Lessons from surgery

And this will be my final post about my surgery and all related stuff.  My life is moving forward.  I am moving forward, but as always I learned a few lessons through this entire process.  I have been thinking about them, trying to remember them and decided to share them.

1. Just because you’re terrified of dying doesn’t mean you’re going to.  I was sure I’d somehow defeat the odds and not come through my surgery.  I am confident in my faith and relationship with God that I’m heading to heaven, but I want to be around to raise my children before I get there.  Obviously I am not dead. 🙂

2. You don’t stop being a mom just because your children are grown.  I know this from watching my mom and mother-in-law.  My mom snuck out to the hospital the evening of my surgery just because she had to see with her own eyes that I was OK.  She got my kiddos down for bed at her house and left them there with my dad and came by for a few minutes just to assure herself that I really was OK.  Both my mom and mother-in-law spent the next six weeks helping take care of our family from cooking and cleaning to laundry to changing diapers and giving bottles to giving baths.  They took care of us.

3. I can relax and enjoy life.  Before my surgery, I spent weeks stressing myself out and trying to get as much done as I could.  I ran errands.  I cleaned.  I cooked.  I organized.  I did all sorts of things.  About three weeks after my surgery, I still wasn’t cleared to do much, but I was feeling better.  I just relaxed and enjoyed the time with my kids.  I got a chance to play dolls with my daughter during the middle of the day instead of trying to get things done.  I got a chance to play peek-a-boo with my son while someone else went to pick up my daughter from preschool.

4. I am thankful for being able to do things myself.  I appreciated the help from our parents so incredibly much.  I am also thankful to do my own laundry and household chores again.  It’s just nice to feel normal.  I never thought I’d say it, but it’s nice to be able to do laundry, make dinner, run errands and carry the baby around.

My sweet girl at her 4th birthday party in October

5. I enjoy my daughter’s company.  She turned 4 during my recovery.  Somehow she is now even more grown up.  We still have our issues.  And with extra grandparent time, we’ve had some battles of will.  But, I’ve realized that I enjoy hanging out with her so much right now.  I will always be her mom first and foremost, however, as she’s growing there are little times here and there where we are friends.

6. My husband is a good man.  I have known this from the time I met him when I was 14 and he was 16.  I continue to learn this over and over again.  He was with me every step of the way.  He listened to my worries, he calmed my fears, he made me laugh and he just sat with me when I needed him most.  He made sure when I was in pain that I got what I needed and got rest.  He heated my rice bag over and over again.  He made me food that is gross to him like toast with both butter and jelly.  He wore his shirt that says “My Wife Rocks” when I was in the hospital.  He loved me.  He supported me.  And he didn’t complain about all the extra work and stress added onto him while I recovered.  He is a good man.

7. I am blessed with my family.  Again, this is something I have always known, but I learned it over again while I recovered.  There is no possible way I could have gone through this surgery and recovery without my parents and in-laws.  No way possible.  I don’t know how I will ever repay them.  I don’t think I can.  I am just so blessed to have them and thankful for their selflessness and love.  They went above and beyond to make sure that not only I was taken care of but so were my husband and children.

8. Things really do get better if you give them long enough.  A week or so after my surgery a friend asked me if I was glad I had the surgery.  She knew that I’d struggled for a long time before the surgery with pain and discomfort.  I told her it was too soon to tell.  At the time, I was still having extra pain and couldn’t do much.  Now, though, I’m almost three months out and it really is better.  It’s dramatically better.  For the first time in at least two years, I feel more like myself.  I feel like the person I am.  I feel like I am much closer to being the mom I want to be.  Time really did heal.

9. Difficult times can give you perspective.  I told you a couple posts back how I had to end my breastfeeding relationship with my son earlier than planned because of this surgery.  This is sad to me, but my perspective has shifted.  It’s not as sad as it might have been at another time.  Because I know that things could be worse.  I’d rather give my son formula than not be here to give him anything or not be able to hold him and carry him around like I was limited on doing during my recovery.  It’s sad, but it’s not the end of the world.  We’re both alive and healthy and happy.  I’ve got perspective.

10. I can stretch an almost empty tube of Cover Girl lipstick for weeks.  (Weren’t expecting that one, were you?)  I was low on lipstick before my surgery, yet somehow that tube lasted me another couple of months.  True, there were a couple of weeks I didn’t wear makeup when I wasn’t feeling well, but even once I started wearing it again that tube lasted way longer than I would ever have guessed.

As always, I learn.  I think every experience in life has something to teach us even if it just teaches us that we can survive and that we can continue to live and go on with life in spite of a challenge.  I’m happy to say that I really feel healed in every way — physically and emotionally.  What I went through wasn’t a huge deal.  People face much, much bigger challenges all the time and live to tell about them.  This was a blip on the screen of my life.  It wasn’t fun.  It wasn’t ideal.  It wasn’t what I had planned, but it worked out OK.  That is perhaps the biggest lesson of life I continue to learn over and over.  Nothing goes as planned, but it all works out in the end.

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