This post comes with a content warning for a medical discussion.
I’ve been blogging recently about a problem with my body for which I needed surgery. The problem got worse with an injury two months ago and after my surgery was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been struggling emotionally. It’s been a very difficult time for me.
Last week I finally had my surgery. The hospital rescheduled surgeries based on a triage of which patients needed them most urgently; I was the second patient that my surgeon operated on since the COVID-19 lockdown, which gives you a sense of my condition.
(As an aside: I was delayed fifteen minutes getting into the operating room because the team had trouble booting up the surgerical robot after it being turned off for so long. This is not something a software developer waiting in pre-op wanted to hear, if I’m being quite honest.)
Recovery has been painful, slow, and difficult, but thankfully I am progressing.
I’ve never had surgery before, and the prospect of having it done in the best of times made me very nervous. The prospect of having it done during a global pandemic, in a foreign country, led by an incompetent federal government – it was overwhelming to say the least. For months, I’ve been drafting a blog post in my head about this whole process. I was going to discuss my changing relationship to health, to chronic pain, to abled-bodiedness. The ideas and structure were all laid out in my head. It wasn’t until I was strapped to a gurney waiting to be taken to the operating room that I decided not to write it.
Outlining the post in my head has helped me structure my thoughts and feelings for months. Sometimes I think in terms of writing. And I’m grateful that I was able to fall back on this coping mechanism even if I didn’t ever actually put pen to paper.
But the facts are: Some lessons are too personal to share with others. Some experiences are too traumatic to put into words. Some paradigm shifts are too fundamental and too subtle to describe.
I am grateful to so many people right now. To my wife and my family, for getting me through this. To my medical team for relieving me of my pain. To my employer for providing both health care coverage and material support to take care of myself.
In April, I wrote that:
My primary job right now is to keep [my health problems non-life-threatening]. To celebrate and maintain the [health] gains I’ve made, without putting strain on my body.
I am excited to report that I have succeeded on both fronts! Despite all that is happening in the world right now, and despite a sudden shift back to a sedentary lifestyle, I have kept off the weight that I lost. And I successfully avoided any more injuries.
Two weeks ago, I also wrote that:
If all goes well, I’ll be able to return to strength training and running safely in July.
When I wrote that two weeks ago, July seemed so close. Now, on the other side of surgery, July feels very far away indeed. But I feel a bit better every day. And I’ll be back to my old self before I know it.