One week ago I was just coming out of an emergency surgery. I was feeling wonderfully relaxed and pain free as the anesthesia was still coursing through my veins. I was certain that recovery was going to be no big deal – I even told friends and family that. When asked what type of help we’d need I was fairly dismissive – clinging to the idea that recovery would be “low key.”
I was wrong. This last week wasn’t easy.
The pain wasn’t excruciating – just highly uncomfortable. The bigger issue was that my energy was zapped. The exhaustion was amplified by my inability to sleep. The lingering post-laparoscopic air made sitting or laying down highly uncomfortable. All of this combined made me weepy and discouraged. I found myself really wrestling with feeling pathetic.
Simultaneously, there was a certain amount of processing needed when the adrenaline dumped. I had to give myself the freedom to explore how it felt to go to bed fine one night, then suddenly wake up to excruciating pain, and ultimately require surgery.
This past week was humbling. It was hard.
Pockets of Sunshine
But then these beautiful pockets of sunshine found their way into my dreary days.
A neighbor had food ready for us the night I got home from surgery. Thank you, Nataleigh!
My mom came to my house four days in a row, just to show up and do whatever I needed. From laundry to cooking, she loved me in a servant-hearted way. You are the best, mom!
Mid-week our church provided the most delicious meal – to include giant cookies. I appreciate you Lisa, Laura, and Billie! #DontGoBe
A friend spent time with me, sitting and visiting, so I didn’t slip into a mopey mood. Thank you, Cynthia!
A colleague sent me gorgeous flowers. Heather, thank you so much!
A friend dropped off farm fresh eggs. I’m grateful, Joe!
I had more calls, texts, emails and DMs than I can count. Thanks, all!
My sister, a fantastic physician, personally reviewed all my results to provide additional reassurance and perspective. Love you, Rose!
What I learned from my post-op recovery
While I look back on the week, and know I wasn’t my best self, I am certain that my circle of friends and family were. They filled in the gaps for me while I had to take time to catch my breath and let my body heal.
There is immense beauty in being loved deeply on your darkest and hardest days. For the last week, I had nothing to offer any of these people and yet, they served me anyway. Not for what I could do for them but simply for who I am. (Cue tears in my eyes!)
At first, it was hard to receive the help. I much prefer to be the one making the meal, sending the text, or sitting and encouraging. When I yielded to the reality that I needed help, I was able to experience how good it feels when others show up for me.
I could tell it made them feel good too. Which makes sense because I know how much I love that feeling of blessing someone else. I guess it was my turn to be on the receiving end and to allow others to be on the blessing end.
My Hope for You
Last week was not easy. I was thrown a curveball – a medical one. You may be living through your own curveball as we speak. It may be a bad day, a tough week, or something you’ve been wrestling with for a year or more. This is your reminder to yield, shed your stubborn ways, and seek help. Say yes to the meal. Invite a friend over to simply sit and talk. Connect with resources who can support you.
Let’s go ahead and make a pinky promise that we will stop being headstrong and prideful when it comes to needing help. We all need support to get through this crazy, twisty, turvy life. We were not made to exist in isolation and resiliency cannot be developed in a vacuum. Lean into your community of support and allow others to be blessed by showing up for you.