Have your gall bladder removed
If you haven’t been keeping up with the blog (I’m going to pretend everyone has been glued to their chairs waiting for these posts to come out but just in case) you need to know that at this point in the series:
- I gave birth to my first child in March of 2006
- I had an ovary removed in July of 2007
- I gave birth to my second child in October of 2007
Ok there’s a lot more in between but you’re going to have to hit up Parts 1-3 for that.
If you HAVE been keeping up with the blog (you’re totally awesome) and might be thinking “Is she serious?!?”
A month after my daughter was born I started feeling pain in my stomach. I tried to ignore it but over the course of the day it was getting worse. I didn’t tell anyone. I kept convincing myself that it was nothing and there was no need to make anyone worry. Even after I started throwing up, I kept telling myself that I’d speak up if it happened one more time. Well, it kept happening. I finally told my husband but the kids were already asleep so I decided to drive myself to the hospital. Thankfully the ER was only semi-packed and I only threw up in the waiting room twice while my girlfriends showed up to keep me company and who doesn’t love girl time? Wasn’t my appendix so I spent the night in the hospital as they tried to figure out what it was.
Now I understand what Job felt like.
You’d think that with a feisty newborn and 18 month old at home I would almost welcome a night in my own room but no. The cool thing about landing in the hospital is that they have all sorts of drugs to take away pain and nausea so it’s a good thing they also had industrial breast milk pumps because I still had to keep up the routine and after successfully pumping 8oz of breastmilk (I was like a cow) I would just go over to the sink and dump it ALL. For the non moms out there this is a tough thing to picture and/or understand the devistation. Imagine working all day, getting a paycheck and then having to tear it up. The time spent pumping and dumping all alone in the hospital room really made me wonder what could possibly happen next. I had no idea how I was going to tell my jobs because I had already gone back to work both of them and now had to be out, again. I wasn’t helping my husband with the kids. I wasn’t making money. I was quite the site at this point. Needless to say, I felt useless and was, once again, letting everyone down.
The next evening I was finally diagnosed with gall bladder stones and, lucky me, they had an opening in the OR the next day. It was all a blur and all I know is that I experienced slight relief when I was told the surgery could be done via laparoscopy. Finally! Good news! I know that was reaching but I was desperate to find silver lining. The surgery went flawless and I was sent home. I can’t even tell you how long the recovery was because I think I just blocked out that whole experience.
What I didn’t block out were the lessons I learned, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.
1. Stop on your own or your body will take you down forcefully. There is a point where we all experience exhausting. It’s beyond needing a little nap or a cup of coffee to perk you it. It is a weariness that you can feel in your bones. Everything becomes a chore. The idea of getting dress, brushing your teeth, or eating seems overwhelming. You should probably stop long before that happens but if you don’t, you will eventually and it won’t be pretty. I didn’t take care of myself. I was so worried about letting people down that I jumped back into two jobs 3 weeks after my daughter was born. It felt selfish to ask someone else to take on my responsibilities but I have learned to read my own body’s cues and love myself enough to take a break regularly so I can stay healthy and happy. I had to learn that it benefits all of my relationships for me to take care of myself because I can’t take care of others if I am incapacitated.
2. It can always get worse. Always. Don’t even tempt fate to wonder, let alone allow the words to escape from your mouth. We can spend our time thinking about how horrible things are and they probably are but there’s no great reason to make it worse. It seems so easy to see all the bad things that are going on but then again it must be just as easily to look for the good. It’s a choice we all make, either consciously or unconsciously. While these were some of my darkest moments, it was that choice to find happiness that brought me out of each situation feeling more empowered. It all eventually gave me the strength I needed to live the life I was meant for.
3. Insurance is really great. Seriously, it was a life saver. It’s a shame to see what has happened to health insurance but I am incredibly thankful for it since this would have been financially devastating. Yay, more silver lining.
4. You have to keep looking deeper. I’m sure at this point you’re either fascinated or tired of looking at my tummy. It’s not secret that I love people. I am fascinated by them. I will talk to anyone and I always want to know everything about them. I want to understand their story. I ask so many questions and I am always surprised how candid a perfect stranger can be. We are all judged at first glance but we have to remember there is always more. This tummy has been through a lot and has many stories and layers to it so imagine the story that exists withinin everyone. I don’t mean everyone will be a friend but if prompted correctly, everyone can become a wonderful storytelly, even if only for a brief moment. If you have a story you’re dying to tell someone but think no one wants to hear it, try me!
I’m already putting the finishing touches on Part 5 of this series and have started brainstorming for my next series. I am so proud of how this project has touched different people in different ways. I would love to hear from you if somehow this has been fun for you, too!!