Dear Friends and Family,
It’s only been 8 days since my surgery. A week ago I was hooked up to IVs, needing a chaperone for any and all bodily functions, and my wardrobe consisted of my oh-so-sexy hospital gown that highlighted my derriere. Although for some unknown reason my backside was covered in iodine from surgery, which baffled me as my incision was above my belly button – fairly far away from my sexy bum. Did they think they were going to have to make a detour? Thankfully they did not. My surgeons successfully repaired two hernias that were markedly smaller than they had appeared at my last doctor visit and they did not have to resect any bowel (a huge relief!). Divine intervention perhaps? All my prayer warriors must have been busy because what was supposed to be a 4-6 inch incision measured in at 1.5 inches. If I could lose the pooch I might even agree to wear a bikini again one day.
Speaking of pooch… I thought it was funny when my surgeon told me “We aren’t used to operating on someone with such great stomach muscles! Most people with hernias don’t have 6-packs. Well, actually, you kind of have a 12 pack because your stomach muscles are split down the middle due to your weak connective tissue and two babies. We couldn’t pull things tight because of that so you are going to have to live with a pooch.” So I have great muscles (although my 33-year-old metabolism, medications, and months at a time of bedrest invited a layer of fat to hide these muscles) but they do nothing for me as they aren’t really in the right place, like the rest of my abdominal and pelvic organs. In the words of my grandmother – “I’m a thrill a minute.”
Considering all of this, I am doing amazingly well today. Moving around on my own, eating real food, showered and shaved and even went on a naughty 30 minute outing to Loews to help Josh pick out paint and rug samples for our basement renovation. Right now I am sitting outside taking in some Vitamin D and marveling that I am actually upright. By medical standards my recovery is nothing short of remarkable. Emotionally it’s been a bit of a roller coaster, as it always is when I am stuck in bed for any length of time. It becomes a spiritual battle to fight apathy, self-pity and make the best choices moment by moment for my body, mind and spirit. But, fight on we do, and as of today I’d say God’s winning and helping me “make the next right choice.”
Once again I am humbled and astounded at the generosity, care and concern of you, my friends and family. My life is a prime example of the “It Takes a Village” mantra. Thank you so very much to those of you who have prayed, sent cards and flowers, prepared meals, done errands and called to say you were thinking of us (even when I don’t answer the phone — seeing your name flash on my phone, or listening to a voicemail, lifts my spirits and gives me that boost I need to stay connected to the world when I feel isolated in my bed). My parents put their lives on hold (again) to care for my children, keep the house running smoothly and support Josh while he took care of me at the hospital and after. Because of their selflessness, I am healing well and my family’s lives have been able to keep some sense of normalcy. I love you Mom and Dad! Thank you for caring for your little girl so lovingly – no matter how old I get.
And most of all, I want to thank my loyal and steadfast husband, Josh. Having a chronically ill spouse is incredibly difficult — and just as it is hard for him to completely understand what I am going through, I am sure I don’t truly comprehend the burden and stress that follows him around every day as he tries to stay afloat supporting me and our sweet (yet troublesome :-)) boys. You are a provider in every sense of the word. I know I am an expensive gal between medical insurance, medical bills and all the extras that pop up as we navigate through this journey. You work hard – quietly, steadily and with integrity. You give me the gift of not having to worry if we can afford treatment or medicine. I know you worry, but you try to shield me from it. And you have provided more than I could have ever dreamed of at this point in our lives. And when I drain you of emotion and energy, you love me the best you know how. You are loyal. It’s no secret that most marriages where there is chronic illness end in divorce. But we are defying that statistic. This past week you have once again stood right beside me. Thank you for staying at my bedside hour after hour. Thank you for the tender way you fed me ice chips, fetched ice packs and changed my hospital gown when those ice packs leaked all over … all while sleep-deprived and weary sleeping on that hard “bed” (or not sleeping – I know you never truly slept). Thank you for being my fierce protector when the nurse wouldn’t get me my medications, for fighting for me when I was crying in pain until I got what I needed, and for being ever vigilant from the moment we entered the hospital to the moment we left. Once home, thank you for bringing me my medications exactly when I needed them and for forcing me on my feet to walk around when all I wanted to do was lay in bed and feel sorry for myself. It’s never easy for you to know when to be tender and when to be tough — all that practice must have paid off because this time I think we got it right. Thank you for staying engaged with all the extra people in the house when your introverted self so desperately needs alone time to stay sane. Thank you for loving on our boys extra and never letting your exhaustion or frustration impact your fathering. Thank you for honoring the vows we made on our wedding day even though their has been a whole lot more “in sickness” than “in health.” It’s been hard and messy, but it’s been worth it. I love you, babe.
Humbled and Grateful,