Preparing For Surgery

I did a lot of things to prepare for the home birth I had planned with both my boys. When I was pregnant with Hooper, I went to prenatal yoga classes. We took all the classes on natural childbirth as well as the class on breastfeeding. I was as prepared as I could have been.
I had little idea of what the pain would be like. People tried relating it to taking the biggest shit of your life, others said breathing a certain way might help, yadda yadda yadda. But truth is, childbirth hurt. A lot. But, not so much that it’s not possible and not so much that I wouldn’t do it again; because I’ve done it twice now.
I’m having the better part of my entire spine fused soon and I’ve been forewarned that the pain is intense. While part of me wants to shrug it off entirely like they don’t know who they’re talking to, the other part of me knows this pain will be much different and felt for much longer on many different levels; there’s post-op pain, there’s two days after surgery pain, there’s getting up and walking pain, there’s I’m feeling better but the next morning I feel worse pain. I’m scared.
Some might argue that now is not the time for as major of a surgery as I am having. Part of me agrees. Recovery is not going to be easy. I have two young children who need me all day long. But I also have the rest of my life to plan out and, in my mind anyway, this is something I have already put off for years. The thought of having a third child is a very real consideration (for me, anyway, and for Willy, at times) and between waiting for the right time to have a third, getting pregnant, growing a child, and breastfeeding a child, I’d be looking at another three years at-which-point I’d be exactly where I am now, only with one more kid. Not to mention it’s a young person’s surgery, meaning that the correction that can be acheived and the recovery time is better the younger you are.
I’m talking out loud here. Welcome to the conversations I’ve been having with myself. I’m digressing. Back to how I’m preparing.
I grew up doing competitive gymnastics. I went to gym Monday through Friday from 4pm to 8pm from the time I was about 11 until I was 17 years old. I’m that girl that can beat her husband in a push-up contest (that either means I’m really strong or my husband is… well, I’ll let you decide for yourself). In any event, I haven’t worked out in years. So I reached out to a friend who was on the men’s team who now runs Fitness On The Run. I was at the gym the night Jon broke his neck. It was crazy and the thought of the silence that filled that huge warehouse that evening still sends shivers down my spine. You can read about his story here. He hooked me up with his wife, who was a college gymnast. You can read more about her by clicking here.
Here are some of the many perks I’ve noted while working with Cari:
-She comes to me. I cannot tell you how much of a hassle it’d be otherwise. I didn’t want to sign up for a gym membership knowing that there’d be months following my surgery I wouldn’t be able to use it. I also didn’t want to join a gym cuz, um, gross. I had a fellow nurse once tell me about a patient who had an open anal abscess infected with MRSA. When she instructed him, upon discharge, about wound care he replied, “I just soak it in the spa at the gym”. Um, gross. No wonder why everyone has MRSA. Gyms just aren’t my thing. Gymnasiums, on the other hand… Really though, I love the beauty of never having to leave my home. It makes it so much less of an ordeal with the kiddos. Cari almost always came over in the morning, before the kids were even out of bed. Easy peasy.
-Cari assessed my abilities, my limitations, my hopes and desires and tailored her workouts to meet my needs perfectly. Each workout brought me right to the point where I didn’t think I could go any further. And she always left me with homework and ways to change the exercies just a bit to make them easier or harder, depending on what my body could handle.
-I loved Cari’s attention to form. I know from my own gymnastics foundation that it’s not what you can so much as it is how well you can do it. I love that she’d rather have me hold something for 30 seconds with good form than for a minute with sloppy body mechanics.
-Flexibility. Cari worked with me and my home so well. She encouraged me to do some cardio each week and when finding the time to get out and ride a bike or hike up a hill didn’t work out (thanks a lot, motherhood) she came up with a cardio routine I could do in my home.
The first week was so difficult for me. I could barely hold a pen without my arm shaking, but it felt great. And it got easier as I got stronger.
Sure, I’m terrified of surgery. I won’t know how I’m going to deal with the pain and the recovery process until I’m in pain and in the recovery process, but I do have the power in knowing I prepared as best I could to meet the physical demands.
Live in the So Cal area? Check out Fitness On The Run. They are based in Newbury Park and I highly recommend them.
Don’t live in the So Cal area? Checkout some of their videos on YouTube. They also post some great recipes on their blog. And the sell several great products here.
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