So, regular readers here probably think that I say EVERYTHING that comes to my mind here on this blog. But here's something I haven't talked about for various reasons - mostly because I didn't have any interesting observations to make.
I've been living in intermittent pain for a few years from a condition (never you mind about the specifics!) that required surgery to be resolved. I kept putting it off, thinking it wasn't that bad, it might get better, the risks of surgery, and the "I don't want to stop life for a while - I'm too busy."
But last month I did have the surgery and I did take time off to recover - with the love and caring of my incredible family and friends.
The pain is gone. Like, really gone. And it changes things. It's subtle at times, as it is an absence of pain and not something actively happening, but it's really wonderful and humbling. Here's things I've learned in the past several weeks:
Pain, even low-level, is tiring. It colors things. Being intermittent, it was like a little thief that would steal in and out and make courage feel stupid and being kind to myself feel weak. It felt depressing, as in it depressed my mood, deflated happiness or satisfaction. It loomed. It made me feel fragile, breakable, with hidden fissures.
I worried that the surgery wouldn't work. Only one surgeon said that, in a disparaging tone, after I mentioned I was researching all my options, but it stayed with me even through the assurances by others. It wore a hole in my resolve and decision-making. I let that one surgeon's attitude undermine me. My first thought on the first day that the pain wasn't there was not "yay." It was less attractive, it was "SEE!"
I feel taller, younger, smarter, stronger - though the surgery didn't change any of those. It's the lack of pain.
Surgery is fine, but the rest of it sucked. The prep, the fasting, the drugs, the drugs, the drugs, and the sitting around and being afraid to cough or laugh. I'm not whining, though - I was so fortunate to have pretty darned non-invasive "procedure." I also have excellent health insurance, choice of surgeons and hospitals, and the time and education to research my options and I take none of that for granted.
My family is absolutely wonderful. My friends are wonderful. The surgeon was wonderful. The nurse who touched my hand when I woke up was wonderful. Everyone was wonderful. The chocolate bar my husband squirreled to my bedside... divine. And no, I'm not on the happy drugs any more. I am just so grateful to so many. Not that getting set on my back like a turtle is something I want to make a habit of, but it sure made me appreciate so many things.
Oh, and 24 hour Turner Classic Movies is the best medicine ever.