finding my fly: healing is hard work

2 Oct

When I started find your fly blog I was excited to share my version of the fly life–how to enjoy each day for what it is–be it through looking or feeling your best, cooking and tasting something delicious, trying something new. Life can be so fly and deliciously sweet. Life can also through you a curve ball and break your nose. 

On September, 23rd 2013 I had emergency Disc Microdisectomy Surgery on my L4/L5 disc which is located in my low back. The injury happened 4 years ago but the situation deteriorated suddenly over the weekend of September, 21st. I will spend plenty of time in the coming weeks/months discussing my journey to this point but for now I recognize the need to share this process that I’m experiencing in it’s most raw and present form.

I’m spending a lot of time in my head. Which is not the norm for me. I am open almost to a fault. I feel my feelings, talk about them, move through them efficiently–things don’t really get to me. So this near constant internal dialogue going on in my mind from the time I wake up to when I go to sleep is exhausting.

Let me back up and say–physically I’m okay, the procedure went perfectly. The healing time is long but the pain has mostly subsided at this point save some tenderness where, ya know, they cut into my spine and what not. In one week’s time I’ve reduced my pain medicine intake from 2 Oxycodones every 4 hours plus two Dilaudids for breakthrough pain on top to just one or two Oxys a day. I hate taking pain meds. I find them to be cloudy and I will be completely off of them as soon as humanly possible. Just not for me. I’m walking better each day though still with a cane. Prior to the surgery my right leg went numb from pelvis to toes and that is the last thing to often heal. So, physically things are moving in the right direction, everything is going as expected.

But healing is hard to do. And here are a few observations to drive that point home:

1. Meds make you cranky, irritable and irrationally annoyed by well-meaning people. Seriously, I’ve been keeping my distance from folks as much as possible because I’m so bitchy, even just in my mind right now. I will have a full on conversation in my mind right now that goes something like this:

*Person, who’s done nothing wrong says/does something*

Danni Voice #1: OMG I can’t believe he/she said that stupid thing/asked that stupid question, they are so stupid and annoying and her hair is really ugly.

Danni Voice #2: Why are you getting so annoyed? That was a totally reasonable, normal thing that person just did/said.

Danni Voice #1: I think they are a stupid poophead and I want them to go away. 

2. Answering the question “How are you feeling?” is nearly impossible. I’m feeling so many things. And the things I’m feeling as I’m answering the question how I am feeling feel things. My feelings have feelings and they are feeling things. And I’m going to try and turn all those feelings into coherent statements of fact. Physically I feel better, no nerve pain, but I also feel stiff and my leg is numb and so is my butt hole and I can’t bend over a pick up that string cheese wrapper that fell next to my trash can two days ago my god can someone please pick up the string cheese wrapper before I burn the house down, no but really I’m feeling better everyday. See? And please don’t let that question come in the version of a text message because I can only muster enough to glance at the phone, scowl and set it back down.

3. I don’t know how to cut myself slack. I just had major, risky, emergency spine surgery 9 days ago and I actually questioned whether or not I was justified to feel like laying down twice this afternoon. It’s not like my body is healing a deep wound or anything, like, one….right…down….to….the…bone. If I don’t learn how to cut myself slack on the heels of this I am in for some serious challenges as I continue through this life of mine.

4. Recovery is not linear. It is not linear and it is not swift and I think I need to better manage my expectations and in turn others expectations of me and my ability to be present and productive at the moment. In conversation with my dad this evening I mentioned how there isn’t even DISCUSSION of physical therapy until my 6 week follow-up (the first time I’ll see my surgeon since the procedure) he put into context what that means: “They have folks with knee replacements in PT within three days of surgery to get them rebuilding. The fact that they won’t even talk to you about getting stronger until 6 weeks should tell you something about how long HEALING is. They don’t want you even focusing on what the rest of your life looks like for the first 6 weeks, they want your wound to heal, that is your only responsibility. You need to take that very seriously. We’re not talking weeks of recovery here baby, you need to adjust your timeline to months.” Damn.

5. Spending a lot of time at home has me eating ALL THE FOOD. Even though the food I have at home is homemade and with good ingredients and isn’t fried or anything like that it IS possible to eat too many greek yogurt, fruit and granola parfaits. Boredom, sadness, irritation, etc. Gotta get it under control–it doesn’t make me feel good, just full.

So what’s next for me? Hell if I know, this is all new to me. I’m learning as I go along. A few things that I know need to happen are:

  • I need to walk 30 minutes a day–Doctor’s Orders.
  • I need to eat less.
  • I need to treat myself with love and patience.
  • I need people to keep encouraging me. I do appreciate it. Also, please visit me and take me to do things that take my mind off healing!

So here’s to appreciating the journey I’m on for all that it is and all that it is not.

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