Some of you may be wondering why I laid the foundation for this blog, setting out my approach to food, fitness, and health... and then just up and abandoned the blog with radio silence for more than 2 months.
The answer is that what was supposed to be an outpatient surgical procedure on August 15 developed into severe, life-threatening complications for me. I was in the hospital for three weeks, but recovery continued well beyond that timeframe. In fact, I am still recovering at home. This slow pace has tried my patience to say the least. The good (great! amazing!) news is that I am expected to make a full recovery, with no significant long-term consequences.
It was suggested to me (by some folks with good intentions, no doubt) that this might be the time that my coaching and blogging business could really take off. After all, it's an Internet-based business that I run out of my home. Parts of it are based on my own activities (exercise and cooking), but a lot of it revolves around sitting at a computer. And I can easily do that even when I'm sick, right?
When I did attempt to dip my toe back into the business a few times, I learned very quickly that while this might have worked great for other people, it wasn't the right choice for me. Not only wasn't it the right choice; it wasn't even possible. In the middle of writing an email, I would lose my train of thought and find it impossible to focus, or I would simply fall asleep. I managed to post on social media for my first few days after coming home from the hospital, but I soon realized that I was channeling my energy into restarting my business when I needed to channel my energy into healing instead.
It has sometimes been hard to explain to people what I do all day. Don't I have tons of time to read books and watch movies? Why don't I return emails and phone calls right away? I move a lot slower these days (and especially did when I first got home from the hospital), so doing laundry becomes the main event of the day instead of something I do in between other tasks. In the evening I can do a load of laundry or cook dinner—not both. But that's only part of the story. Healing requires an immense amount of energy, and energy focused outside of oneself is energy that cannot be directed inward. For most of the last 2 months, I've found any activity requiring goal-directed focus and concentration completely exhausting. This may be hard for you to understand. It certainly would have been for me, before I got sick. But I'm guessing anyone who has ever recovered from a serious illness will know right away what I mean.
In the last 2 weeks, I have:
returned to my pre-surgery weight (and even a bit below) as my body took off more than 40 pounds of fluid it had retained to help heal
begun to wear normal shoes again, and worn jeans for the first time, as the swelling in my feet (and the rest of my body) went down when the fluid came off
gotten into positions that wouldn't have been possible a short time ago due to joint soreness from my body being so much heavier than it was used to and having fluid around the joints
recovered much of my kidney function
recovered sensation in some areas around my abdominal incision/wound that had previously been numb
If all goes well, in the coming weeks I will be able to return to a normal diet (and eat in restaurants again!). I'll get off of dialysis treatments, which are both time-consuming and hard on the body, and be able to go back to work. I'll be able to take a normal shower instead of taping over my dialysis catheter and living in fear of it getting wet and infected. I'll be able to go through a normal range of arm movements without feeling the catheter catch and pull on the tissue around it. Once my abdominal wound heals, I'll be freed from time-consuming dressing changes and... drumroll please... I'll be able to exercise again! For the last 2 months I've done walking and some gentle yoga, and that's been plenty. But while I was down for the count, I lost a lot of muscle, and I am raring to go to rebuild it, as soon as I no longer have to worry about overdoing it and reopening a wound that is healing.
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. I got very lucky; a full recovery was by no means guaranteed. To those who comforted me during my loneliness, fear, and frustration—thank you. To those who are sick and in need of healing—don't be afraid to do what you need to do for yourself and turn inward, even if the world doesn't always understand.