Wednesday, March 8, 2017

when will i feel normal again?

 I have to say, recovering from this surgery is hard. Very hard.

Yes, there was pain in the beginning; there's still tightness, numbness and weird sensations; and I have a pretty limited range of motion which is improving. But I'm talking about having to just sit around all day, everyday, with pretty much nothing to do and not much I CAN do. I can do some regular things, like shower and brush my teeth. It obviously takes longer, but it's easier now that my drains are gone.  I can bend over, but it's a pain in the ass:  it pulls on my back muscles, which are usually aching because I can't yet walk upright completely, and it's a little uncomfortable since I'm bending an area that was operated on. This means I can't really help my husband with scooping all the cat litter boxes and feeding the cats requires assistance. I also need help putting stuff in the oven and taking it out (I froze a couple casseroles before surgery). And Murphy's Law has kicked in big time since the surgery. If it can be dropped on the floor, I will drop it. And then I have to decide if I want to attempt to pick it up so I don't have to ask someone to pick it up for me, or leave it there all day in hopes that someone will notice it and pick it up (about 50/50 odds in my house).  I can't lift anything more than 10 pounds, so if I do laundry, I can't bring it upstairs to be put away (Who am I kidding? It doesn't usually get put away; it lives in the basket until we need it).  I can't really wash dishes, because the position puts a lot of strain on my already-strained back muscles. I know, because I tried.  I can manage the laundry and I can fold it, although I need one of those grabbing tools so I can get all the socks that I drop on the floor.

Tiffany trying to capture the balloon. She eventually got it
and ran with it, but let go and ran away
when she realized it was following her.

Yes, I have great company in my cousin and husband (who are both awesome BTW!), but I'm still left with being in a recliner for 90% of the day, watching TV and playing on my phone. I have other things I can do. In fact, I had a whole bunch of things I lined up:  jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku (thanks to my wonderful team at work), a cross stitch I started for my best friend like 10 years ago and never finished, and a couple books on my phone.  I tried doing a puzzle yesterday, but couldn't sit in the chair for long. I did one Sudoku puzzle, but got bored with it. Actually, I think the problem yesterday was just a general restlessness, along with a dose of swelling and discomfort. I really haven't done any reading. I usually read at bedtime, but I'm finding that after about five minutes I'm ready to sleep. Haven't attempted the cross stitch, although I got as far as having my husband get the bag for me. As you can see, I'm filling some of my time by taking pictures of the cats.

I'm making progress physically. I can shower more easily now that the drains are gone, although washing my hair is an exercise in contortion. I do a combination of facing forward and leaning over, followed by attempts to face the other way and lean back under the water so I can stretch a bit. I need something to hold onto for that, though, since I sometimes lose my balance. All my tape and gauze is gone, although I have a band-aid over my last drain hole, which I'm not ripping off because it's one of the good ones that will likely survive Armageddon before it falls off on its own (and it's in a sensitive spot...). My abs are still pretty tight, but that's improving a bit. I find that once I get moving around I can stand a bit straighter. That should clear up in the next week or so.  I really don't have any pain other than my back muscles, which is from walking hunched over. I will say that I have a lot of itchiness at the tops of my legs near my hips and around the ends of the incision. That's from healing and the nerves repairing themselves. I know it will pass, but it drives me insane sometimes.

Louise got caught red-handed stealing the flowers.

I never thought I'd miss the normal routine of personal hygiene, working, grocery shopping, and taking care of the cats, the house, and the husband.  Basically, just doing "stuff." I've had a few emotional moments where I wonder if I'll ever feel normal again. Logically I know I will, but it seems so far away. This isn't like having my gallbladder out, or having the gastric bypass, where I bounced back in a week or less. I know I'm in for months of swelling and numbness, no exercise, and having to wear a compression garment nearly 24/7.  But then I remember the payoff:  my stomach is flat (FLAT!!), I'll eventually have a greater range of motion, and I won't have to deal with the unpleasantness of the extra skin hanging on me (rashes underneath, having to tuck it into my pants, having to rearrange it so I can sleep on my side comfortably).

It's a long road, but I'm making progress. I just want "progress" to happen a lot faster!


  1. It sounds like you need a couple of those kinds of books that suck you in and you cannot stop reading them. :) I don't know what that would look like for you, but for me that would be something like Big Little Lies, which earlier this week I got stuck reading until 230am.

    I had uploaded my books directory for someone else recovering from surgery and if you want the link just send me an email. ;)

    I hope your normal comes back to you as a surprise sooner than later. It will be worth it! ;)

    1. I typically like to read in spurts. Usually 15-60 minutes at a time. I've never, ever read a whole book in one sitting, or spent more than maybe three hours reading at a time. During the day (currently) I'm watching TV and visiting with my cousin and in bed I'm just not as comfortable as usual, so I tend to read for maybe 5 minutes (I'm a side sleeper and have to sleep on my back at the moment).