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Thursday, July 11, 2013

6 Weeks Post-Op: All Clear!

This morning I had my six week post-op check-up and the Dr. said that I had a normal examination and that everything looked great!  I can resume all normal activities although it will take awhile for my full strength to come back.  It seems likely that I won't be doing any dead lifting anytime soon but I am so thankful that there were no complications.  The pathology report also came back totally normal so my worries about my own gynecological health are behind me for now.  In fact, the Dr. told me that I only need to have a pap smear every 5 years so the next time I need to go into the office is in 2017!
A flood of emotion hit me as I finished my appointment.  I was so grateful to my Dr. who gave me such wonderful and amazing care.  I truly felt like she cared about me and my own personal journey.  I guess when she said I didn't have to come back for any reason, I was also a little sad that I won't get to see her regularly anymore.  Of course, I am happy that I am healthy and that everything has healed so well, but this has been quite an intimate journey that we've shared so I think it natural to feel such a warm connection.  Additionally, I realized that all of my fears regarding ovarian cancer have now been lifted.  I no longer have to worry about what's going on in my body.  The troublesome symptoms that were bothering me pre-op have disappeared.  I will never have to buy and export another Tampax tampon for the rest of my life!  These are all really joyful thoughts that represent the end of a long and difficult journey in my life.  I guess the tears that ran rapidly down my face were a fairly natural response to an emotion filled conversation.  In many ways, I feel that over these past months, since I made the decision last December to have a hysterectomy and oophorectomy (ovary removal), I feel I've been on an uphill climb.  In the background of my decision was always my mom's failing health.  Then the operation was postponed twice...once hospital error, once because of returning to California to care for my mom in her final days.  Now, after climbing the mountain, I've been cleared for the fun, easy coast down to sea level! It's amazing to me that everything I've been worrying about is behind me.  That is such a strange and wonderful feeling.  And I am so grateful for how smoothly everything went.  So little pain and real discomfort over an extended time coupled with the gift of being asked to stay in bed, take naps, read in the sunshine, sleep late, go to bed early, let others do for you.  Maybe the tears were partly because I hate to see that go!  Dr. cleared me to stay at 50% for the rest of July as far work goes and return full time August 1.  Truth be told, while I feel good, fatigue sets in and a nap comes on every afternoon.  I am happy that I can ease back into a busy season and build up my stamina in time for a busier autumn.
And so the concerns regarding the hysterectomy are behind me.  I've been given a clean bill of health and a new lease on life!  All that's left is getting rid of my "swelly belly!"  LOVE that phrase. When someone cuts through your abdominal muscles, it's amazing how hard it becomes to suck in your gut!  I've been calling my round tummy my Buddah belly but swelly belly is so much better! Whatever you want to call it, I hope someday to have it flatten out a bit more again!
As soon as I got home from the Dr., I took Tanner on a short walk all by myself.  I plan to figure out what an exercise regime looks like for me and I'll start my weight lifting goals by resuming grocery shopping!
I think it will take me awhile to sift through all of the emotion I was feeling this morning.  In the past three months I've said good-bye to my mom and had major surgery to remove troublesome body parts.  Maybe when the Dr. said you are cleared to resume a normal life, part of me still wonders what the "new normal" is.  That will take some time to graft into my daily life, but I am filled with gratitude for the love of a faithful husband, the care of an amazing church, the support of a global network of friends, and my dear dad...who comes to visit us next week.  Yes, there is much to look forward to and I do so with a full heart.