I really did mean to do this a day or so after surgery – but this experience has taught me that sometimes it is okay for things to happen at the pace they occur and no faster.

Days 1-3 – Winning
I felt pretty amazing!! Okay, so there was a little surgical discomfort but everything was manageable. I have 6 incisions, and was informed that surgery took a little longer than planned because I had substantial bowel adhesion from my appendectomy. All in all, I felt great. Pain was easily controlled with ibuprophen every six hours. I take a fantastic cocktail of laxative, flax seed oil, and probiotics – henceforth to be referred to as pro-flax-lax. {Back story: After the appendectomy my digestive tract didn’t ‘wake up’ for a while and I discovered that flax seed oil is a very persuasive intestinal lubricant. (Hey – not over-sharing. There IS a woman out there who NEEDS this information!)} The only time I took the ‘hard stuff’ for pain was at bed time, mainly so I would sleep deeply and not be woken up by my bed-mate’s snoring. I had surpassed all the mile markers, moving well, figuring out how to use my arms and legs to get up and down, instead of those core muscles we train ourselves to utilize. Walking, eating gut healthy foods, and no naps. I had it all under control. I was warned by a number of well meaning friends, that I would feel an emotional void where my womb was. That there would be a period of separation or mourning my womanhood. For my circumstance that turned out to be a bunch of well meaning blah blah. I’m sorry if they felt that loss. I, however, did not. This surgery was, for me, the end of a 30 year bodily stand off between me and my girl parts. It was a hostage situation and my doc was the hit man (woman). I win!

Days 4-5 – The Wall
I met that metaphorical ‘wall’. Two days of being home a lone. No one to entertain. No one to tell me to get out of bed – so I didn’t. I woke up long enough to feed/water the dogs and cats, let the dogs out the back door, feed and medicate myself, potty, then back to bed. For two days.
Day 6 I woke up to my momma calling to see if I wanted to go to the bulk food store a few miles away. Okay. I need to shower and do something other than sleep. We were only gone about an hour. While we were away, the elderly dogs got into the recycling AND trash. I couldn’t fix it. My 70 year old mother had to sweep and clean up that mess. Apparently, and not discovered until much later, the cats flipped their litter box, peed in the mess (and the dogs grazed in it)…and again, I couldn’t fix it. Somewhere in the middle of day 6 (after I had returned to my one woman pity party nap time) I noticed that the supply line for the toilet had a little leak. I couldn’t fix it. I couldn’t fix a damned thing!! I became very frustrated – very very frustrated.
The fella came home from a 12 hour day in food service to a drippy toilet, cat litter all over the floor of the mud room (sans poop because the dogs had done their part to help), laundry from the day before, and me standing over the laundry he brought up, crying because I couldn’t do anything else than fold the damned laundry – and OH MY GEEZ!! Is it hot in here??
So apparently estrogen rules the world – or at least makes it a more bearable place. Six days out of surgery and I finally ran out of estrogen to become that sad, angry, bat-shit crazy woman you see in the sitcoms. With absolutely no hesitation, and because I value my relationship and my own sanity, I quietly stepped into the bathroom and applied my first estrogen patch. I am not ashamed. I have a far better understanding of why my menopause aged customers were scary mean and able to drop horrible berating comments without pause. I have walked the edge of that abyss. I have seen the dark side….and there were no cookies. Two hours later I felt like I was myself in my skin again. I know this person and I’m okay with her.

Day 7 – Redemption day
Today made up for the last few. I woke up at 9. Ate. Took my ibuprophen, and pro-flax-lax (because it works!!), went out with the dogs, tidied up the kitchen a bit (because today I don’t feel totally useless!), took a 1/2 mile walk up the road and around the church TWICE! I watched an entire movie without falling asleep. The fella and I went to the park and walked a nice (flat-ish) trail by the river. We came home, made supper, and watched The Walking Dead like a normal couple. Today wins! Today is what tomorrow will be like – and many more tomorrows, because I am fortunate. I am fortunate to have a patient and persistent support system. I, however, am a stubborn, hard-headed, and proudly self reliant woman who HATES asking for help.

The websites and brochures tell you what to expect. How to prepare. What to do the day before/day of/and days after surgery. What constitutes an emergency. What they don’t prepare you for is how to get over yourself. Not a single article or blog that I read prepared me for how to let go and let someone else. Nothing tells you how to ask someone to go to the bathroom with you the first day, just in case you have a hard time getting back up from the toilet…or in the event that you use the last square of toilet paper. (Yeah, that may have happened.) Not a single blog prepares you for the fact that leggings are comfortable (and the light compression is nice), but they are really hard to get from ankle to knee with six incisions in your belly…but damn it! I’m doing this! Blogs didn’t prepare me for hearing my fella, the nervous caretaker, ask if I need a new pad.

The hardest part of this experience has been getting over my own pride. This life lesson: humility. Being a hard headed, proud, self sufficient woman is a beautiful thing. Having someone – or if you are fortunate – more than one someone who can help you, will help you, who does help you with no hesitation or parsimony…that is a beautiful thing.

Week 1 – Humility and Gratitude

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