Most people who know me well completely understand that I put myself first. Sounds awwwwwffffuuul, doesn’t it? Well, maybe to you,……but to me? Sounds completely right. On the majority of days, I do what I want, when I want, without having to give a thought to anyone else.
Obviously I can enjoy this wonderful way of life because I have no
miniature workers children to worry about, and I have always been healthy and completely able to do things without the help of others. I am a very active person. A typical day would include getting my dogs out for a 5k walk first thing in the morning, coming home and feeding both them and myself breakfast, and then going for a 10k run, followed by a leisurely lunch and then perhaps a body weight workout in the afternoon, or shopping…..same thing really. My point is, as a healthy and unencumbered adult, I can do anything I want at pretty much anytime. Nevertheless, this dowhateveriwantitis has NEVER included just laying around.
Major surgery, as it turns out, put a complete stop to all that fun! There are so many things that happen during colon surgery AND during the recovery process. Things that I was completely ignorant about!!! Honestly!! I am being quite sincere about this.
I know it appears dubious, especially to anyone who has ever attended one of my fitness classes, or been coached by me. I am ALWAYS prepared and have everything planned down to the last detail, leaving nothing to chance. Trust me when I tell you that I was caught completely flat footed on this one!
First of all, let’s gab about the weight gain. Weight gain??? C’est impossible!!!! First of all, I went into surgery at 115 pounds. A bit under my ideal weight, but having cancer put a damper on my usual robust appetite. While in hospital, I did not eat anything other than a spoonful of something that looked like microwaved Soylent Green and about a quarter of a bowl of soup from Tim Horton’s that my sisters brought to me. I did the complicated math and figured I probably lost five pounds…so that put me at 110 pounds. NOT attractive, at least for me. However, once I got home I weighed myself NAKED and the scale read 132 pounds. My sister, Wendy, was there to verify my HUGE weight gain. It was official….I was horribly bloated and misshapen!
Now, before I continue, if any of you reading this are shrieking: “132 pounds? My hair weighs more than that, how can she write that she was misshapen? How DARE she think that? I am so offended because this blog is all about ME…..oooooooo wait a minute…..”. That’s right, dear reader…it’s NOT about you and your height, your fitness level, your bone structure, etc., etc. This blog is about MEEEEEEEE. Remember the title of this post?……I only write all this out because once or twice I have casually tossed off the comment about how I would kill myself if I ever weighed over 130 pounds (as it turns out, that was a gross exaggeration on my part) in front of certain people who were completely offended that I made that remark because THEY were over that weight. Again, I only speak to the perpetually offended persons who think that when someone makes a comment like that, it HAS to be about you, it’s NOT about you, it’s about ME!!!
Anyway, there I was naked, on the scale and FREAKING OUT! Obviously it was the IV fluids they had me on the entire time I was in hospital. My thighs were not just touching, they were embracing each other like long lost lovers! My calves were the size of California sequoia trees. My bulging and inflated feet made Sasquatch’s look delicate and dainty. Don’t get me started on my torso!!
Ugh!!! I already felt horrible, now I got to look horrible as well. Jackpot!
I did not have one item of clothing for my lower body that fit. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I became THAT woman that moaned about how she has nothing to wear! It was for realzies though!!! After sobbing to my husband about the fact that none of my pants (or underwear, for that matter) fit me, he at first told me I was exaggerating. When I could not be
sedated calmed down, he suggested HIS clothing. (Yes, yes, yes. He is still very much alive). So…my husbands pajama bottoms it was! Comfy, cozy and oh so fashion forward……..
So I watched my weight come slowly down day after day. I sent my sister daily pictures of me on my scale and the latest number. She never complained about this, though I’m sure she wanted to send me many snarky texts back telling me that I had many, many problems, but this was NOT one of them. The more I moved and the more I drank water (weirdly) the more the weight came off. As of the writing of this I am back down to the weight I was going into hospital.
It would have been super cool, neato and uber helpful had anyone on the medical staff told me about the whole Puffy McPufferson deal. I could have mentally prepared myself for the edema, leaving me free to totally obsess over the fact that the surgery left me feeling completely exhausted and rendering me incapable of even loading the dishwasher. Instead, I had to divide my irrational feelings between two side effects of surgery!
So, this is a whole new thing for me. The utter and all consuming tiredness. Now, to be fair, I was warned that this would happen by the pre admission nurse. She told me that when I got released from the hospital and went home, I would find myself wanting to take a nap several times a day. At the time, I dismissed her crazy talk and smiled at her, the way you would smile at your kindly, but addled, great grandmother when she mutters under her breath “they didn’t do it that way in my day”.
OMG!!! I cannot even begin to describe how entirely worn out and finished I was after merely getting showered and dressed!!! It was an absolutely foreign feeling, and I did not likey. No likey one bit! I honestly felt like I was dying on several occasions. I needed blankets, I needed heat, and I needed sleep!
Now again, all of you rolling your eyes so hard that you are looking down at your ass, just calm down. Obviously to the many mums out there who actually gave birth and are correctly pigeonholing me as being overly dramatic, I would like to say: I ain’t never birthed no babies!!!
Other than a very brief stay at a luxurious and state of the art hospital in the US in 2000, which was for a thyroid operation, where I had a private room and really nice nurses, I’ve never been subjected to any kind of major surgical procedure. Besides…most of you with babies DECIDED to get knocked up and DECIDED to go to the hospital and DECIDED to either have a cesarean section or natural childbirth. I never wanted to have to go through bowel cancer surgery!!! This was not something I had carefully planned!!! Besides, at the end of it all you got to go home with a baby. Me? Twelve cm of bowel removed and five scars to go home with. Hah! Checkmate!Obviously I know that given enough time, I will no longer feel as tired. I am not one to be patient, though, and while this has been a very frustrating experience, it is also teaching me that I CAN relax and that I CAN be allowed just not to do anything.
The fact is, I don’t have to fill up my day with tasks, appointments, errands, exercise and shopping. (It hurt to write that last word). It’s okay to just heal and be calm. I know that at some point my lower pelvis will not look like a giant blow fish. My skinny jeans WILL fit me again, as God is my witness, and I will once again run freely over the plains of Oakville!!
So, moving forward, I am determined to try to relax, be much more patient, be kinder to myself, as well as others, (‘cus believe it or not I can be a grumpy little wookie on occasion) and allow my body to heal at its own pace. I have decided that for right now, it is okay to do almost nothing. My fitness comeback can wait just a little bit longer……
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