I posted the following on my personal Facebook page today. I am a fan of the Timehop app and check it each day to see what I was up to on this day in previous years. By way of background, I have been unfortunate enough to need two back surgeries in the last ten years. Today, I was reminded that I had my last one three years ago today. Both were successful but recovery was a slow, tentative affair and the second one was significantly harder to return from than the first.
I am sharing this as a quasi blog post because, difficult as they were, I learned a lot from these experiences and it is important to me that I share my own learnings here. There are plenty of self help articles out there online and I have no doubt that someone has posted “The Top Ten Ways To Get Back On Your Feet After Surgery”.
This is NOT that.
This short post relates to my own personal journey. I hope that it can help someone who is struggling back from illness or any other trauma for that matter. It is simply a small message of hope from someone who has experienced the challenge of recovery and come out the other side.
“Hard to believe it’s 3 years since the last back surgery. I’m feeling grateful to be fit and active again because there have been a lot of speed bumps along the way. I am especially thankful to have found a fantastic physiotherapist who has made a tremendous difference and expanded my capabilities.
It has been challenging to deal with two back surgeries but this experience has taught me a lot of positive things. Recovery is a long road and it’s a lonely road at times too. If you are travelling that road, keep the faith, stay the course and go easy on yourself.
Healing takes time and operates at the pace that is right for your body. You can help it but you can’t force it.
Be patient, be as active as you can be – when I was unable to run, I started to walk. Bringing the dog out every day has played a huge part in getting me to here…where I can now enjoy some slow paced, short runs.
I felt very angry initially that lightening could strike twice. I was at peak fitness this time three years ago. I found it really difficult to see other people out running in those first few months of recovery. This is not who I am. I felt like this horrible resentful person had invaded my being.
I was sometimes overwhelmed by uncharacteristic feelings of anger. It took me a while to realise that it was a kind of grieving, a way of dealing with the sense of loss, the failure of my own body.
I’m posting this because there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not the oncoming train. I am posting it as a reminder to myself and others that recovery of all kinds is tough and requires patience and compassion – and compassion starts with the self.
Mostly I am posting this to say THANK YOU to my rock, my Husband. I could not have done it without your love and your monumental support.”