23 Jul Shit Just Got Real: Part II
There I was, recovering from yet another surgery. My kids quietly speaking at the kitchen table, so careful not to disturb me. No arguing; no discussion on who got what snack. Everything was peaceful. When asked to pick up their toys or trash, they were quick to grab what was needed, trying to be the best helpers they could be. They bathed themselves without ever needing a thing. At one point my mom felt useless in the kitchen because there was little for her to do. All of a sudden, there was a scream, tears running down my daughter’s face. That’s when I woke up, my heart pounding through my chest, as I had been in a deep slumber until my children returned from their outing with my husband. Did you really think things were that blissful in the life of a mother with two young children? No! The complete opposite, I tell you. Of course that was a dream! My kids seemed to take a double-dose of “annoy mom” pills while I was recovering.
My favorite line that I always seem to get from my doctors when they prep me for life after surgery is, “Take it easy!” At this point in my life, that’s a laughable statement. The thought of taking it easy is great, but the allotted time they’d like me to rest is unrealistic. I’m a mom. Taking it easy isn’t on the résumé. I can admit I tried to push it on post-op day 10, and my my body quickly told me, through discomfort, to get back to the couch. But by day 16, I had to get off my ass and get my house in order. My post-op period was not a break or a vacation. The only difference between my regular mom-self and my post-op mom-self was that I did most of my yelling from the couch. I was barking orders, my mom and husband joined in too. There were 3 parents repeating themselves rather than one. To top it off, my body was uncomfortable during all this. Yes, I got time to “rest” on the couch, as I was on strict orders not to overdo it. But my kids definitely made me cry on the inside more times than not! It’s tough being a mother on your best day; so add in 5 laparoscopic incisions and cramps, it wasn’t a few weeks in paradise.
Although my patience was wearing thin with the constant arguing and mess, I was surprised by the sensitivity my daughter exhibited while I was recovering. Upon waking up in the morning or after returning home from an outing, she would wash her hands and assess my incisions. She would evaluate each one and tell me how well I was healing. The smile on her face was contagious. It warmed me to see such compassion in her heart towards the wellbeing of those around her. Anytime I thought the day had come that she would forget to come check on me, she’d run right over and ask to see my belly. At such a young age, she truly stepped up to being a caretaker for me in my time of need.
Along with having my own personal 6 year-old nurse, there were other pros to my recovery period. A dear friend of mine introduced me to a meal-train. She set the entire thing up. And we got so many meals, something that turned out to truly make recovery easier. Not only that, I got some wonderful visitors, even from very far, to come sit with me as I watched every movie on Netflix. This was the time I felt like a human being the most. Although my mobility was limited, I got to chat with friends and feel a little more like myself again. When I had no friends coming by, I had my mom by my side daily, keeping me company and actually hanging out with me. We got to watch movies, chat about things going on in the world, and simply spend time together.
Although I had a lot of distractions at home, I still felt uneasy after surgery. I was pretty drugged the night of my surgery. As I drifted in and out of sleep, I remember my doctor telling me he saved both my ovaries. He said the mass he removed was behind the ovary and it was the size of a fist. Too groggy to open both my eyes, I attempted to smile and say thank you as he walked away. He did mention at some point that the mass looked benign. And although everyone seemed quite relieved around me in that post-op room, I knew I couldn’t be certain of anything until pathology came back with the results. So as the time passed and I healed, I still needed to hear that those results were, indeed, benign. I could not rest until I heard this news. And at 9PM on a Monday night, I got the call from the oncologist. If anyone out there knows, getting a call from your doctor at that hour is never a good sign. So I answered the call, apprehensive to say the least. But the news was good and I could breathe a sigh of relief. It was the best news I had gotten in a long time. It was a definite that everything was fine. I would be fine. He explained it was a good thing we removed my uterus and the mass, as they both needed to come out. From that point on, the only focus was to feel better physically. The fact that the discomfort of recovery was the worst my body was going to face at this point in my life was truly a gift.
I wish I could say that after going through all this that I completely changed as a person. But in all honesty, I’m still processing everything I’ve been through in the last couple months. This was unexpected, and a rollercoaster of fear and the unknown. The waves of emotions I underwent really took a toll on me. If I gained one thing from what I just went through, it’s that life is too short to simply put things off. I’m a realist and I know I can’t just pick up and fly to Europe, but I can put more of an effort to see certain dreams come true sooner, rather than later. Nothing is guaranteed and there are goals I want to achieve now without waiting another 10 years. In the past, when talking about things I wanted to experience, many times I’d pass it off and tell myself I’d do it another time. Well, another time may not be an option and today is all I’ve got. So I may as well get going.
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