Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The melting of Little Miss Independent

When I went in for my operation, I knew that the recovery was going to be hard. I knew that I would be in pain and that I would be limited to what I can and can't do. But I don't think I fully appreciated how hard it would be.

Living on my own for the last four years has meant I have become very independent. I like my own space and I like being on my own. Some say I have isolated myself slightly over the years but I have been comfortable with my own company. I do things on my own, in my own time and I answer to no-one. I look after myself and I am someone that people turn to for a chat, cuddle or to vent so inevitably end up looking after other people too. In my family I have always been the one that sorts everyone else out, the one stuck in the middle of arguments and the go-between for people.

I have never been the one people fuss over or look after. So Derek's surgical removal has thrown me into a state of flux. I don't know how to cope or accept people wishing looking after me.

On my first day at home the girlies took it in shifts to be with me which was lovely and I did nothing but lie on the sofa, but even the company and having activity in my house felt unusual and something I was not used too. I sound like such a loner, but perhaps that is what I have become, part of me wanted to scream and just switch everything off to be on my own, but I couldn't so I had to welcome the fuss and just let my friends get on with what they wanted to do for me and it eventually it felt comfortable.

I have loved the closeness that has come back into my relationships with my friends. After 6 months of stress and depression following the business being set up, I pushed myself deeper into my safety cave and friendships had become strained and a little damaged. I was worried I had lost them but over the past two weeks I have never felt closer to my friends and I feel the bonds are as strong as they were a year or so ago. So I have one thing to thank Derek for!

This week, albeit only Tuesday, I have done too much already. I can see that the skin is healing on my stomach and I have a nice (and quite beautiful scar) but I forget the lower levels. I forget that my tummy has been cut and held open, muscles pulled and cut and parts of me taken away. These layers will take longer to heal and I am not helping them. I know that, but I find it so very hard to sit and do nothing. I feel panicked if I don't work, I feel stressed that if I slow down now, I will never get the drive back to push the company and its products forward.

I am not doing myself any favours. I know that. But how do I stop being a stubborn, independent woman?

Tonight I have been completely overwhelmed by the love and friendship of those around me. I never expect fuss and to be honest, I am not sure I like it or know how to deal with it. I feel uncomfortable when people spoil me - mainly because I have never had it. Don't get me wrong, my family is very loving and I rarely went without but being fussed over by others is hard to accept and I really do think that I am not worth all the effort.

So for friends and loved ones to rally around me, to be checking in on me, bringing me food, turning up on my doorstep out of the blue to help with work, sending friends to check on me, texting every day, calling, doing midnight painkiller drug runs and to generally be looking after me has been amazing and without sounding too cheesy, a little bit life changing.

And with one very special person filling me with love, affection and spoiling me with life's little delights, I hope that I can soon start to feel more at ease with being loved.

Thank you to Carl, Lucy, Ally, Laura, Anna, Peta, Jade, Lou, the #recoverymafia of Twitter and my wonderful family.

2 comments:

Jaki said...

Brilliant, brave post. Thank you so much for sharing this. It has brought back so many of the feeings I had after surgery. I did much better the second time, when I realised I needed to give in and let the recovery work. I took up knitting. I had to have something to do with myself - and I found it challenging enough to keep my brain busy. I now pick up the needles whenever I need to slow down!
Stick with it. My experience was that I was right back to normal - and that was a normal I had forgotten had ever existed. Take care.

Jo said...

Thank you Jaki. I think you are right, it is about giving in so you recover quicker and stronger. I just need to do it! x