Recovery, Pain and a Lesson in Humility

11:53 AM

My recovery buddy (when she doesn't feel like eating my hair)
Hey! You can now have my new blog posts sent to your email. Cool.

It's been about four weeks since my laparoscopy, and I'm still not feeling 100 percent. On good days, I'm at about an 85 percent. But today, I think I'm still hovering around 60.

Following yoga on Sunday, I started to feel some bruising behind the incision on my belly button and decided to skip class on Tuesday. I was all ready to go to class on Thursday, until I felt some of my old familiar pain creep in and cause me to completely lose focus at work.

So today, I'm working from home in snowflake pajama pants and with a puppy on my lap, who alternates between snuggling, nibbling on my hands and demanding that I throw a slobber-covered moose squeaky toy...

I've often heard it said that twenty-somethings think they're invincible. While I certainly have had my fair share of life experiences to assure me that I'm not incapable of harm, I definitely don't allow myself enough time to hurt or feel sick. Pain and illness are humbling. They make you realize that you're not a superhero and, often in my case, that you might not be doing a good job taking care of yourself.

In college, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. That really brought me down to earth and made me realize that I was not healthy. I slowly relearned things that used to come naturally to me, like asking a friend to hang out, disclosing personal details about myself and being honest about my limitations. (My GPA was also part of this recovery...) So I started to get better about listening to my mind and body and taking it easy or seeking treatment when I needed to.

But even now, I am not entirely comfortable with just letting my body recover. After my surgery, my first thought was "Okay, when can I go back to the gym?" Not "Okay, when will I feel well enough to walk around for more than an hour and drive myself to work?"

As someone who has always prided herself in being thin and active, sitting on a couch and forcing myself to just be for a day is absolutely maddening. I like to be on the go and meeting my step goal on my phone's pedometer. But today, as pain shoots from my right side down to my ankle, I have to recognize my limitations and accept them. I think that's why I gravitate to yoga so much. It's about knowing where you are, understanding those limits and slowly working past them - not pushing yourself to 110 percent and getting hurt in the process.

So anyway, today, I'm re-learning recovery, humility and patience. It's not entirely fun, but it's absolutely necessary.

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