In recent weeks I have ended up back in bed again with pain and infection after what had been a good recovery after my hysterectomy in October!
Why? Chances are I have been doing 'too much'. But how do you know what is 'too much'? Some days I wake up and I feel so very, very good and want to do all the things I would do normally. So I try ...then later on hit what feels like a wave of exhaustion when even standing up is too much.
We went out for dinner to friends a couple of weeks ago - on the way there Clive warned me that he had told our hosts that we couldn't stay late due to me getting tired. I almost felt insulted at the suggestion and stubbornly declared that we'd leave when it seemed right to do so. The company was wonderful; food even better but at 10.30 p.m. it was as if someone had flicked a switch inside me! Clive was right ... and we left.
I am not used to my body letting me down when mentally I am determined to make a full and quick recovery!
So for the past few weeks I am having to say 'no' to certain things and pace myself. It means I am not able to do things - yet - which I want to, but hopefully it will mean a better recovery in the long run. I was warned at least 12 weeks and I am only at 9. So I must be a patient patient! I had intended working on my next book over the past weeks but my attention span isn't as good as usual.
Yesterday and today I have begun to make my way through my email box and line up some blog entries. But I also feel I should perhaps practice what I preach and be good to me! By doing that it makes it better for those around me too. I often speak of my HANZAK principles of patient care. So how can I make them apply to me now?
HOPE and HONESTY
I have been inspired by the forums and information at http://www.hysterectomy-association.org.uk/
It is a good feeling to know that the aches, pains and concerns you have are the same as others! I have had messages from many telling me how their lives have been better after the op and I am keen to join those ranks! We all get strength from hope and the will to make things better.
My relationships with others and myself have been challenged over these weeks but we have all learnt that honesty is best. There is no point me pretending I feel okay if I don't as I know we shall all pay the price later!
I often say that when people are ill mentally they need the same TLC as those suffering physically and need support and acknowledgment that they are not well. Yet post-op it is the same except it is ME that has had difficulty in accepting this! My body has been bombarded with chemicals, had major surgery and parts removed with physical scars, most of which are internal, yet some days I have reacted as if nothing has happened! In trying to do too much I have made myself poorly which in turn impacts on those around me. It is hard to find that balance between not being a martyr but equally not being Superwoman! I guess a balanced, sensible attitude is the answer. Sadly I have postponed some events for January but hope to rebook them when I am stronger.
I need to make a full recovery but what will help me?
Nurture - everyone around me has made me feel special and cared for. I really appreciate this.
Education - learning about the operation and what can be expected is good. I am going to a physiotherapy group next week for others like me!
Exercise - I made a good start with this with walking but confess this has not been as consistent. I am keen to get the okay from my consultant to get back to Pilates and using some fitness DVDs in the lounge!
Diet - Christmas is always a greedy time but I am keen to get my diet better in the New Year. We have just booked a cruise for September so I have a vision of me in a little black dress I want to get back into!
Sleep - I am aware how important this is and make sure I get plenty! I have been treated to breakfast in bed several times!
Recovery should be about having fun too and taking care of myself. It was amazing the lift I got from having my hair and nails done after my last infection. Each day I try to do something constructive but also balance it with a fun thing. Dominic and I sat through 3 hours of Avatar at the cinema last week, munching popcorn. It was his choice but I found I loved it! I am also having a lot of pleasure with the arrival of baby Ruby - Clive's niece's daughter.
She is so dainty that I am knitting her more tiny cardigans - fun, relaxation and construction all in one go!
Recovery is also a team concept! I found by putting on a brave face and overdoing things I got poorly and made life worse for those around me. I have learnt to accept help graciously and with gratitude.
I have needed to learn to be kind to me! My internal dialogue has needed to be modified into a more positive yet sensible one, e.g. physically I am not up to certain things but clearing my desk and inbox little by little will help me in the long run. Sitting around moping won't help but small actions will.
So as I face the end of 2009 I feel optimistic about 2010. It has been a rollercoaster year but as my late Grandma used to say 'if you have your health, you have everything'. So on that basis with continued recovery ... I will!
Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2010,