This Is My Story
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Health and Wellness

This Is My Story

A sixteen year old girl who underwent a surgery that would change her life for forever...

This Is My Story
Jeramie Herrera

November 13th, 2015... A day I will always remember.

Here I am, an eighteen year old college student who is finishing up her freshman year of college. Here I am, a year and a half post op from a surgery that changed me completely. In the summer of 2014, I began having sharp pain in my back. It was not till the beginning of 2015 until I got my legitimate diagnoses. In October of 2015, I was given a little over a two weeks notice that I would be having to have major spinal surgery to fix my diagnoses so I could have my life back.

A spinal fusion in the lower spine (L5 S1) is something no one wanted or wants to see a sixteen year old go through. However, I went through it with thanks to one of the best doctors in the state, in my opinion. All of this happened halfway through my junior/ senior year of high school, the time where any teenager is most vulnerable. At sixteen, I would be under going a life altering surgery. Post surgery I was a very swollen and hurting teenage girl. A huge road block to my plans---no dance, no fire department, no school. What was I supposed to do?

I can count one one hand how many people I considered my friend pre-surgery who came to see me or even check up on me once I was back home. One hand. From that day of November 13, 2015 to around April 2016 was one of the lowest points in my life thus far. I HATED my body, my scars, my life, and myself. However, I knew all of the right answers. "Are you okay?" : yes. "How are you?" : I'm well. "Have you had and sudden mood changes/ thoughts post surgery?" : no. It's true, I looked perfectly fine. I was just a recovering patient getting through her rough patch, but no one saw the internal battle going on. No one thought to go deeper than just the right answers. No one saw the sleepless nights and missed meals. I covered myself because I didn't want people to see what was really going on.

People saw me out in public and would laugh or stare when I was still a few weeks post op. I couldn't hide the back brace anymore like I could pre-surgery--- none of those shirts would fit. I was walking around stores with a walker in a teeshirt and yoga pants with a giant black back brace on just trying to get my steps in. Every time I turned there was always someone pushing me out the way for walking too slow or laughing at me.

If you've read this far, next time you see someone trying their best to just survive in Walmart or at the Mall trying to just better themselves, smile at them. Please just give them some encouragement.

One moment that has stood out to me was when I was asked what kind of bathing suit I would be buying for the summer, and I automatically said a one piece to cover my scars. I did---a black one piece was my go to summer of 2016. Less stares and questions, I thought.

However, I am done trying my best to cover up the past that made me who I am today. I am going to rock whatever swimsuit and outfits I want summer of 2017. I am done letting people tell me how I should feel about my size and my weight. I worked hard getting my body here and it might not be your idea of gorgeous but it sure as hell will be my idea. Going from a size 15-16 to a bloated me in a size 10-11, I'll take it.

Though the metal, titanium, and a nerve damage, I kept up with my progress from beginning of surgery to a year post op on social media with #ambergetsfused. Now I go back and look at how much progress I made from being that recovering teenager to a happy college student. I graduated high school a year early like I had hoped, I got into all the universities I applied to, and I started attending the university close to my home on scholarship. Here I've made deans list, got into and left a sorority, had some heartbreak, created some memories, but I found how to be happy again, by myself.

This past year and a half has taught me so much about myself and how strong I can really be. You don't realize your strength into you have to use it to pick yourself up. It taught me how to be confident in myself and my body. It taught me that the only person you can always count on is yourself and your family, and that good friends are hard to find. Most importantly, it taught me that even though right now I'm in a dark place, there is still light and happiness waiting on me.

For the person who is strugglingso much with an internal battle or your confidence or your recovery, just keep swimming until the light gets brighter. You won't be able to see all the good times that are coming until they're right in front of you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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