Updated: Aug 1, 2020
Hi readers! I hope you are all keeping well and safe.
It is coming close to 2 months since I started this journey and I confess myself astounded. I believed The Hema Life would be just another one of my unsuccessful ventures that I would eventually lose the motivation to continue, but we seem to be going strong!
We started this journey together in the midst of a full-scale pandemic and a nationwide lockdown. Life had just seemed to stop. There didn’t seem to be an end in sight to the growing chaos and we were forced just to let it play out, helpless.
Well, the chaos is only just beginning, it would seem, but we are slowly forced to face the dawn of a ‘new normal’ as we find ourselves returning to our lives. For most, the return to ‘normal’ has been long awaited and desperately anticipated. Yet, the same cannot be said for others. This return to normality is far from perfect and not without its own difficulties with many having lost their livelihoods and loved ones.
We have all been touched by the pandemic, for better or for worse. I faced, and still continue to face, my own struggles during the period of lockdown, battling with concerns for my health. It seems prudent that we remember and celebrate our accomplishments, past and present, big and small, in these times. We need them now more than ever as we try to get back on our feet. Today, I will be sharing one of my own accomplishments, a rather understated moment that has truly been the pinnacle of my adult life.
So, how many of us have felt the immense weight of boredom crushing down on their shoulders during lockdown? We all have and if you say you haven’t, then you are lying. One of my recent pastimes to get me through these bouts of lethargic inactivity has been to scour my house for old family photographs. There seems no better way to wile away the hours than to take a trip down memory lane to when times were happier.
Pictures are beautiful and curious things, wouldn’t you agree? These pictures were taken on our trip to Disneyland Paris when I was no older than 3. I was extremely ill and facing some very challenging times, but these pictures don’t show that. You see the smile, but the suffering isn’t all that evident.
I don’t really have too many photographs from my early days, and it’s probably for the best – it’s not a time that I would really like to have immortalised in print. Yet, there was one picture that really spoke volumes and it reminded me of just how far I had really come since those days.
What you see there is a gastrostomy feeding tube. It looks a little grisly, but it was my lifeline for a very long time. Whilst I was busying myself with multiple respiratory failures, it seems that I also had time for digestives issues.
I had been fitted with the feeding tube from the age of 9 months because I was suffering with gastroesophageal reflux – I was not feeding correctly and any feed that I had often found its way back up. This was done alongside a Nissen Fundoplication, a laparoscopic procedure intended to reduce the damage caused by acid reflux from the stomach. In theory, it means that I cannot regurgitate my stomach contents, preventing any further digestive problems from arising in the future.
For a large part of 10 years, I relied on my gastrostomy feeding tube to eat and remain healthy because I was unable to do so naturally. I was fed via the G-tube multiple times a day with PediaSure Plus, a heavy-duty nutritional supplement. It was a vile thing. After so many years, I still cannot seem to shake the bad taste it left in my mouth. That had definitely been a no-go!
Yet, foul smelling supplements were the least of my concerns – I had more pressing fears. The G-tube had to be replaced every few months in order to prevent infection, but that definitely didn’t stop that dilemma. I used to kick, scream, and cry when the time came, but it always had to be done. It was uncomfortable to say the least, yet I was most frightened by the idea of it not being there at all. It had become such an integral part of my life that I was afraid to live without it.
I was given the opportunity to have my G-tube removed a few years ago. I had been fairly stable, maintaining my weight to a healthy level through oral eating. At this point, I had been weaned off my feed for about 4 years. It felt like the right moment, so what was the use in waiting?
I underwent a small surgery to remove the G-tube and to put in place some internal stitching when I was in my final years of A Level. Just like that, it was like it had never even happened. This year, it will be approaching 3 year since I had the G-tube removed and I haven’t looked back since. It was a very small moment, but not one without its significance. It was definitely a moment that we all thought wouldn’t be happening for a very long time, if ever. But all I needed was just a little time and patience.
I think that it is always quite easy to overlook, underappreciate and disregard small successes and little victories. We are always so quick to give power to our flaws and our failures. I know this because I do it constantly. If we gave half as much time to the positives, we would all probably be a lot happier.
Keep reading and supporting!