A week after my last post, I feel… almost normal?! What?! Really!
I mean, I’m still sore. It still hurts to stand up from sitting, to sit up from laying down, and I can only sleep on my back. I still can’t push, pull, lift, or carry heavy things (and my definition of “heavy” has also been redefined). I’m still easily tired. My appetite and digestion aren’t back to normal yet, and I’m 8lbs smaller than I was last Sunday. I’ve discovered that I can’t eat watermelon, of all crazy things.
I’m cooking and baking, washing dishes, folding laundry, sweeping, taking care of the pets, sitting at my desk for hours at a time, and generally getting things done. The lingering dizziness from the anesthesia, which really did plague me for a solid 9 days after I came out of it, has finally gone, meaning that once I’m up and moving, I’m almost at my usual breakneck speed. For all intents and purposes, I’ve gotten back to a mostly-normal life already. Tomorrow I’m going to campus for the first time since July 6, because I have a thesis committee meeting (eek!) and I feel like I can handle it. (Though, to be on the safe side, I’m taking the rest of the week off, and next week remains on a “wait and see” basis too.)
My recovery has felt like slow torture at times, probably because I’m usually so active. Mom kept reminding me, “minor incisions, MAJOR SURGERY,” to help me maintain a little perspective on what happened to my body. Even routine gallbladder removal is still REMOVING AN ORGAN FROM YOUR BODY… and mine wasn’t routine, what with that infection and the swelling and all. So the idea that I’ve recovered this much in, essentially, a week (hey, a week ago, I could barely dress myself) is… pretty damn crazy.
What also helped keep me sane, other than Mom? The internet.
First and foremost, there was information. Every time I fretted about pain or some other symptom, Mom was on the case, looking up (valid) medical information on what to expect, what’s normal.
But beyond that, there was my little community of friends on here and Google+, which was more helpful than I could ever express. Because, you know, even the Mayo Clinic suggests that you can go back to work “a few days” after laparoscopy, and that was absolutely NOT my experience. So I worried, of course… until I started hearing stories about “not feeling normal” for weeks after the surgery, or a coworker with a similar infection who couldn’t return to work for a solid 5 weeks. I didn’t feel alone anymore, and most importantly, I stopped worrying so damn much!
Then there were the helpful tips, like the “cough pillow” that was suggested more times than I can count. And advice like, “Don’t plan on carrying a backpack/purse/tote for a few weeks,” which I never expected, and certainly would have regretted on my first day back!
After all of that, which was priceless, it seems almost trivial to mention that there were get-well, cheer-up presents. FROM PEOPLE I’VE NEVER MET. But there totally were.
I was gifted with the pattern for Toorie, a fabulous hat by Carina Spencer that’s been in my queue-and-wishlist for years now. I wanted to cast on immediately (well, okay, after I felt well enough to sit up and knit!), but I don’t have yarn that works for it. As if reading my mind, I was also gifted with a Knit Picks gift card! So now I just have to decide on a yarn and color…
But really, this entire ordeal has taught me two very important things.
1. I am completely impressed by my body’s ability to heal.
2. I am surrounded by more love and support than I truly understood.
It wasn’t a stretch to expect that my mom would travel from New York for my surgery, but I never expected that she would stay for 10 days (while her house was being renovated!). I didn’t expect that she would wait on me hand and foot, and I definitely didn’t anticipate that she would scrub my house from top to bottom, do all of the cooking and dishes, and otherwise make sure that (a) I wasn’t even tempted to overdo it, and (b) Michael didn’t have to worry about anything except how I was recuperating.
I expected family to set aside personal differences for my sake for a few days. I never expected those differences to completely and immediately vaporize, more or less a non-issue. Mom lived here with us for 10 days, and there was no awkwardness, only laughs and love. I didn’t expect to have fun with Mom here, which means that I didn’t anticipate how much I miss her now that she’s back home. (As soon as I’m feeling better, a trip to NY is in order, methinks.) I think it’s natural to take the love of family for granted, a bit, but it’ll be a long time before I get to that point again.
I knew Michael would be wonderful, but the level of love and doting and pampering (and picking up where Mom left off, taking care of me and not letting me overdo it) has been beyond even those high expectations. My husband is truly the best. <3
I wasn’t surprised when I posted a quick update about my surgery on social media, and got an outpouring of well-wishes from friends and family. I didn’t expect that same level of support (or more!) from people I’ve never met. I also didn’t expect texts and phone calls from coworkers, with offers of help and words of support, and near-daily “status check” emails from my boss.
The gist of this ramble is that I’m blessed, and if you’re reading this right now, chances are that you’re part of what I’m so grateful for. My recovery wouldn’t have been so smooth and worry-free if it wasn’t for you. THANK YOU! <3