Brave Girl

You may have read my last blog post A personal update, in which I write about the emotional roller coaster I have been on for longer than I care to think. What to do? Have surgery, don’t have surgery? Do it now, do it later?

I’m going to cut this short. I asked friends what to do. I can work out fine, with modifications, but I’m definitely in pain. Everyone I asked urged me to go through with it. Just do it! You’ll feel so much better when you have it behind you. Just think how great things will be once you’ve healed.

I sent an e-mail to the surgeon, asking two questions. Are these things growing? And, in her opinion, is surgery in my future? Whatever the word future means… now, in a year, in two years.

Last week, September 10 (my birthday), I received a phone call from another doctor, who works with my surgeon, and who confirmed, that yes, they are growing. We don’t know how fast, but they are growing. Also, yes, I will eventually have to have surgery. It is not “if” but “when”. I asked him, if he thought it made sense for me to have surgery now, considering that I am symptomatic. He said, yes, it made sense… As a matter of fact, it would probably be of great advantage to me to do it now, as the surgery is still “uncomplicated” (I’m putting that word in quotes, because I can’t think of liver resection as uncomplicated), and the likeliness of complications is much lower now.

These words were what I needed to hear. It was what finally made this decision the no-brainer that everyone said it was. I scheduled surgery for October 16. Instant relief. Finally I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. Now I could focus on preparing for the “big event”. I notified all of my friends and family, and the reaction was positive all around. I celebrated my birthday with my family, and I lived every minute to the fullest.

The next day I broke down. Just like that, without warning, I broke down… and I didn’t know why. I read all the comments from friends on Facebook. You’ll do great! Just do it! Before you know it, you’ll be back to CrossFit! Soon you’ll be on the road to recovery! No big deal! It makes complete sense! I thought of the conversations I’d had with friends. They all were so upbeat, so happy for me! What reason did I have to break down, to be unhappy? I was completely caught off guard by my own reaction. What was wrong with me?

And then it occurred to me…

I am scared. I am scared of this surgery, that lasts 6 hours. I am scared of having 3/4 of my liver taken out. I am scared of not waking up.

I am sad. Sure, they all tell me to be happy, now that I have this all figured out. But really, I am NOT happy. I am about to have major surgery, that will leave me helpless for weeks on end. I had to reschedule the beginning of my Nutritional Therapy class until February. I cannot go to CrossFit until February. The great and wonderful road to recover also means, that I cannot do what I so desperately want to do now. Go ahead, tell me to get a grip. Tell me, that I should be grateful that at least I will be back to my good old self… that at least I don’t have cancer… that at least there is an end in sight. But I’m still sad, because I don’t want to put my life on hold, and I don’t want surgery. Just please, let me be sad!

I am pissed off. I’m living this healthy life. I don’t smoke. I drink only moderately. I work out. Why is this happening to me? It’s not fair. And I’m having the hardest time sitting here and making a happy face, when I’m really very pissed off.

I feel guilty. I feel guilty for dragging my family down into the dumps with me. I’m guilty for being scared, I’m guilty for being pissed off, I’m guilty for feeling sad, when the expectation is that I should be happy. I’m guilty, because I know that other people have it so much worse than me. I feel very silly for having all of these emotions. And at the same time I want to feel entitled to my feelings. I want to be able to say, that I’m scared and angry and sad, and that I am not even close to happy.

My timeline is this:

one week at the hospital… hooked up to drains and catheders and who knows what.

six weeks at home…

four months without CrossFit… (yes, I feel sorry for myself about CrossFit. Yes, to me this is a big deal, because I LOVE CrossFit. I love the workouts, I love the community, I love everything about it. It is a huge part of my life. I don’t want to take a break!)

Almost a year until I am completely recovered. According to the professionals. Heck, my liver will have regenerated after 6 weeks. Why can’t I recover that fast?

I’m scared out of my head for posting this. I’m scared to be judged. I’m scared of angry readers saying mean things. But at the same time, I very much feel I NEED to post it. I need to get this off my chest, as part of my processing this new situation in my life. It’s how I cope. This is my outlet.

Please be gentle with me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have to say here, that I am very lucky to have an amazingly supportive husband in all of this. He has my back. He stands by my side, and he has offered words of wisdom and kindness. And he has given me permission to not be happy, to not be upbeat. So I should add one more point to my list.

I am grateful. I’m grateful for my husband, whose loving care has pulled me through this so far, and whom I can lean on anytime. I’m grateful for my friends, who are here for me to help with meals, carpooling, play dates, counseling and so much more. So, thank you for everything you do, and for being here for me. I love you guys!

