It has been two months since I had surgery to fix my pectus excavatum. The recovery has been many things – difficult, frustrating, painful, important, necessary, slow, boring, lazy, etc. – depending on the day. But now, two months out, I can look back and really see how far I’ve come since I was laying in the hospital in a post-surgery daze.
Here’s where I’m at now:
– I can drive. Tight corners, mini-roundabouts, and parking are still difficult, as I can’t move the steering wheel quite as quickly as I’m used to. A flat tire I got a few weeks ago is evidence of that. But, I can at least get myself around if I need to. I’m working now on building up the time and distance I can go while driving.
– I am on ZERO pain medication. None. Zippo. No ibuprofen or nuthin’. That, possibly more than anything, shows my progress. My back still aches often, and my abdominal muscles whine from having to support my new-and-improved posture, but it’s all very tolerable.
– Slowly, but surely, I’m picking back up household chores such as emptying the dishwasher, folding laundry, etc. Some things are still difficult, or I can just tell I shouldn’t be doing them yet… I tried to sweep the kitchen floor the other day, figuring I could just lazily drag the broom behind me as I walked, but even that was too much resistance on my chest. Similarly, the other day I had Sam move the laundry down to the laundry area for me so I could try to switch out loads from the washer and dryer. Three loads later, I sat on the couch hugging my heating pad to my chest, aware I had pushed myself too far. I have to remind myself to take it slow. Sam reminds me often too. That’s what I struggle with the most now… I feel fine, so I want to do normal things, but I have to remind myself that I just can’t do everything yet. Thankfully, Sam is an absolute gentleman and does all the chores I cannot without so much as a frown.
– Though I’m not supposed to do any weight-lifting, running, or anything that would put stress on or “jostle” the bar, I have been able to do some cardio… Taking Tobes out on some faster walks, even going to the gym and riding the exercise bike once (without Toby, of course). It’s a tricky balance, getting needed exercise while not overdoing it, but I’m working on it. I keep reminding myself of what the surgeon chided when I asked about what exercises I could do, “You’ll have plenty of time for that once the bar is out.” No need to rush.
– *Warning**Medical details in this bullet point* The incision is healing up well and I have almost all feeling back around the incision site. My only concern, which has just come up this week, is that I’ve developed a lovely yellowish-red bruise around my sternum and that my sternum aches just a bit. Two months after the surgery seems like a strange time for that to pop up. It also makes things look different because of the discoloration, so it’s difficult to judge if things are possibly reverting a little or are staying as they should. Please pray with me that everything is as it should be and that I will continue to recover well.
Overall, I’m feeling great. In fact, I’ve had a few people ask me recently, “Oh, how are you feeling??” and it takes me a second to figure out what they’re talking about. (“Why? Do I look extra pale today or something? Bad hair day? OH! The surgery!… got it…”) That’s a good sign, right? 🙂 My grad school started this week and I had no problem sitting at a desk, reading and typing for a few hours a day. My walks with Toby are getting longer, and my errand-running endurance is increasing. Things are going well! Thank you to all of you who have prayed me through this. Please, keep the prayers coming, as I continue to recover and trust God throughout this process. It looks like the bar will be staying in until this summer or fall, so please pray also that I am patient and discerning with what I do. God has already shown me so much throughout these last two months – he’s shown me that with Him I can handle more than I ever thought possible. That I needn’t be strong myself, because I have the constant resource of His strength to use as my own. He’s taught me to be appreciative and present when I’m feeling well, when I’m surrounded by friends and family, but to trust Him and praise Him just the same when I’m suffering and in pain. Those lessons aren’t over, I’m still learning, reminders are often needed, but the times of resting and the many hours I had to think during my recovery have shown me how incredibly blessed I am: to have a God who loves me and provided eternal life at a terrible cost, to have family and friends that surround me (physically and in thought and prayer) and exhort me when I need it most, beautiful creation that surrounds us here as a constant reminder of God’s omnipotence, and new opportunities to glorify God and live for Him. This may be my last “medical” update for a while – I hope I have nothing new to report until the bar comes out – but I hope I have lived (and typed) in a way that gives the glory to God. I could not have done any of this without the hope, strength, and comfort hat I receive from the Holy Spirit. I remember moaning from the hospital bed, “Is this even worth it?” when I was feeling my worst, but even if it wasn’t, I hope I have glorified God and that I continue to do the same throughout this process.
Thank you again for your prayers! Onward to recovery. 🙂