Ok, I’m not a good patient. But it is such a weird space to just put your life on hold for 6 -8 weeks. Many things in my life that normally define who I am are gone or changed/shifted – being active, dancing, my clinical work as a counselor, etc. In a way it’s like how I have felt when I have lived abroad – when your friends and families reflection of you is no longer constantly being upheld and you have this blank space from which to create your identity. It is overwhelming but also a refreshing opportunity…a chance to challenge or examine who you are, your choices, actions, habits, and beliefs, and re-create or refine yourself in these new circumstances. Unfortunately, my analogy is limited in that I am not eating gelato in the piazzas of Italy! :)
But my usual resources of moving and being active are unavailable so I am learning new methods to resource and support myself. Watching some new series was good for the first week or so when I was in and out of sleeping and in so much pain. Recently I started watching some Ted talks and listening to inspiring podcasts and that have been helpful. Here is one that I watched today – a fascinating look at new Breast Cancer screening tools beyond mammography – and once again, I am met with how lucky/blessed I am to have found this cancer when I did.
I also really identified with this talk – from an Indian Dancer who used dance as her form of moving through her Breast Cancer.
Having to accept my limitations at the moment is humbling. Doing the most simple daily household tasks is not only challenging but exhausting. My friend said to me today that she heard from a doctor that it takes at least 3-6 months to fully “be yourself again” after a big surgery. I sure don’t feel like myself right now. I feel tender, raw, open, and emotional. I feel shy and humbled as I get to know my new body – as I integrate and process this experience. As like most things in life, you really don’t get it until you go through it, but I do know that this experience will only broaden my compassion and understanding as I work with others in finding their optimal health through movement and counseling.
And I learned from my dear friend that there is “post surgical blues” so as I often say to my clients, naming it, acknowledging it, and normalizing it can help. I know it’s all part of the process but that doesn’t make it easy – especially in the moment. Yes I have moments of frustration with my body but I also have moments of fascination – like sensing when I can lift my arm just a little bit higher than the day before…and this reacquaintance with my body and my movement is like a full rebuilding or re-learning that I know I will be stronger for.
Off to “leg snuggle” with my kids and watch a movie. :)