7 thoughts on “Brave Girl”

  1. You are so brave and so amazing – thank you for posting this. Know that, even in the miserable moments, my best thoughts and warmest wishes are coming to you from the other side of the world xx

  2. It is TOTALLY NORMAL to be sad and scared!!!!! I’ve had an unfortunate serious of health issues that have kept me from working out and doing the things that I love for almost a year now. And any min now I’ll be able to start moving and shaking again! So as someone who’s had to take that time off . . . . here’s my two cents: It’s OK to know that you will very much miss those things! It’s ok to be sad, angry, frustrated, and don’t let anyone tell you differently! Yes the time will pass, yes you will be healthy, whole and active again some day. But today is today, and right now you feel how you feel, and that’s OK! A little advice from someone who’s had quite a bit of time “on the bench” stay busy! Going from a very active lifestyle to a recovery lifestyle is a big change. Be prepared for the change, keep yourself busy, take up a hobby (or two or three), know that you will miss the people that you only see at active events. Keep your life full of challenges (learn a new language?), people, and things that make you smile! I know it’s scary, but you will get through this!!!!!

    1. Thank you, Kat! Thank you so much. Yes, I’m working filling my life with other things, that I actually can do. I have about 5 knitting projects waiting for me. I am looking at a ton of audio books to listen to during the first weeks of recover. And I actually checked out the class schedule at my local Joann’s…
      I know how I hate to just sit and do nothing. Drives me crazy, and I’ll be back on my feet asap!
      I wish you all the best for YOU. May you move and jump around just the way you want to! Thanks, Girl!

  3. Liebe Ute … ich schreib dir heute auf Deutsch, weil Deutsch irgendwie meine Herzenssprache ist. Manche deiner Freunde werden es nicht lesen koennen, aber ich schreibe es doch fuer dich.

    Mich beruehrt dein Posting sehr und ich finde es ganz besonders wichtig …. fuer uns und hoffentlich auch fuer dich, dass du uns mit einbeziehst in dein Leben.

    Alles was du uns dort geschrieben hast, sind deine Gefuehle und Gedanken. Diese sind wie sie sind. Es tut uns – deinen Freunden jedoch gut und es ist fuer uns wichtig, wenn wir diese Gedanken kennen und nicht nur die Fassade “tapfere Ute” sehen und somit denken, dass du diese Gesundheitskrise ganz leicht wegsteckst – schliesslich bist du ja so brav und logisch.

    Mit deiner Logik, deinem Suchen und Finden von moeglichen Antworten, sowie der wunderbaren Unterstuetzung von M., deinen Kindern und deinem Freundeskreis wirst du diese Lebensphase positiv durchleben und ueberstehen. Erinnere dich an das Posting von vor ein paar Tagen ueber die “Relativitaet”.

    Mit grosser Wahrscheinlichkeit werden diese naechsten Monate Dinge in deinem Leben veraendern, aber so ist es dann eben und du wirst einen Weg finden, positiv damit umzugehen.

    Bei der Ueberlegung, was du alles machen kannst, wenn dein Koerper nicht so aktiv sein kann, wie du es gerne moechtest, fragte ich mich, ob da nicht auch der Samen fuer ein neues Buch “drin sein koennte”. Nein, das schreibe ich nicht, damit du dich schuldig fuehlst, wenn “deine Buchschreiberei” in der letzten Zeit ziemlich in den Hintergrund gedraengt wurde, sondern mir ging durch den Kopf, dass deine augenblicklichen Gefuehle, Aengste, Hoffnungen, Befuerchtungen und Einsichten vielleicht neuen Stoff zum Nachdenken gibt und dich auf den Weg in ein neues Buch fuehren koennte.

    Mein groesster Wunsch fuer dich ist neben dem schnellen Gesundwerden eine Riesenportion Geduld mit dir selbst und uns wuensche ich, dass du nicht tapfer “dein Los traegst” sondern uns weiterhin erlaubst, deine Gefuehle und Gedanken – so weit es moeglich ist – zu begleiten.

    Ein aufmunterndes Laecheln, eine Cyberumarmung
    sowie ein Glas Wein auf dein Wohl schickt dir
    -Anna

    1. Liebe Anna, danke danke danke fuer die aufmunternden und schoenen Worte. Du hast mich zu Traenen geruehrt, und ich werde heute abend in der Tat mit einem Glas Wein im Geiste mit Dir anstossen. Danke schoen… und ja, Du hast schon Recht, solche Zeiten koennten durchaus Schreibstoff liefern, vielleicht ja mal auf Deutsch. Alles Liebe fuer Dich. Deine Worte werde ich sicher noch oefter lesen.

  4. Like Kat said, I am a firm believer in owning your feelings, in having the right to feel what you feel without guilt (I know, it’s way easier said than done). You SHOULD be scared and sad and pissed off and sorry for yourself–it doesn’t mean you aren’t brave, it means you’re human. Quite frankly, I’d either not believe someone or be really worried about them if they told me they weren’t feeling any of those things. And you can absolutely be grateful for supportive friends and family while breaking down with a flood of other emotions at the same time–again, human. I am also a big believer in the mind-body connection, and I think that letting yourself feel all of the emotions that come along instead of letting them fester will have a positive effect on the physical aspect of your experience. But I might be feeling overly analytical right now. 😉 At any rate, I’ve been thinking of you and will continue to do so! 🙂

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