Alternate title: Patience, Patience! PATIENCE!!!!!
Let’s face it: since my surgery I’ve not been the most patient of patients. Maybe you’ve noticed that I’ve been off my game lately. Certainly not posting quite as often; responding to emails seems to be taking a wee bit longer than usual. Catching up on the blogs I love has been daunting (Google Reader reminded me today that I am more than 100 posts behind). It’s certainly been no secret to me that I’m stuck somewhere between ‘Here’ and ‘How in the hell did I get way over there?’
I have made every attempt to avoid turning this blog into a post-operative complaint log for hysterectomy ramblings, but I still find myself dotting posts with bits and pieces of information that refer to the obvious frustration, fatigue, swollen tummy and just plain ole’ blahness that I’m feeling.
Blahness: Friday’s Word of the Day.
The things I want to write about – that this week has been especially difficult; that I am having trouble coming to terms with the fact that I am no longer woman that I was before my surgery; that I don’t know if or when she is coming back – all boils down to one sentence: I am totally sucking at practicing self-acceptance.
I didn’t really comprehend how bad my mental attitude was until reading the last couple of posts by the lovely Karen at Before and After where she has been discussing this very subject. I realized that I have been at war with my body over the past few weeks and I’ve been losing, big time.
My expectations going into this operation had me thinking that once the surgery was over, that would be the endpoint. When I was told that I could resume normal activity as tolerated after six weeks, I thought that meant I’d be feeling markedly better and just continue to improve from that point forward. I was so
ignorant confident that I made plans for all the great things I wanted to do from mid-summer on.
The reality, however, was something completely different. Once the surgery was over the real work was just beginning: healing. When I was released from care after 6 weeks it wasn’t because I was free to resume my old life. I was simply graduating from being a patient at risk for infection and complications to a patient that was now ‘in the clear’, meaning there wasn’t much that my doc could do for me beyond that point. The rest was up to me. It’s been two and a half months since my surgery and I’ve been trying to force my body into complying with how I think I should be feeling and behaving. Instead of accepting what is happening, I’ve been busy with the why of it all. As in, Why am I still so tired all of the time? Why is my stomach still terribly swollen? Why am I still experiencing pain? Why, why why?
The days of me running around like clockwork mastering yoga, gardening, bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan – are gone. Now, my day looks something like this: At 7:15 AM I literally peel my body out of bed because I’m determined to maintain some kind of schedule. The rest of my day is pretty much made up of me trying to force myself into doing anything other than shuffling around and wanting to take a nap. Earlier this week I got wild and crazy and decided to take the dogs on a short walk AND go grocery shopping for a few items. By 9 PM that night my belly was so swollen my stretchy shorts felt like a tourniquet. I had gained 5.2 pounds since stepping on the scale that morning. Not kidding. I looked like I was carrying a watermelon under my t-shirt.
The next day I had to make the difficult decision of suspending my yoga account for the second time. My body is simply not going to be rushed regardless of what I have to say about it.
I just recently learned that I won’t be quite 80% healed until six months post-surgery. That puts me into December. My body won’t be considered completely healed for almost 12 months.
It is easy to get down in the dumps after a major surgery. It’s also easy to have doubts and all kinds of negative energy if you don’t know when you’re going to get better. I was sharing my frustrations with my sister and when I was done she said, ‘Now, I want you to tell me all of the things you’re grateful for. For every bad feeling, give me an equal reason why you are thankful.’ As soon as she said that, I started laughing. I can’t believe I’ve become the kind of person that has to be reminded to be thankful! I make a point to keep my distance from negative people because I’m easily affected by them – and here I’ve become one of them!
What a wake-up call. I’ve been writing a gratitude list every night since. Here is what I’m grateful for today:
- I am noticing improvements – I can vacuum the floor once again, and lift 6-7 pounds with minimal pain.
- I am building a business from scratch; pouring my heart and soul into it and the paintings I’m producing/listing on Etsy.
- I have this blog and all of you for support and even a kick in the pants when I need it.
- I have a supportive and very patient husband who understands me and what I’m going through.
While I’m at it, here’s another reminder for myself: self-acceptance and the ability to embrace the nature of change go hand in hand. One will not work without the other. If I can’t acknowledge and accept that change is going to occur in my life, then I’ll never be at peace with myself; I’ll never have that sense of self-acceptance and will probably be delaying my recovery even further.
I may be stumbling, friends out there – but I’m inching forward.
Have a good weekend, and thanks for reading today.