Stay Strong

The two words that bug me

It’s confirmed, we have approval from the Department of Health. Our surgery date is booked, I’ll be adopting a liver in October 2021.

The past few days have been a bit of an emotional spiral for me. I went shopping with my Mom yesterday to get pyjamas to add to my hospital bag. I couldn’t find my size and I’m trying to just simply find the right size, I burst into tears. We went to the pharmacy for me to get my next month’s dose of medication and again I couldn’t stop tears from streaming down my face.

My Dad asked about the plan for the few days prior to the surgery and I was fighting back a panic attack whilst trying to tell him.

I’ve always believed that I’m level-headed in panic situations, I tend to stay calm and I can respond quickly. My own set of cards have made that calmness tougher to embrace. The calm gets shoved down my throat and I’m left sitting in a ball trying to hold myself together — mentally and physically.

Being open and vulnerable around people is something that does not come easily to me. I can share my story, but making space for someone to sit next to me when I feel like I’m crumbling is one of the toughest things for me to do. I would much rather smile, and tell people that I’m doing well.

I panic because I feel like I’ve lost control. In hindsight, so many of the things I panic about I have zero control over anyway because they’re out of my hands. So meeting myself with love and kindness is imperative, so that I don’t end up whirling myself into a pit of total panic.

I have an incredible support system of family and friends. A handful of these amazing individuals have been there to fully weather the storm with me, because they don’t tell me to stay strong. They let me be, they me feel and they love me unconditionally.

The advice they offer isn’t “stay strong, you’ve got this”. It’s along the lines of “shit Cor! This is tough. We will work together and just take it one step at a time.”

Being strong has been my fight or flight mode my entire life, and it’s why I’m still here today. Staying positive and telling my liver that’s it’s strong is how I’ve lived for 27 years more than my doctors thought I would.

When you see that you’re checking boxes off of liver failure, and the importance of a transplant is becoming a very clear picture… please, don’t tell me to stay strong. Just be there to hold my hand. Trust me, I’m fighting every day and I’m so grateful for every morning that I wake up. And I sure as hell won’t go down without a fight either.

I understand that telling someone to “stay strong” is your way of providing support. And it’s special to know that there are so many people rallying behind me.

If you knew how much I was hanging on with every ounce of my being, you would understand too that sometimes, I just need a hand to hold. And when I have a meltdown, I promise I will get back up and take another step. I am strong. I know that about myself. But I’m also only human and sometimes I trip and fall too. Sometimes, just to sit and listen, and give me a hug are all I need.

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Bold Brunette

Almost everything can be an adventure • Liver transplant recipient• Learning & growing every day.