Before it was a funny line in the movie “Bad Moms,” I used to think to myself, “Gosh if I broke a leg I could just lay in bed, slow down and relax without having to deal with the kids.” If we are being honest, I know I’m not the only one who has thought this. Having kids is hard. Being a working mom is hard. Being a stay-at-home mom is hard. Sometimes we want to slow down and relax. However, what if we HAVE to slow down and relax? I’ve realized it’s not as fun as I thought it would be.
The Harsh Reality of Surgery…
At the end of February I had to have surgery to remove my gallbladder. I’m still in the early stages of recovery and laying in bed and not dealing with the kids is not as fun as I’d thought it would be. Granted I only laid in bed the day of my surgery when I was sleeping most of the time, but I’m realizing that it’s less fun to be down for the count than it is having a bad day with the kids.
I was lucky enough that my surgery was done laparoscopically to minimize recovery time. What I wasn’t completely aware of is that when you have a laparoscopic procedure done the surgeon injects you with gas so he/she can visualize the area. This gas dissipates over the course of a few weeks by walking. Waking up with a bloated and distended abdomen was a shock. I look like I’m six months pregnant again. Fitting into my jeans is an impossibility at this point.
If you’ve read my blog back in December you know that I’m that annoying woman who loves to workout and posts her sweaty selfies as much as she can. Part of my recovery is 30 days of no exercise. I repeat – THIRTY days of no exercise! I knew this fact going into the surgery but now that it’s here it’s harder to deal with. I’m a very active person, my trusty FitBit dictating my life. Now walking to the bus stop has me so tired that I need to sit down for a good 20 minutes to recover. Having kids is mentally exhausting sometimes but the physical exhaustion makes it that much harder.
Please don’t get me wrong – I’m so grateful that there is nothing more serious I have to deal with and I know people have things a lot worse. Some would love for their only problem to be a bloated belly that will go away over time and jeans that temporarily don’t fit and being fatigued. However, I truly believe that a great way to recover is to get back to your normal routine. Right now my normal routine is completely thrown off and it makes my recovery seem that much harder.
I’ve been trying to follow a few simple rules to get through this recovery process…
1. Know This Is Temporary
This is NOT my new normal. It may be my normal for a few weeks but each day I will get stronger and be more active. I might not be able to workout for 30 days but I can walk, and I will be able to walk further each day without becoming exhausted. Each day will bring more strength.
2. Listen To My Body
If I want to remain true to rule #1 then I have to take it easy these first few weeks. Much like exercising you have to listen to your body. You know what you can and can’t do. When that little voice inside me says “Sit Down!” I listen. If I don’t than this exhaustion and recovery WILL be my new normal. Doctors give you post-op instructions for a reason – and I know I need to listen to and follow those instructions. Rest now or suffer later.
3. Accept Help
Thankfully I had a great support system during my first few days of surgery. My mom took off from work and came to take care of me and the kids. My husband worked from home all week and drove my older child to and from all her after-school activities. This normally drives me crazy because no one can do my job like me. The OCD kicks in and I just need to take over. Not this time. I let my husband take full control (minus one or two things) and just focused on doing what I could. If all I could handle was reading my daughter a bedtime book and giving my son a kiss goodnight then that’s all I could do that day.
This surgery has definitely made me rethink my statement of just wanting to break a leg so I could lay in bed all day. From now on I just want to be completely healthy…. and lay in bed all day.