I had to count back the weeks in order to figure out that I’m now at seven months. Seven months and one week to be exact. This is a good thing though.
At last Sunday’s family dinner, I was discussing with my family about how I am waiting to figure out what I’m doing with my life until I hit my new normal. Then my mom said, “Maybe this is your new normal” and that got me thinking.
Right after surgery, I was all about getting better as fast as I could so I could return to all my activities of daily living as soon as possible. In my mind, I would be returning to work after one month or two of recovery and back to the gym by month two for sure. Obviously, this was not the case due to some post operative complications. My doctors as well as my family and friends kept reminding me that I did just have a major surgery and not to push too hard. Recovery can take a year. Over time, my mindset changed from being really gung-ho to I’m not at 100% and need to take it slow. I believe I started to feel like I had a disability because I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.
During my third month of recovery, I returned to work part time and although I was already a happy person, I became a really happy person. I had always known that returning to work was good for your mind but now I had personal proof. I didn’t realize how much I loved my job until I went back. I felt a lot better all around. Unfortunately, I could not work as much as I had hoped for and the feelings of having a disability continued to linger.
After my mom mentioned that I may be at my new normal, I had a huge mental shift. I can’t be disabled for the rest of my life! I am not going to let not having a stomach be a “disability”. It will be more of an ability. An ability to go above and beyond. An ability to show people that you can still function without a stomach and not to feel sorry for me. My story is one of success not sadness.
Completing the Santa run was a challenge but proof that I can still do the physical activities (within reason) that I was able to do before surgery. I started back to the gym last week and have been to two group exercise classes (yoga and a light low impact class). I have been sore every single day of this week due to delayed onset muscle soreness but that’s okay.
I used to count down the weeks closer to one year post surgery because I think I was waiting for something magical to happen and suddenly, I would be back to normal. Back to the way I was at this time last year. But this is not true. I won’t be back to the way I was last year. I’m going to be better.