Well, I decided to write about myself for this weeks topic of the week ‘being different’, I’m going try and the share with you the differences that I felt like I faced in my teenage years. When I was a small child, one of my first memories is of running, I had a passion for running, I very rarely walked anywhere. My sister and I used to have sprinting competitions when we were small and I always ran in bare feet, I liked to feel the cool grass beneath my feet, it helped me to feel at one with the ground, each step I took gave me a feeling of freeness and exhilaration, I loved the feeling of my heart pounding in my chest and the blood rushing around my body, it made me feel alive. At school I always excelled in sports, I never avoided my physical education lessons, like some of my friends in class did, I was always the first one to be ready for our cross country running! I hope you get the impression now?! I loved running! All this running came to an abrupt halt when I was aged 14, I picked up an injury, I can't really remember how it happened or exactly when, as it's a long time ago, but I do remember the pain like it was yesterday! I didn't take any time off school but I did have many trips to the doctors who informed me, it was growing pains and instructed me to not participate in any form of sporting activity! Were they blind? I could hardly sit down or walk never mind compete at sport! I had no choice, I gave up my sport that I loved! The pain eased and I did return to exercise but never with the same zest that I had experienced prior to my growing pains! I took up horse riding instead! I know what you're thinking?! Why horse riding when she had such a bad back?! Well I could get on a horse and make it gallop and feel that ‘oneness’ with the horse, it gave me a similar feeling to what my running once had! I felt free and light and exhilarated!Again this hobby was cut short, I suffered terribly with severe back pain on and off from the age of 14 up until I was 17, during that period I was prescribed many painkillers, which now, when I Iook back at that time, I’m actually quite horrified that at such a young age, I was so heavily reliant on painkillers to get me through the day. My luck changed when I was 17, a new doctor started at our local practice and I went to see him about my continues back pain, he had the good insight to send me for an x-ray, something that I'd never had offered to me before. Because of my sunny disposition and my positive outlook on life, I never felt like my back pain was every really taken seriously, however this doctor sent me for an x-ray, by this point I was coming towards the end of my school life and I wanted to go into the care profession and train to be a nurse.The x-ray indicated that something was not quite right with my lower back. I was sent to see a back specialist who examined my x-rays and said that he thought I had something seriously wrong with my back. He told me in no uncertain terms that I would never be a nurse and I would be lucky if I didn't end up in a wheel chair by the age of 25! Quite a blow for someone so young, but hey, when you fall of a horse, you dust yourself off and get back on! I took the news quite well and with the help of my parents decided to try a different career path, I loved cooking so decided that I would go to college to train to be a chef. I enrolled on a catering and hotel management course and completed the first year of my course, in between bouts of horrendous back pain and visits to my orthopedic surgeon. After numerous scans and x-rays my surgeon informed me that I had a condition called, Spondylolisthesis, which is basically a slippage of the vertebras, my vertebra was at the most serious level and I was told that I would need major back surgery to stabilize my spine and I was not given a very high success rate. I was told that if I didn’t have the operation that I would be in a wheel chair by the age of 25, but I was also given the news that even after surgery, there was still a high possibility that I could end up in a wheel chair. I’m glad I had youth on my side as I didn’t over analyze my options, I just went with my consultants decision and agreed to have the surgery. The month before my 18th birthday I received a letter to say that my operation was booked for the beginning of September. I went into hospital with an open mind, I had been given the worse case scenario, ‘I could end up in a wheel chair regardless’, so I didn't have anything to think about or lose really! Or so I thought! How our minds can trick us! I awoke from my 8 hour operation to the most unbearable pain I had ever endured in my life! At that point I wouldn't have cared if I'd lived or died, all I could think about was, pressing the button to get more morphine. I had my bottom 3 vertebrae’s fused together and a load of metal put in to support the bone graft! I had to be turned over in bed by the nurses regularly, as this was not something that I could have done myself, I couldn't feel my legs and I couldn't escape the pain. I was 18 and should have been out partying with my college friends, but instead I had exchanged all that, for a cathatae and high amounts of morphine. I was discharged from hospital 2 weeks after my surgery, having taken those first few painful steps in hospital, to prove to the physiotherapists that I could manage at home with my parents support.My mam and dad came to take me home. Whilst my friends were out doing what all 18 year old should be doing, ‘dating and drinking and having fun’, I was laid in bed, in my parents living room, being cared for by my mam. I could barely even wash myself never mind walk or go to a nightclub!With my determination and positive approach to life, topped with a huge amount of encouragement, pain killers and support from my family I returned to college after the Christmas break. I really tried to apply myself to my tutorials and catch up on all the work I'd missed but all I could think about was the pain in my back! Instead of making slow progress, my back actually got worse after the surgery and it was becoming even more of a disability for me! I had to drop out of college for the rest of the year and had some time at home again, spending a lot of time with my elderly nana. I would not exchange that period of my life for all the tea in china or all of the queens jewels. I did a lot of growing up and a lot of thinking and soul searching, I was missing out on my college lessons but picking up on a lot of life lessons.But I look back at that time and I remember all the challenges that I faced and all the pain I dealt with and I wouldn't go back and change it for the world as I believe that it made me into the person I am today, it gave me a strength of self and an amazing ability to adapt to the difficulties that we sometimes have no choice but to face in this life. I believe it opened up my spirit and made me have a belief in the world and it made me have a greater respect for my health and to not ever take it for granted.I went on to have a further 2 back operations, the final operation was just after my 21st birthday and it was a success, but I did pick up an addiction to painkillers in the process! That addiction brought with it a lot of demons and it was very hard for me to break away from them, but then again they have all contributed into making me the person I am today.I have a strong belief, that if you apply yourself to something and have a belief in the universe that almost anything is possible. I went on to have two children after being told I would possibly never be able to carry them, because of the severity of my back condition and I am almost 35 years old and to this day, I will not allow myself to think that I have a bad back! I have never returned to running, but I do still have those amazing memories stored in my brain, I’ve exchanged running and horse-riding for yoga which is a lot more gentle and kind to my back. I will not give in to my condition and I hope to maintain this outlook for as long as I live. I am hopeful and positive, I do know what it feels like to have to overcome difficulties and be different, but I am proof to myself, that having a belief in ‘oneself’ and having a supportive family is what has made me different in this world. If you have taken the time to read my short story on being different, I hope you feel that it's been relevant and I thank you for your time.