On learning my limit and playing within it…

Oh boy.

I did too much.

What the heck?!

How was I to know?  One day you wake up and are fully functioning and the next you are in a hospital bed – not able to sit up.

I am not purposefully trying too hard.  There are no signs that I have to tell me, “Whoa, Stacey!” In fact, I get the impression that I am healing and capable.  I don’t push till I hurt. I push till I think – logically – that’s enough.

My body, these days, does not seem to be my own.  I get the sense that it is going through the physical roller-coaster and my mind went through the mental roller-coaster when I was on chemo.

I listen to my body… seriously.. but it is almost like it is not speaking to me these days.  I am getting to cold and silent treatment one day and the next it lashes out at me in an un-related or deflected anger.

Where do I hurt?  I don’t even know.  Is it muscular?  Is it my bones?  Is it an infection?

I have no fever.  Rule that out.

I have no rips – visible.  Rule that out.

It is soft-tissue related, I think.

A friend of mine suggested that it takes a while for a body to recover from anesthetic.  I was under the knife for six hours.  Maybe.  I hadn’t even thought about that.  This poor old body has been through the ringer over the past six months.  “Sans eyes, sans teeth, sans all,” my parents used to lament about their old age.  I’m not there – but I feel the tone of the poem speaks to my condition.

And so, I lay here – waiting for spring to come!  (In so many ways)

The spring will bring freedom.  By then I will walk, garden, and bike.  I think.

Until then – I need to learn my “new” limits.  This is the most difficult lesson to date.  I thought I knew “who” I was – and now I am someone totally different.  I can’t imagine how it feels for stroke patients to re-learn everything again and to become familiar with their bodies.  Argh.  Frustrating.

Courage?

Not.

Not me.

Frustration?

Yes.

Determination?

Don’t need it – I just need patience.

I think of my Dad often these days as he was, in her latter years, trapped inside his body that was unwilling to do what he wanted it to do.  “I can’t do anything anymore, Stacey”, he would tell me.  And his frustration was, at times, so very obvious.  I had no idea what he felt like and very naively explained that it was okay and I’d help him do what needed to be done.  I was so very wrong.  I am not being hard on myself as it is not fair to wear today’s glasses to view yesterday’s problems.  It is such a tough lesson to learn, though, to not assume you know how another person is feeling – when you have never been there yourself.  Dad learned to be patient.  Not just for him – but for those around him who wanted to help.

Mom did the same.  She was “kicked out” of her kitchen.  Her reputation for her excellent cooking was part of what defined her.  In the end, she just couldn’t do it – her arthritis was so bad.  I had no idea what that must have felt like.  Now I do.  Again, today’s glasses ought not to be worn to view yesterday’s problems… still.

Today – I will take a deep breath in.  Try to exercise patience.  With heat on my back and sheer will on my side – I will “take it easy”.  Whatever that means!

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then, a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then, the justice,
In fair round belly, with a good capon lined,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws, and modern instances,
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

– From Shakespeare’s,  As You Like It

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About inmycorner

This blog began as an opportunity to tell my Dad's stories. I sat with him and the computer and together we told stories. It was a wonderful way to get to know Dad. He was 9. He and Mom had a wonderful life together and since she passed away a year and a half before him - Dad was ready to join her. I no longer tell his stories but have found stories of my own. The impetus to resume this blog was the discovery that I had stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since blogging had been so therapeutic for my dad and I to get through our grief, I felt maybe this would be a good outlet to process my situation. I also hoped it may serve as an outreach to anyone else who is facing this very ominous journey. So far, so good.
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14 Responses to On learning my limit and playing within it…

  1. It is one wild tough ride – sometimes you get the bear, and other days the bear gets you!

  2. Teresa Smyth (Terry) says:

    The hardest lesson to learn after surgery is to take it easy, especially when you know you WANT to get up and go. Yes indeed anesthetic can play quite a roll in recovery. I have 3 surgical procedures since 2005 and that was the hardest lessen was to deal with the fatigue and all that went with that. don’t be too hard on yourself. Let the body heal and in time you will be right as rain. Cheers

  3. kiwiskan says:

    I remember my mum in her 80’s having a wee lie-in and saying to me ‘I feel as though I am being so lazy!’, but sometimes lazy is what our body needs just for a while. Blessings

  4. Gallivanta says:

    Yes, yes, do take it easy. General anaethesia really takes it toll on the body. I couldn’t even eat properly for days. Everything tasted so odd. 😦

    • inmycorner says:

      Oh – Gallivanta I am SO glad to hear that comment about taste. I wondered what the heck happened to me. I really have a hard time eating because I am put off by taste right now. Wonder why? Oh – thank-you. How long until your taste buds returned to normal – and did they ever?

      • Gallivanta says:

        Yes they did return but it was longer than I expected. Possibly about 6 weeks. The only thing I could bear to eat for quite awhile was wholemeal sandwiches with a filling of lettuce, raisins and cheese. Go figure!!! And my operation was only an hour long. So, taste troubles do occur. Just eat what you feel you can even if it seems bizarre like my raisin and lettuce sandwiches. I had a tiny piece removed from spine and it was incredible how fragile it made my back feel. There was something missing and my body knew it. Be gentle with yourself.

      • inmycorner says:

        Your comments are like GOLD to me! Wish someone had told me before now… felt like I was going coo-coo! Okay – raisin and lettuce I shall try. grin. Yeah – I had my stomach cut open and it’s my back that pains me the most.

      • Gallivanta says:

        Yep it’s interesting what we found out about our bodies, which bits support what etc. The other thing I liked, or I could taste, was vegemite, which is a salty, Vit B spread which you may have heard about it. It’s almost our national dish in New Zealand and Australia. We are brought up on it. It’s my go to food in times of trouble. I expect it is something of a comfort food. That went in the lettuce, raisin, cheese and cucumber sandwich!!!

      • inmycorner says:

        I’ve only ever heard about vegemite in a song “I live in a land down under” . Oldie but goodie. Thought they made it up! grin.

      • Gallivanta says:

        Nope, it’s alive and well. 😀

      • Gallivanta says:

        Some folk claim that marmite is better. But marmite is the equivalent of a dirty word in my house. 😉

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