Mastering YOU and recovery

       They say 46 is the new 26…so they say! But I’m smart enough to know that I’d better not treat my 46 year old body like anything other than what it is. Yes, I speak the Word over my body, but even God expects us to put works with our faith! Besides, if I’ve learned anything from the untimely deaths of my mother and mother-in-law, its that the enemy desires for us to be lacking in our lives where our health is concerned. I mentioned in my last post that I would tell you about my ever-so-lovely surgery. But don’t worry, I’ll spare you the gory details.

Here I am almost 7 weeks post-op from having major
surgery for something that should have been done over 7 years ago! And what has kept me from taking control of my health until now you ask? Fear of course! Fear has crippled us in ways we don’t even realize. It has kept us from living the abundant life God has called us to! Until we conquer it, we’ll always stay at a level that is sub par to what our God has planned for our lives! God desires that we experience heaven here on earth BEFORE we get there; and included in the “heaven on earth experience”... is our health! I’m so glad I had my surgery, because life on the “other” side is so much sweeter! But the practical lessons I learned from my surgery(pre-op and post-op) are invaluable…here are a few…

Make sure you know everything there is about the kind of surgery you’re having. Research, research, research! You know the saying, what you don’t know "won't" hurt you? Ummm, yes it can! You wouldn't believe how many people go into surgery NOT prepared and not knowing what’s going to take place. Never be afraid to ask questions! Remember, it's your body, and're paying the bill!  And by all means, if you're having surgery by a surgeon you’re unfamiliar with…get references, find out their background! Know your surgery AND your surgeon! I mean seriously, it’s your body…if no one else does, you should at least care enough about your well being to know everything that is going to take place.  Google can be your best friend!!

Whatever you do, DON’T over pack for your hospital stay. I should have really listened to my inner voice when it told me that I probably wouldn’t be in any condition to get on my laptop, let alone get it out of my overnight bag. I mean really, who do you know who actually feels up to doing anything after four hours of surgery, grogginess from all the anesthesia that's been pumped into their body AND having a catheter attached to them! I practically slept the entire time I was there. A make-up kit, a novel, a suduko book AND a laptop. Where did I think I was going…on a cruise to the Bahamas? I promise, the only items you'll probably need are a robe, some slippers or socks, a change of clothes, toothpaste, toothbrush and deoderant. When it was time to leave and go home, I was one step away from telling them to just throw a sheet over my head, roll me to the car and keep it movin’! 

 When knowing you’ve got upcoming surgery, plus a long recovery; you’d better clean your house from top to bottom *or at best give the impression that you’ve cleaned your house from top to bottom*. You know - the junk drawer, the junk closet! But seriously, CLEAN YOUR HOUSE or you’ll pay for it later. So glad I heeded my own advice. I’m a clean freak, so the idea of having an unkempt house while I’m unable to do anything would have driven me crazy. And y’all know that dust comes back within 24 hours, so you can imagine if you don’t tackle it beforehand, you’ll come out of your recovery to a house full of dust, knee-high deep. Besides, do you really think you’ll be up to cleaning anything, let alone your house while you’re laid up somewhere recouping? Not even you believe that one!

When you’re recovering, vulnerability is inevitable. It’s one thing to depend on people, but when you’re recovering from major surgery, it goes to another level. Yeah, you may be use to doing everything for yourself, but believe me…you’ll learn to drop that “one-man show” gig real quick! When you must rely and wait on others to drive for you, help you get in and out of the car/up and down the stairs, get your food, carry things for you, etc., etc., it leaves you in a place of humility. There you are, out of sorts; not even yourself. You’re not able to do what you want, when you want to. More than anyone else, you’ll become more dependent on God than ever before!

You will learn that patience is more than a virtue…it’ll become a way of life! Not only waiting on others, but waiting on your body to get in line with what it was created to do...heal itself. When you progress with your recovery one week and encounter a setback the next week, it can really put a damper on your spirit. If your faith isn’t built up, you best believe, the enemy WILL take shots at you! Let me tell you…you’ll even need patience where television is concerned. I mean, I love my 80’s and 90’s sitcoms, but if I see another episode of “The Golden Girls”......

