layer of your skin, this becoming what is called "the donor site." Split thickness grafts hurt incredibly bad let me tell you. Split thickness grafts are more often used because there is lower risk that that the body will reject the graft.

Now there are two different kinds of split thickness grafts. There is one where they shave the skin off and run it through a machine that punches holes in the skin called a meshed graft and giving a "designed" look on the skin where it was grafted. Those diamond-like shapes heal into the skin and stay that way. And then there are split thickness grafts that are not meshed.

Full thickness grafts are where they actually cut away all the layers of your skin and are then stithed back up. In a split thickness, there is no stitching required. However, a full thickness runs much greater risk of the graft being accepted by the body. Full thickness grafts also leave smaller scars on the donor site.

In order to remove the thin skin slices and stripes from the donor, surgeons use a special surgical instrument called a dermatome. This usually produces a split-thickness skin graft, which contains the epidermis. The dermis left behind at the donor site contains the hair follicles and glands that gradually regrow to form a new layer of epidermis. The donor site may be extremely painful and vulnerable to infection.

The graft is carefully spread on the bare area to be covered. It is held in place by a few small stitches or staples. The graft is initially nourished by a process called plasmatic imhibition in which the graft literally "drinks plasma". New blood vessels begin growing from the recipient area into the transplanted skin within 36 hours in a process called capillary inosculation. To prevent the accumulation of fluid under the graft which can prevent its attachment and revascularization, the graft is frequently meshed by making lengthwise rows of short, interrupted cuts, each a few millimeters long, with each row offset by half a cut length like bricks in a wall. In addition to allowing for drainage, this allows the graft to both stretch and cover a larger area as well as to more closely approximate the contours of the recipient area.

Most of my body is split thickness, meshed grafts so I have that diamond look all over my body. I have only had three full thickness grafts done and that's very few compared to all the split thickness. So if you spend some time with me I will have to show you what my skin looks like now. It is scarred with diamonds. Though my reconstructive surgeon wants to regraft them using either full thickness or split thickness non meshed so that I don't have those scars on my body. We'll see what happens with that, mainly because of my insurance allowing it to be redone.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Fantasies

There are days where I just sit here and lose myself in thought, trying to overrule the pain with wonderful fantasies. My fantasies include walking the red carpet to go to a premiere or an awards ceremony. My fantasies include being nominated for a golden globe or an oscar and then winning. I fantasize about my dress and my speech if I won. Who I would thank? Would I be a crying mess? I imagine I would be.

If I won I think about who I would thank. There are the obvious, the cast, the crew, the director and producers, and writers, the casting director for giving me the chance. I would whole heartedly thank my family more than anything for never leaving my side when my injury happened. I would thank my Manager for telling me to keep dreaming. To get better as soon as I could so I could jump back in the game. And I would have to thank God, no matter how cliche it is. But if I were to make it to that fantasy, it would be all because of Him. You see, I really don't have a lot of support in my dream from my family anymore since the accident. They think nothing good ever really came of New York and that it is just too big of a dream now that I've been injured. The only one who tells me to keep dreaming is my manager. I don't even know if I can continue on with my dream after this accident. I'm scared I've lost it.

I have other things I can pursue. I can go back to school and finish my psychology degree and do something with that but that's not what's really in my heart just yet. I did that to have a back up in case it didn't work out. Well, I was thinking "not working out" as in I had been trying and trying for years and never got anywhere with it, not having an accident. But this accident has qualified that and I have been pushed to pursue other careers. But I'm not ready. I don't feel like I've given it all I can give. I've been derailed, that's all. But my family is not seeing it that way.

I also fantasize of love. I fantasize of having that special someone that just fits me in all kinds of ways that I could go on forever naming all the ways, but I won't bore you to death with that. I watch romantic crap sometimes and it tears me apart cause I want the fairy tale too.

So here I am today, fantasizing about walking down that red carpet with the love of my life, winning an oscar and giving my husband the biggest kiss before I go up and thanking him when I'm up there. Thats my fairy tale. And it's a lot to ask but when you break it down it's really just a career dream and the longing to have the love of my life someday. But I'm so scared I'll never have it. What will I have to settle for then? I don't want to settle! I want my fairy tale! I want my dream career and the love to go with it. Why isn't that fair? It seems to be fair to many other actors out there. I know not all, but there are a lot. But not me. Why isn't that fair for me? Why did I have to have this accident that has scarred me for life? Why me? WHY ME!! I'm so angry and I can almost feel nothing as I sit here and occasionally drift away from the computer screen to stare at the wall.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I Will Never Look the Same

I was just thinking today about a little conversation that was had between my mother, Dr. Vangelisti, my reconstructive surgeon, and myself. The basis: I will never look the same. Us three were talking about this and when the words that no I will never look the same came out of my doctors mouth I wanted to cry. But he added, "You will be better." He said, "We never look the same. But we can get better, and you will get better. And in so many more ways than just physicality." And at that, I began to cry. To hear those words from a doctor made it a reality for me that I will never look the same. What will I look like then? Will people talk to my face and then when i turn around, talk about how ugly I am now compared to what I was? I fear this. I fear it so much that I will not be attending my high school reunion. I know that sounds superficial but you really have no room to say anything unless you've been put in my shoes. Then only will I allow you to say something to me.

I know I will be a better person. I know that now. What I have been through has changed me forever and I'm beginning to believe for the better now. My family, my friends and you my followers have helped me realize that now. But it is so hard to get past the physical change. I just want my old face back, my old body. But it's gone. I will only ever have it in pictures. It is like looking back on baby pictures. It is a part of my past now, how I was born to look. Now, my physical looks are made, by the doctor. And that breaks my heart. It has been so long now that when I look in the mirror I can't even visualize what I used to look like. And that scares me. To not be able see my original face anymore. I am so scared. I feel like a rebuilt car made up of mix matched parts where you can see the scar lines where parts were put back together. I feel like Frankenstein with my scars. Though don't get me wrong, my doctors are amazing and have done wondrous jobs in terms of leaving scars. One of these days, when I am comfortable, I will post some pictures.

Can you imagine that? Imagine looking back on photo albums and have two different "you's" in physical form? The original you, the you you were born to look, and then there's the you that was pieced together and made because of some crap accident. I am trying. I am trying so hard to be at piece with my physical me now. But I think that's going to take a long time for me. I hope though that I can be an even better person than I was. I know I will. There are a lot of things I want to do for burn victims and any other victim of an accident that left them scarred. I just don't know how to be at peace with what happened.

I must also add that I had my measurements done again on my last doctor visit and I lost a centimeter in my neck extension. I can never win.