Top Ten lessons while recovering

The last ten days have been an eye-opening, if not down right enlightening adventure in my personal growth. Recovering from major foot surgery, while being completely at the mercy of others, I have learned much about myself and those in my life.

My top ten lessons while recovering are:

1. Asking for help is okay. Not just okay but it is liberating. It is a freedom unlike anything this warrior has ever experienced. I typically do not ask for help, nor do accept help easily. Until now. The simplest of tasks have required help. Lots of help.

2. Being very clear with your language is key. I know where every item in my kitchen is located. I know what color the lids are and what the label looks like. I know if the items are on the left side or the right side. I know if they are in the front or in the back. I assumed everyone else did too. I learned to be very, very clear when requesting which item to get and where it was located.

3. The dog blew my cover. Much to my surprise, the dog does not need 5 mile walks every single day in order to be happy. Really, he is perfectly content sleeping all day and nursing his paws back to baby soft now that he does not see sidewalks for miles on end. My excuse to walk miles and miles each day for the dog has been blown.

4. I really do have an amazing family. Each person has played a vital role in my recovery. Being reliant on each of them has not only helped me to grow but it has opened my eyes further to the depth of love that exists. Simple gestures of kindness and the never-ending willingness to be my runner, meal maker, dog walker, grocery shopper, med manager, shower aide, and overall cheerleader, has been truly remarkable.

5. Joseph Pilates was a genius. The following day after my surgery, I put forth my plan that I had mindfully thought about the days leading up to surgery. I began my routine in bed–Joseph Pilates style. Throughout the last ten days, I have practiced Pilates every day–sometimes just 15 minutes, and other times much longer–all from my bed or my couch. I have implemented many of the exercises that would be in a traditional mat Pilates class. I believe that this obsession practice has helped my body to maintain strength and endurance while I heal.

6. I am not fibromyalgia. The close-minded rheumotologist attempted to make fear my primary feeling going into the surgery. Yes, I have a crazy auto-immune disorder and I have fibromyalgia, but it does not have me. I worked very hard through meditation and visualization to know deep within myself that I am capable of keeping the nasty aches of fibro to just below the surface. I chose faith over fear and I listened to my gut instead of the crazy-fear-based doctor.

7. It really is okay to be vulnerable. The reality is that I have cried, several times. The tears have come not out of pain, but out of frustration. Being the go-getter gal that I have always been, this experience has been a real eye-opener to being still. Each day I look out my window to see the beautiful blue sky and the trees, and my heart yearns to be out there. I crave the early morning nature sounds. I long to have the sun on my face as I walk my mile after mile. I miss the freedom to just get in my car and go.

8. Television IS entertaining. I have always had an aversion to television. Especially in recent years. However, I must admit that Netflix has some really good offerings and I also confess, I am hooked on a few shows. Who knew that the dramatic tales of Breaking Bad or Grey’s Anatomy could be such a great distraction to pain??

9. Multi-tasking may actually be my nemesis. I have always prided myself on my ability to spin multiple plates at once. However, this experience has shown me that attempting to manage multiple ‘projects’ at one time may actually be my downfall. Perhaps not in my work productivity, but in my leisure activity success. Perusing Pinterest, reading my novel, watching Breaking Bad, texting my pals, and logging my pain meds is hard! I have realized that I end up spending too many hours on Pinterest, I cannot recall the entire chapter I just read, I fall asleep watching TV, and I send the wrong text to the wrong people. I am blaming the Vicodin.

10. I like control. Okay, so I probably already knew I liked control before this surgery, but this just moved the spotlight a little closer to my fondness for it. One aspect of control that I have had to struggle with letting go of is the feeling I have about medication. I hate being under the control of needing the med and I hate being under the control of what I feel like an hour after I have taken it. To me control is empowering and liberating all at once. That extraordinary feeling of strength when I know that I am holding the reins of my life; whether it is by the choices I make or who I surround myself with, I like the control that exists within choice. Vicodin sorta blurs all of those feelings.

I love having the opportunity to look at myself as I move through this and to know that I have much to learn and plenty of growth within me. Somehow it makes the toe pain secondary.


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