Recovery Tales: A New Take on Gratitude

 

I knew from my research that hysterectomy recovery would have its ups and downs. I woke up yesterday feeling pretty darn good for the first time since my surgery two weeks ago today. It was so wonderful to feel almost like myself, that spark of energy flaring up that is always simmering inside of me. However, as the day went on, I began to have sharp pain around some of my incisions and cramping, along with some bleeding. I read that this is a normal part of the healing process, and can often be a sign that you are trying to do too much too soon.

I have been doing some slow walking, but yesterday I stayed inside the whole day in jammies. A sweet friend and colleague came to visit and catch me up on the goings on at school, and she loaned a wonderful book to me that I am looking forward to reading (All Over but the Shoutin’, by Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times). My major accomplishments on this day- aside from taking a shower- were to complete and submit some educational blog articles that I have been working on, and renew my car tag on-line. Those things felt like monumental tasks in my low-energy mode, and once completed, I again felt the cement boots on my feet, signaling the return of the crushing fatigue. When I read a post about what was done to my body, all of this made more sense. I mean, I knew I was having things taken out of me, but I hadn’t really thought about what it all entailed…

“So much more is done with hysterectomy, it’s a major organ being removed, along with severing a major artery (the uterine artery). Connective tissue and ligaments are severed and reattached… not the mention the end of the vagina being sewn up and ligaments sewn to the end of it to suspend it.”
Yeah. Ouch. I think I’ll cut myself some slack for not being up to full speed quite yet.
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I curled into my big chair under my mom’s special afghan (always medicinal), and sweet Sophie snugged in next to me. The dogs have been such wonderful recovery buds, always ready to just be still and quiet with me. I feel more calm when my hand makes contact with their fur, and I don’t have to have my eyes open to know which dog I am touching; Coops’ fur is as soft as velvet, while Sophie’s has a little bit more of a wirey texture. Both feel like Heaven to me. My girls.

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All of this solitude, this wonderful and rare quiet time at home, has me thinking more than ever about all that I have to be grateful for. I’m seeing things differently at this much slower pace, and I’m finding that it is rather nice to not be running around full tilt for a bit. That will all come back soon enough. You notice things you may have rushed by before, and you see ‘usual’ things in a different light. I’ve had time to do more writing, to think through things in more depth. Yesterday I was talking with Dan, telling him that I wondered if I would start feeling less of a woman now that I’ve had a hysterectomy. He wasn’t having any of it.

Honey, I didn’t marry you for your uterus. I married you for the beautiful woman you are inside and out, and that has not- and will not ever change. You just focus on healing and getting strong again. We have a lot of living to do!

I am so grateful for the gift of Dan in my life. No matter what we have faced in our almost fourteen years together, he has been my rock. His gentle spirit and kind heart always help me believe that things will be okay. I often tell him that he is not perfect…but he is perfect for me.

Today turned out to be absolutely beautiful, and I knew it would raise my spirits to get outside for a short walk. As I’ve been doing since I began my recovery walks, I stayed very close to home, just walking up and down the flat part of the street in front of our house. I felt the gift of the cool breeze (Alabama summer heat will be here soon enough), and looked around at the lush green all around me. I noticed some new flowers that had blossomed and stopped to touch them gently. Velvet. I took in the progress of some of the houses being rennovated in our spunky old neighborhood, with some of the houses dating back to the early 1900s. Chez Gainey is a youngin’, only dating back to 1920. How I love living here. Some people would hate it- our neighborhood is eclectic, a mix of university professors, post- Docs, students, and the occasional crack head. It is a ‘live and let live’ sort of place- perfect for us, and seeing many of the old homes being brought back to their former beauty always makes my heart happy. Dan and I have made so many memories, have lived so much life here.

I hope that when I return to my frantic on-the-go pace in just a few weeks that I will remember this time, remember to stop and notice the ‘little things’ that really aren’t so little after all. To notice the breeze, the way the light and shadow falls on our ferns, the softness of a flower petal, the sweet graying muzzles of my dogs, the kindness of my husband. We can choose to be wealthy or choose to be poor in our lives, and it has absolutely nothing to do with money. I am seeing yet again during this time of recovery and renewal that I am rich beyond my wildest dreams, and I am so grateful.

 


3 thoughts on “Recovery Tales: A New Take on Gratitude

  1. I never cease to be blown away by the way you can turn ‘introspection’ into overt expression, which gives anyone who is fortunate enough to experience the words and the visual images you present, a blessing. The blessing is ‘felt’ and is just as real, and much more meaningful than a blessing of any material nature. You speak of your gratitude…I, am grateful for the enrichment I receive from your very special talents. Thank YOU.

  2. Thank you…YOUR words mean a lot to me as well. Yes, I am doing much better. I did have a nasty fall, slipping backwards and hitting the back of my head, full force from a standing position, on concrete. It was very painful, and I admit, a bit scary. A very large lump started to form immediately, the pain was significant, it took me a minute to regain enough composure to sit up, then stand. I went immediately to the ER where they swept me quickly to do imaging. Initial findings seemed encouraging, with instructions to return and/or call my family doctor if any of a list of symptoms did manifest. I DID have some of the symptoms the next day and also a few times after that (dizziness, nausea, vomiting, extreme stiffness in some areas). I saw my GP, who is WONDERFUL! A “kid”, younger than both of my children, but very knowledgeable, savvy in all the ‘up to the minute’ developments in medicine, and yet with a warm bedside manner, with the old school style of listening, taking time with patients, and being VERY thorough. She and her husband (who I saw initially a few years back, who does ER practice full time now) are so special to me and take very good care of me. Although symptoms can manifest in an injury such as this for quite some time, we feel as if I am ‘out of the woods’, but we are exercising caution, of course. But basically, I am feeling fine now. Thank you for your interest.

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