Okay, so, I never expected a Hallmark-like Christmas movie to teach me some lessons that I needed over the last couple weeks, but if you’re in the mood for a predictable Christmas romance with a side of sports psychology, Falling for Christmas on Amazon Prime has your name written all over it.
So let’s recap the last month. A month ago tomorrow I had a hysterectomy (and the peasants rejoiced! Best decision ever–long overdue, I’m beyond pleased with the choice to have had this surgery). Because I don’t make any choice lightly, I knew all about the recovery going in…that I’d be going from full throttle to zero and having to build up again. Looking at the calendar and hearing the words, “you won’t be permitted to WALK any distance until Thanksgiving and don’t even think about getting on your bike or swimming until Christmas” stung a lot. It also made a lot of sense too because with the workload this time of year, I could be easily distracted in other directions to hold off from the depression of not engaging in the stress-releasing activities I’ve come to love and crave. I put the plans in place. I built up the mental arsenal. I surrounded myself with the people I needed to keep me sane and positive in the recovery process–to remind me of the end-goal. I was ready to attack this new training, if you will. “I got this.”
The best laid plans.
Don’t get me wrong. Surgery went off beautifully, sans an allergic reaction the night following surgery from some latex products and adhesives used. But was I prepared? Kinda…
First of all, I’ve decided never listen to a man when it comes to the initial stages of healing from a gynecological surgery. No offense guys, great surgeon and all, I chose him for a reason (because I fired more than one before settling), but…just…no. Thank goodness I’m not stupid enough to have just one professional on my team and my surgeon isn’t the “lead doctor” I deal with anyway, so, I was able to get some other care as needed, but let’s just say it was rough.
Based on the recovery timeline I had been given, I anticipated being in less pain, more mobile at home, and more “with it” sooner than I was…not the case. I also managed to bust open one of my incisions less than a week post-op because instead of traditional sutures they used dermabond (basically surgical super glue. Dumb.). As I was barely transitioning back to the office for just a couple hours at a time (all I could handle with the fatigue), I was hit with intubation-induced bronchitis from my weakened immune system (shout out to you, valley fever!) and just within the last couple days have been okay to shed the super attractive medical mask that I’ve had to wear in public to protect myself.
At my first follow-up appointment I was cleared to start walking short distances as I felt up to it (ahead of schedule mind you, because my physical healing was looking good), but this was smack in the middle of the bronchitis, so I wanted nothing more than the coughing to stop so I could sleep more. I think I’ve slept more in the last month than I have in the last six combined. Didn’t start walking until a few days later, and let me tell you, I almost cried…it was tortuously beautiful to move my body after being in bed and barely moving for weeks. You don’t realize how you take movement for granted until you truly can’t do it.
Eating was another awful challenge. It has only been in the last week that I have really had a regular appetite again. I really had no hunger sensation, nothing sounded good, no cravings, and it was so hard to figure out when and what to eat initially after surgery. Then once I got sick it was worse because I just felt so miserable! I got really concerned because I was losing weight quickly which didn’t make sense because other than working in my office, I was in bed close to 20 hours the majority of days. It’s still messing with my head because even though I’m moving again and up a bit longer these days (hey, I can put in six hours now, eight on a split shift with a nap), and my body/abdomen is still swollen from surgery for likely a few more weeks, I’ve lost upwards of twenty pounds. That took a LOT of talking down from one doctor and my sports registered dietitian to understand it was normal and okay!
Fast forward to today…I’m really pleased that I’m able to move more as it brings a lot of relief to the discomfort that I still feel. Sitting upright for long periods of time is very hard on me physically and makes me quite fatigued as well. Naps are still my friend. Walking really helps to stretch out those uncomfortable areas and I’m able to walk once or twice a day a fair distance…time to build stamina again. I’m also able to do some very modified strength and yoga workouts (have to be careful of my 10lb lifting limits, not engaging my core too much yet, and twisting). Next week starts a new phase of recovery/PT that will incorporate some new workouts to help with all that jazz. Itching for my bike desperately…but I’m listening, and won’t ride until I’m told…but I’m certainly weighing the options on what Sufferfest ride will be first! Swimming, eh, no love lost there…it’ll still be there when I’m ready and cleared for it, especially with my immune system right now, I want to be 100% positive all is healed and okay before getting in the pool anyway.
Also, I’m beginning to see some of the intended benefits from surgery start to peek out despite recovery not being as linear as I had hoped. There are several conditions linked to my overall health and wellness, and some other concerns that spawned the final decision to finally bite the bullet and have this surgery (it’s been a long time coming), and again, so glad I did. As I continue to recover, build my strength and stamina, and enter into my next racing training cycles fully healthy, I am extremely interested to see some of the changes and new surprises my body will have in store for me. It’s exciting.
I’m not a new year’s resolution person. We all know I’m a calculated and systematic goals kinda gal, but mark my words: 2020 is going to be a year like no other. Buckle your seat belts, friends, there’s so much more to come. Stay tuned.