I’ve described how utterly weak and helpless I was upon returning home from the hospital. We have 3 rather small steps up to the front porch and then one step up into the foyer of our house. The day my husband drove me home from the hospital, I remember feeling as if my legs were climbing Mount Everest with each step and almost not having the strength to step up and into the house. What a relief when I did!
The thoughts that swirled through my head included, when will I feel “normal” and like myself again? Will I ever? I wanted to have the surgery, remove the blockage, get my strength back and feel great right away – but of course it doesn’t happen that way. Surgery in and of itself is a major assault on the body. Add to that the weight loss, dehydration and what I was feeling was perfectly normal physically. Just as a broken bone doesn’t usually heal overnight (unless God performs a miracle, which certainly can happen), recovering from major surgery takes time and patience. I know I have no control over time – it will pass and how I perceive it determines whether it seems slowly or quickly. It’s that second ingredient – patience – I found most challenging.
I’m used to being physically strong. However, besides needing to regain that strength, replace lost muscle (even though it takes time and effort to build muscle, it seems you lose it rather quickly when you don’t use it – it doesn’t seem fair somehow) and regain lost weight, I had to wrap my mind around the fact that this was my new normal for at least 8 weeks.
Now I did realize how blessed I was that this was all just a temporary condition and that it was not permanent. However, each day when I went to jump off the couch, it was painfully obvious to me that I was still sore, weak and tired. When was my strength going to return? Even more critical, when would I begin gaining my weight back so the surgeon would be able to safely do the reattachment surgery. My appetite was ravenous! My body must’ve been saying – send food here – I need food! I was eating non-stop that first week home. And yet I lost a pound! I was so discouraged. I knew if I wasn’t able to at least get to 100 lbs the doctor would postpone the surgery further and that was definitely not something I was willing to let happen.
Well, rather than stay discouraged, I just kept doing what I knew to do and what my body was telling me it needed and in week two I had gained 4 lbs! I’ve never been so happy to say I gained weight and I’m sure no one had ever heard anyone that happy about putting on a few pounds.
Our entire society is used to immediate results. We have forgotten what it’s like to have to wait for results. We get fast food from a drive thru, we text and snap chat and whatever other thing we do that gets an immediate response. If we are overweight, we expect to go on a “diet” and lose 20 or 50 lbs in a week or two even though it likely took us years to put it on. While I lost that weight over the course of about a month, I knew it was going to take more than a week to put it back on.
Knowing and really knowing are two different things, if you get my drift. You can know this intellectually and still expect a different result. There were different milestones or hurdles I had to get past each week as my strength increased until I was able to have that second surgery. I found it encouraged me to make a list of each small hurdle (remember those baby steps) and cross it off as I achieved it. It felt empowering. But time and patience were the main ingredients needed to reach the final result.
What challenges your patience most?
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