A year seems so long, yet when you look back it can feel like yesterday. This time last year I was laid in a hospital bed wondering what the immediate future held. I had read, and listened to, some crazy horror stories but also had a great support structure filling my head with positive thoughts. Tip number 1: this is a unique journey, knowledge may be power but don’t let other people’s experiences rule your thoughts.
The mental and emotional side of hysterectomy recovery should not be underestimated. This was what I wasn’t prepared for! I knew frustration at the physical side of recovery was inevitable but Becky and friends kept me and my expectation in check. The real mental and emotional challenges surprised me. Firstly the scar, I have a scar from my belly button to my pubic bone and I hate it! Having had some issues with a reaction to the stitches parts of the scar is quite thick. I am so conscious of the scar, and even though I tell myself that scars are souvenirs from eventful journeys and they show how strong you are, I keep it well hidden.
Then there was the baby issue. I have never wanted to carry a child, in fact pregnant women scare me and yet here was my brain, emotions and hormones going through some sort of grieving process at the thought of not being able to have children. It was a tough one to take, like a rugby tackle you don’t see coming and I wrestled with it for quite some time. It felt like everyone around me was giving birth or getting pregnant (to be fair a lot were) which would never have bothered me before and yet here I was almost wishing to be like them, or at least have the ability to be like them. Tip number 2: your body and mind are going through a huge trauma and recovery, let it! Don’t fight it, accept it as part of the process talk about it and recognise these feelings are normal and you will move on.
Physically this year has been beyond my expectations, I have achieved far more than I thought I would/could but most importantly have earned every one of those achievements. As I write this I have just come back from a 19km (11.8miles) run, my last run before my first ever half marathon. Even pre-alien running 19km was way outside of my capabilities. Talking to the medical professionals pre and post-op it was all quite negative, long distance running would be risky, heavy lifting was ruled out, no squatting or deadlifting, basically the message was to get used to mediocre training and gentle exercise. Tip number 3; you are the professional at knowing your body (even more so as you go through this process). This year has been about one step at a time sometimes forwards, often backwards and occasionally sideways. There have been so many tears and tantrums, times where I’ve thought those professionals were correct, sessions were things that were easy last week were suddenly impossible, sleepless pain fuelled nights and events that came slightly too early and catapulted recovery and rehab back in time. Then there is cycling, an activity that was on the ‘can do’ list, that should be straight forward yet it’s the one activity my lower abs reject every time. There’s not much I can do but be patient and accept that in the grand scheme of things it could be so much worse.
So there you have it, one year on, it’s all about the future. I know this journey is not over, I work everyday to keep my core strength high and prevent any weaknesses knowing that this lets me push my boundaries farther than I knew I could. I’m now in the final stages of Initial Teacher Training, I have 3 amazing challenges for Scotty’s Little Soldiers in the next 2 months and most importantly an incredibly strong relationship with my soulmate and some great friends. So here’s to life’s challenges, discovering how much you want something and how strong you really are!