You are your best advocate! Know your body. Sometimes we must follow our own instinct. Just because it’s written in stone, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily our cup of tea. Everyone’s body is different. Because I have a very low tolerance for pain, I assumed that I would need to be drugged up the entire time. But after reading what narcotics does to your body, I decided to quit my pain meds cold turkey two days into my recovery. And you know what? I didn’t have pain that I couldn’t manage. As a matter of fact, surprisingly, I was pretty much pain-free! I’m glad I decided to follow my faith!

Sleep will become your best friend! Where else can a grown adult sleep all day like a four week old baby and NOT get called a lazy bum? Lounging around in your pajamas and robe AND not having to make your bed "cause you’re gonna get right back in it anyway"! Having a food tray that stays attached to your bed for six weeks, considering you’re eating all day…because of course, you need ALL the calories you can get for energy, so that your body will heal properly. Having an excuse to go out and buy a brand new ensemble for your bed because the old one just doesn’t “set the atmosphere” for you to relax. I mean yeah, cabin fever eventually sets in, BUT those first two weeks tho...makes you feel like a 5th grader two weeks into summer break.

If you’ve never eaten correctly before, you’ll learn quickly to do it. We don’t realize that our bodies go through trauma when we have an operation. Depending on what type of surgery and anesthesia you receive, pretty much all of your organs go into a sluggish state and will need time to  “wake up”. Your body will need every bit of nutrition in order for it to recover properly to get it back to its optimal state. I can’t tell you how important it is to have a natural, organic, plant-based diet before and after surgery. Drinking plenty of water and staying away from artificial sweeteners - y'all should really research what that stuff does to your body! Let’s use common sense here. If junk food, carbonated drinks and tons of sugar runs your body down and add no nutritional value when your body isn’t traumatized…then what do you think it does for your body when it is? You got it! Absolutely nothing! As a matter of fact, eating wrong does more harm than anything. Trust me when I tell you…when you put the right things in your body, your digestive system will thank you! As the saying goes…”if you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it”. 

Make sure you surround yourself with a good support system! If there’s a support/recovery group for the type of surgery you’re having, by all means join it! The information you learn is invaluable!! It’s therapeutic having a group of people who know and “get it” concerning what you’re going through. It goes without saying that my family went above and beyond to see that I had everything I needed to make my recovery a pleasant one! I don’t know how they did it! I mean how many times can a woman send someone to the store, because she forgot to put something on the first list. I tell you…they are priceless! I’m also thankful for my siblings and my church family…who text, called, visited and made food! HA…I’m sure glad I didn’t burn my bridges or threw any of them to the curb…just kidding! But seriously, without the love and support of each of them, I wouldn’t have had the stress-free recovery that I had! So a big ole “THANK YOU” to mi familia!!

Last, but certainly not least! As hard as it may be, keep a good attitude! Yeah, I know it’s hard to put a smile on your face when your body feels like it’s been ran over by a mack truck, but studies prove that a stressed out body is the perfect breeding ground for sickness and disease. But it’s something you must will yourself to do. Remember our words are powerful! They set our atmosphere. The Bible tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it. So make sure you're speaking the right things...words of faith! And it doesn't hurt while you're recovering to keep the "Debbie Downers" out of your life either. The last thing you need are people who are chomping at the bit to tell you their "horror" surgery story.  Ummm, excuse me ma'am or sir...but no thanks! 

