If you have had a life altering surgery, you know that life before surgery and life after surgery are significantly different, not only in your physical being, but emotional and mental as well.
I have my own surgery story, a hip replacement at 15- a few years of intense chronic pain leading up to it, a year of recovery, and now a life with *less* pain.
But this post isn’t about my story. This post is a conglomerate of conversations I have had over the years with others who have gone through some sort of “big time” surgery. I have also reached out to some friends through social media. The question is this, “If you could give words of encouragement to pre-surgery you, from post-surgery you- what would you say?”
In no particular order, here is what I have heard, leaned in to, and lived- sprinkled in with some of my own thoughts, feelings, and inner dialogue. It of course is a mish mash of other peoples experiences, and I can’t emphasize enough that everyone’s healthcare and recovery plans will be different and unique. This isn’t “advice”, so much as words of (hopefully) comfort.
So here it is, a list of words strung together that I hope bring some insight into a moment that so many endure. Words that I wish 15 year old Mari knew.
- Nothing in life is guaranteed, so stop making up stories that have not yet happened.
- Reach out to people who were/are in similar situations. Not to compare, but to know you’re not alone.
- Your normal doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s and that’s more than okay.
- Voice your concerns with your doctors, kindly and loudly.
- Know that existing in the feelings of optimism and peace, while simultaneously feeling struggle, is normal and necessary.
- You are strong enough to get through this. Your path might still have some road blocks, and speed bumps, but you are on your way.
- Stay off of Web MD 😉
- Have some calming breathing and mindful exercises in your back pocket. Physical trauma can rear its ugly head at inopportune times and being able to calm the anxious mind and body will be key
- Your life hasn’t been taken from you, this is just a piece of your life, a part of the grand puzzle.
- Similar to many other areas of our lives, the mind often wants to quit before the body and heart. Train the mind just as hard as you train the body.
- Have a recovery plan and designate support friends and family that you actually feel comfortable asking for help with
- Your doctor works for you, not the other way around.
- Be kind to yourself during recovery, everyone’s road looks different.
- Stop categorizing days as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and start learning to live through everything that is thrown your way with less judgement.
- Life will feel different, it’s not an “if” it’s a “how”… and it’s a learning experience to navigate said new life.
If you have gone through surgery in the past, I would love for you to add your own words in the comments below. Answer the question, “If you could give words of encouragement to pre-surgery you, from post-surgery you- what would you say?”