Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Past 4 Weeks

Wow - I knew it had been a while since I posted, but I didn't realize it had been that long. But, like I told my husband earlier... I can't even remember yesterday. How am I supposed to remember anything else?

I was slightly exaggerating, but unfortunately not by much. I've been in such a drug-induced fog since the surgery that it might be kind of funny if it wasn't so sad. And besides the drugs, there's the whole lack of sleep (because of the pain) thing, alternating with the just crashing phase (because I'm so exhausted from the not sleeping thing.) It's crazy. And annoying.

So... it's been a month now since surgery. Want to know what it's been like? Here's a hint.

Yeah, kind of like that. I won't lie - there has been a lot of pain. A lot. And that hasn't been fun. It sucked to not be able to do anything for so long. It sucked to want to cry every time I moved. It sucked to not be able to let my kids sit on my lap because it would hurt too much. It really sucked to not be able to play with them, or go out with the family. It sucked that simple things like brushing my teeth or taking a shower were huge, painful ordeals.

Around 2 1/2 weeks was when I started having doubts, and wondering if I had made a mistake. (We should have had a betting pool.) I'm pretty sure that's a natural thing to go through. You think you made a good choice, then the recovery turns out to be really difficult, and you start questioning your judgment. It happened a couple more times since then, but I think I'm finally over it now.

The roller coaster always has to go up and down a few times to make it a real ride, though. So yeah. For the most part I've done what I could to keep myself up, and so has my family. I got really good at finding joy in the little accomplishments. (Like how proud of myself I was on the day after surgery, when I managed to brush my teeth without making a mess all over that ridiculous collar I had to wear. I wasn't sure I would be able to do it, but I did. And yes, I cheered for myself.)

And little by little I've seen improvement. There are times when the pain isn't quite so bad, and as long as I'm not moving I don't even think about it. (Then, inevitably, I have to get up again, and it reminds me all about itself.) But the majority of the time, it isn't as bad now as it was at first. I still have setbacks, when it comes back with a vengeance, but I think those times are coming fewer and farther between now.

It's been tough, emotionally. I have to admit that, too. It gets frustrating being in pain, and it gets frustrating not being able to do the things that you want to do. But what brings me out of those days is reminding myself that I've been in miserable pain for the past 18 years. (Granted, it was a different kind of pain, but no less miserable, and a lot less temporary.) And I think about all of the ways that the CRPS has negatively affected my life for all of those years. So if in the end this implant can help that, then it has all been worth it.

I've noticed that I've kind of gotten frustrated with myself a few times over the past month, scolding myself that I should feel better by now, and that I should be able to do more, and take care of all of the things that I used to be able to do. But then I remind myself that it's only been a month since someone sliced into my spinal column, moved the vertebrae around, and left a foreign object inside. I suppose it's bound to take a little time to recover from something like that. So then I kind of give myself a break.

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