If God gives you another chance to get your health in order, like He did for me...take advantage of it. You only get one chance to heal properly from surgery, so do it right! Take your time and listen to your body. He expects us to take every opportunity to make sure we’re doing all we can to allow that to come to past. Not everyone is afforded that chance, so I’m so grateful He’s allowing me to live my second half of life to the fullest! And I promise…I won’t let Him down! Proverbs 17:22, Psalm 41:3, John 10:10b(Amp)  

*Any tips you've learned that you'd like to share?*

All Rights Reserved copyright© 2012-2014 Michell Pulliam “Prowess and Pearls” by Michell Pulliam

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  1. Hey Michell, Sounds like you've been through a fairly big ordeal... NOT fun! This is all such good advice. My mother has been through multiple surgeries. She's a pro, and I know she would agree with all of your thoughts. We always got her a surgery "gift" of some kind, because having surgery just isn't fun. Our best idea was the full set of Pride and Prejudice DVDs (to occupy a little time.) The other idea she might add is to cook and freeze some meals ahead of time so those who are helping out around the house can just pull a meal out and put it in the oven. As you say, surgery is a humbling experience and a lesson in patience. Wishing you a full and complete recovery:)

    1. Hey Seana...thank you!! Yep, so glad it's ALL behind me now! Oh yes, along with cleaning your house, is to definitely prepare food ahead. I like the surgery gift sure would be refreshing! Thanks so much for stopping by my friend!

  2. I'm glad you're on the road to recovery! Goodness! I enjoyed reading your advice. It's good to visit you after my long blogging-absence. :) Love you, girl!

    1. You just don't know Meredith, lol! I'm sooo glad to be on the "other side" girl! I see you and me both were on a blogging hiatus! I started back in October...posting only once a month or as I'm led to. Love you too lady!

  3. Bless you, my friend. Surgery - Been there , done that. However, it was a while after my surgery that I learned the importance of eating right. I'm still learning. It's a process. I truly learned to depend on God - more than ever before. What an experience!

    1. Oh yes, Trinity! It's amazing how God created our bodies to respond to healthy foods! If we just eat healthy...our bodies will practically heal themselves. Thanks for stopping by my friend!

  4. Hi Michell! It's great to see you again! I"m glad you finally got the surgery you needed, and I hope that it will be a great tool for healing. Good for you for not listening to the 'war stories' of other people. Yikes. Who needs that?
    Just soak up the love and help of your family and friends. You have always been a helper. Now it's your turn to be helped!
    Healing blessings,

    1. Awww...thanks Ceil! That's so sweet of you my friend! IKR...I even had to block the people on my recovery forum who had horror stories to tell. Only positivity this way, lol! Blessings to you!

  5. Oh Michell!!! I SO get this post!!! And I love love love all your advice!! AMEN girl!!! I have been THERE. And I am praying that you will continue to heal and rest and recover!!! Are you doing better? May God continue to use your life, your heart, and your LOVE for HIM!!!

    1. Oh yes girl! I'm better than ever! God is amazing, my recovery was much better and quicker than expected! I know you have...I often thought of you during my recovery. I would say to myself..."if Chris made it through HER surgery, SURELY I can do this", lol! Thanks for the encouragement my friend! Love ya! xoxo

  6. Glad to hear that you're recovering well. I can't imagine being laid up for 6 whole weeks! I would go stir crazy!

    1. Thanks so much BreAnna! Haha...believe me, it was tough, but it went by fast! :-)

  7. Michell, I'm glad you are doing well. You are so right about taking care of your health. I have put a few things off and have decided to get the ball rolling in 2015. Thank you, for sharing your journey! Joy and blessings coming your way~ Cynthia

    1. Hi Cynthia!! How have you been my good hearing from you!! Oh yes, it was one of the BEST decisions I ever made! Wishing the best for you! Joy and blessings to you as well!

  8. I have had so many surgeries and you pretty much nailed it. Glad you are getting better! Happy to meet you through Blogelina. Can't wait to read more of your blog and learn more together.

  9. Hi Shauna! You're definitely more of an expert than i am, lol! Thanks so much for stopping by and thanks for the kind words. Looking forward to it. Have a wonderful weekend! :-)

  10. I had three surgeries last year but none of them involved a really bad recovery. The worst part for me as just laying around and doing nothing and showering being a pain in the you know what!

    Lauren Elizabeth
    Petite in Pearls

    1. Three? Wow! I know what you mean...the hardest part was definitely not being able to do anything, lol! Thanks so much for dropping by Lauren..have a wonderful rest of your week!

  11. Thanks so much Anthony! Blessings to you! :-)

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