The road is never straight.
I have now been home from the hospital for over a week, and I am definitely stronger. I can take a shower all by myself! I can dress myself and carry my cereal bowl from the table to the dishwasher. I can write this blog post. The Visiting Nurses have come (angels on earth that they are) and have announced that my wound is healing perfectly (even though it’s the longest scar they’ve seen in quite a while), and my vital signs are good. When it comes to the important things, I’m a star.
But in cancer as in life, it’s the little things that can trip you up the most. We have been calling them speed bumps .These are the secondary, non-vital situations which force themselves into primary position, not because they are life threatening, but because they are excessively uncomfortable or even temporarily debilitating. For me, it was my poor, swollen bladder which is struggling to learn how to function on its own again. This has involved two weeks of trial and error and has been the issue which has caused me to feel more like a sick person than anything else. The other issue has been the incredible itching and stinging throughout my belly as my nerves start to stitch themselves back together.
I’m not describing all this to get sympathy (although your kind words have meant a great deal to me), but rather to think about what these speed bumps really are, and how to deal with them. I realize now that the real problem here isn’t the urinary track infection or the annoying abdominal sensations. It’s the impatience. Even though I know that no roads are straight, I want one anyway. I want continued progress in a straight line. Progress never works that way, though. By giving in to the frustration of the impatience, I actually overlook the fact that having the energy to feel impatient in the first place is, itself, an indication of progress. Just like boredom, impatience shows that I am getting ready to do more. Two weeks ago all I wanted to do was lie on the hospital bed and stare at a blank tv screen. Now that I remind myself of my original hoped-for time frame of being happy and capable enough to go out for our anniversary dinner in August, I can see how far I have come in just 2 weeks, never mind 3 months.
So, to add to the clichés, I have to say that resistance is futile. And impatience is the fuel of resistance. I need to remember to avoid both impatience and resistance as much as I can. I can’t resist the speed bumps. I can only go over them as gracefully as possible. Handling them slowly and calmly makes their effects less of a crash. Speeding over speed bumps only makes you lose your transmission.
We are bothdelighted to hear that you are making progress, awed by the quality of your writing, and completely understanding your impatience. What an ordeal for you and Don. But, we know your transmission will hold!
Love, Ron and Helen
I guess that’s why they say patience is a virtue. Not one that I can say I have!! Please know we have you in our ♥️ And hope you are able to go out to dinner well before your anniversary.
You are quite remarkable in that you are your own healer and doctor but don’t lose that transmission because I don’t want you to also have to learn to be a master mechanic while you already healing so beautifully! Can’t wait to see you again.
Your words are a lesson of love. In this case learning to love oneself. Being patient with oneself is the hardest thing.
The struggle is real and totally recognizable. Hang in there Sue.
Those speed bumps are milestones in your recovery. You are moving through them with great courage.
Sue, another perceptive reflection! Cannot wait to see you. Happy to hear of your progress, bumpy but sure!
It’s taken me a year to feel like myself again. Not about what I can do because that’s always gone well. Just haven’t felt sturdy and resilient. Doing better now. So glad that I like to read. It’s me a huge difference this year. 2021 is not perfect but it’s a big improvement over 2020.
Thanks for sharing your journey Sue. We’re following along here in England, thinking of you and wishing you well.
Great analogy to be considered not only in recovering from surgery but in life itself. I hope your recovery road has fewer speed bumps ahead!
Little steps, big progress. It’s all good to hear. And the fact that you can write these blogs posts at all is I think a big step rather than a little one, which must mean massive progress.
All our best.
“Impatience shows I am ready to do more.” It takes a lot of effort not get depressed or frustrated, you are reframing in a positive light. You will triumph!
I hear your humor peaking through these essays. Thanks for that.
Resistance and impatience could also be motivators to help go over those bumps. Thinking of you and sending hugs and good thoughts and lots of love.
First time reading your blog Sue. Brava. Insightful and meaningful. I am so glad you are on the road to recovery and look forward to reading more about your journey.