About Me

Thursday, 1 March 2012

A New Normal

This blog is about my experiences during the first few months post surgery.

 It was May 2011 when we arrived back home to Melbourne, after the surgery in Brussels.

Now began a new chapter, with its own challenges, hurdles and little victories.

I was having a lot of pain and spasms in my left arm and neck, which meant that simple everyday tasks had become not so simple anymore and required a lot of effort and planning.

 It was obvious I was experiencing neuropathic damage as a result of surgery and the location of the tumour, but it was unknown how much of it was permanent and how much improvement I would achieve in time.

Once we settled back home, I started going to intensive rehabilitation, which included physiotherapy and occupational therapy, as well as a variety of daily exercises and tasks to do at home. The goal was to strengthen and increase mobility in my left arm and neck as much as possible.

Rehab was, and still is to this day, a long and slow process.

Apparently nerves take a long time to heal and patience and persistence are key factors. Lucky I have both, but at times the progress was so minute, I felt like a turtle trying to cross the Sahara desert...

Sleeping at night was difficult in those first months as the pain would increase when I was lying down so it meant I was tired during the day and needed lots of rest.

It was winter in Melbourne.

Dave was back at work (someone had to bring home the bacon, I mean spinach!), my friends had their jobs and their lives, and I sometimes felt like I was living on an entirely different planet to the rest of the world....

Overall, it was a massive adjustment period for me and I slowly learned what my ‘New Normal’ looks like.

I found out (the hard way, time and time again!) what my limits were, my boundaries, how much I could stretch myself before I would have to pay a heavy price of pain and exhaustion.

I kept myself super busy during these months, with a routine of meditation, counselling, support group, rehab, appointments and exercise.

And then one day I realised something during a Kinesiology session.

It was my first session with the therapist and the first thing he told me after running some quick muscle tests was that the most important thing for me is to really and truly trust that my body can heal itself, even if I don’t actively do a thing.

This made me realise how I have ‘tackled’ my healing process in the same old way I have tackled everything in life- with being super organised, disciplined and basically trying too hard, doing too much.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, but in the process, I’ve started to feel stressed, overwhelmed with the ‘to do’s’ and my healing journey was accompanied by feelings of never doing enough.

It was time to slow down, yet again!

In hindsight, I think it was my way of gaining some control in a situation where there was so much uncertainty.

So I’ve reduced the amount of things I was doing, my days freed up and as a result I started doing things because I wanted to, not because I ‘needed to’.

Especially my daily practice of meditation and guided imagery.

I stopped being so rigid with my practice, thinking that if I don’t meditate at a certain time at a certain place- than it doesn’t count. How silly to think that!

I granted myself the luxurious permission to meditate in bed in the morning if I felt like it or before I went to sleep at night and to relax with a guided meditation CD whenever I felt like it, in whatever position was comfortable for me.

I started to actually enjoy meditation! It was no longer an activity I had to tick off my ‘daily healing list’ but a real tool to relaxation, grounding and clarity.

I figured I have been so hard on myself all my life, it was time to let go.
It was time to be me, how I really am, without my constant self criticism and judgement.

 It was time to take a step back, relax, and re-evaluate my priorities in this healing journey.

Life was unfolding and my ‘New Normal’ was forming, evolving, ever changing as I was discovering my path.

No comments:

Post a Comment