So it is 8 weeks post op! WOW what a whirlwind it has been! I have moments where I feel like I have made killer progress and moments where I feel like I am months away from feeling like myself again! All in all I know I am making tremendous progress! I have come a really long way (baby)! Yes, there is still more to go but I have a lot of success to celebrate! I thank God every single day that my surgery was successful and there were no complications! I also thank Him for being with me during every single step of this process!
As I reflect on the past 8 weeks I want to focus on all of the lessons I have learned. I have been blessed with amazing experiences, amazing “God moments”, kindness & love, and amazing people. There were also times of tremendous pain and very deep sadness. This #surgeryrecovery process has been one intense & overwhelming roller coaster (please remember intense and overwhelming don’t always mean negative). I know this surgery and post op journey are all part of God’s plan; I am doing my very best to embrace it, “enjoy the ride”, and not be anxious, sad or angry. I’ve been very blessed to have had a lot of “alone” time with Jesus during this recovery journey and He has blessed me to truly allow me to feel His presence!
As I reflect on the past 8 weeks, there is a LOT I have learned. I have had some AMAZING experiences!
Here are some things I have learned during my surgery recovery:
– Prepare! AKA stockpile! When you are being told you can’t drive for a min of 6 weeks, STOCK UP on every day supplies: tissues, toilet paper, paper plates & plastic forks and spoons (sorry, environment you have to take one for the team – post op is NOT the time to be doing dishes). Also, cook and freeze some meals! Do what you can to stock up to make the un-drivable 6 weeks bearable!
– Follow the doctor’s orders! The surgeon knows best! Take notes and read the hospital release forms! And don’t be afraid to call the doctor with questions, thankfully my surgeon’s team is AAAAMAZING!
– Ask for help. Ohh this one sucks when you are super independent but you can’t do it all and NEED help. And thank God (literally) for your family & close friends and ASK for help.
– Don’t plan on being productive during your recovery period! Your brain will be mush and you will have the attention span of a fly! Don’t get mad or frustrated with your lack of productivity, embrace where you are in this moment!
– Have a lot of “fluff” books. You won’t have the brain power for anything heavy or meaningful so have lots of fiction “pool books” in queue.
– SLEEP! Don’t judge your sleep pattern or the amount of hours you sleep a day. Your body is healing so embrace your need to sleep. Though if you can control it TRY not to let your days and nights become confused; it sucks!
– Unfortunately a major surgery like this does what any other “big life event does” – it shows you who your true friends are and who your acquaintances are. This isn’t a bad thing, though it may feel like it at the time. And, it gives you the chance to be extra grateful for your true friends!
You will have pain and discomfort like you have never known before! In the early weeks of post op make sure you stay ahead of the pain and be diligent with the pain meds. Talk to the doc before trying to wean off the meds 100%. Accept some discomfort (like the feeling that someone is literally choking me) is going to last for many months but that the true harsh pain should keep going down with time, but not on your timeline!
– Make sure you send thank you cards to your friends and family who help you during this crazy time! People love knowing they are appreciated. And at times like this it is super important to appreciate your village! It should go without saying that you should never ever take your people for granted. And if you are crazy like me, you will purchase the thank you cards in a theme you love pre surgery to be prepared!
– People really DO mean well. Sometimes people say and promise things and don’t/can’t follow through. I won’t lie; it sucks MAJORLY, especially when you are at a time in your life when you have to depend on people. It truly does cut like a knife when a friend doesn’t follow through or breaks a promise they made. All you can do is let it go, pray for them and wish them well. Remember that they mean well but they just can’t do what they said. Change your focus to the friends you have and who are there for you! Be thankful for your friends who did keep their word and who were by your side during this crazy time.
– Take the laxatives! Don’t question it just take them! Do not pass go and do not collect $200.
– If you are blessed to have a friend who is a nurse, be thankful! You get to ask all kinds of questions and have very serious conversations about poop. Yes, poop, it is a big issue during post op while taking pain meds. Also, accept that you will have many conversations and prayers about poop! It is what it is peeps!
– If you are taking pain meds – eat prunes daily, it will only help you, trust me (see above comment)!
– Get Amazon Prime! You will need it more than you think. Especially at 3am when you can’t sleep and you are taking pain meds! Though I am super proud to say NONE of my surgery recovery purchases were frivolous, well accept the one #blessed baseball had I needed, but I really did need a new baseball hat!!!
– You will watch a TON of dog and cat videos on Facebook – embrace it and stock up on tissues!
– When your sleep is backwards you can chat with your East Coast friends as they are just waking up because you are bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4am PT!!! I will miss responding to my sister when she texts me as she is just waking up, it was fun while it lasted!
– Be super grateful for DoorDash! Make sure you make the most of in during the first couple of weeks before you lose your appetite! Ohhh and be open because God may just use DoorDash to bring you a new friend!!!! Accept the fees as part of the recovery and just move on!
– Instacart is amazing! And here is a trick each grocery store gives you “free delivery for your first order” so order from a new store each time you place an order #leone!
– Pray for your people! Pray for your true friends who were there and really helped you and made sure you knew you were loved and thought of. And pray for the people who made promises they couldn’t keep. Pray for your people!
– Getting a refill on your narcotic prescription will require enormous patience and a LOT of phone calls. I do understand the major epidemic in our country but my insurance company KNOWS I literally JUST had surgery! There needs to be a better process in place!
– Emotions run high, don’t judge just accept it. Have lots of tissues and be prepared to cry at commercials, at silly movies you have seen 3 dozen times and at all of the cat and dog videos you watch.
– Be kind to yourself! The recovery process is NOTHING like you think it will be! Your capabilities are nothing like you think it will be! Be kind, don’t judge and just embrace it all!
– Do not make any major life decisions during post op; your world is turned upside down, you are a beautiful emotional mess. Avoid big decisions when possible!
– Surgery recovery is a CRAZY roller coaster! Buckle up and enjoy the ride! You can’t control it so you might as well stay in the moment, be grateful and truly enjoy the ride!
This surgery journey has been beautiful, blessed, intense, overwhelming and all around crazy! I wouldn’t change a thing (other than my sleep being backwards)! God has blessed my pre-op preparation, my actual surgery and my post op time! I hope this blog at least made you giggle, you know I like to take super heavy life moments and make the best out of them!