Odd title for a post, huh?
Let me start by saying that I am now 13 days post surgery, and it hasn't gotten any easier. I was great for the first 3 or 4 days, which I understand is quite normal due to the medications and anesthetic. I find that the pain is becoming a bit more manageable now, but still have days where it is severe. I am walking about a block a day, when I am up for it, but haven't had much energy for anything else. All in all, surgery was a necessary evil, and now that it is over, I am feeling very overwhelmed with the leftovers. No, not food in this case. Emotions. Things that I should have resolved a long time ago. Also left is the damage that the last 6 months or so has caused in my life.
Lets start with the emotions. One of the ones that is still catching me off guard is anger. I am usually not an angry person, but I don't even know how to begin to sort through the things I am angry about. Things like all of the people who doubted what I was really going through. All of the people who didn't know, because they weren't interested in maintaining family connections. Co-workers who did nothing but talk trash, and create more drama and aggravation, to the point where I don't even know if I want to go back. Anger with the doctors that missed this, or dismissed this, or treated me like I was drug seeking. I find that most days, that is what I struggle with the most. I am also feeling very saddened at times. Sad for lost relationships. Overwhelmingly sad again about the loss of my father. Sad for the fact that even though I am surrounded by people, I feel insanely lonely. I also feel so blessed! So many people have supported us with prayers, visits, calls, emails, meals, (i don't think we've had to cook for two weeks!), and even money. As we speak now, friends are planning a benefit to help us financially over the next few months. We are truly loved, and although I will never be able to repay this, I will make it my life's mission to serve other people. I have decided after my recovery, I will pursue full time ministry, which I truly feel is what God has called me to do.
Another leftover I am having a hard time processing is the damage that this whole ordeal has caused in our lives. The emotional toll on myself, my wife, and my kids break my heart. To hear them all express their fears about me dying, or not being the same after surgery, are wounds that are deep, and will take time to heal. We've also lost everything. Our second vehicle, our checking, our savings. Gone. Even the money saved so far for our 15th anniversary trip-gone. Luckily we have disability, and Emily is still working, but it's still going to be a long road to get back to financial stability. It is very humble knowing that there are people who care enough, and care so much, that they are pulling together a benefit, and special offerings at church. It's amazing, and this is truly how God works. Aside from the financial losses though, there are damaged relationships, lost time, missed opportunities. It's hard to try to put a list together of steps to begin to repair that. I've also lost touch with so much that made me who I was. How do I get that back? And will I ever be that person again? It's going to be a long road to get back to normal, and even when I reach that point, it will be my goal to get healthier physically that I was before.
Now here are some leftovers that I can't get enough of! I am so overwhelmingly proud of my wife and my kids. The way they have rallied together, the way they have taken care of me, the way that they have even cared for each other has been amazing. I have and AMAZING family! I'm also loving the leftovers of care, concern, prayer, and encouragement I am feeling from so many people. That is what makes all the negatives so bearable. I have a huge amount of time leftover too! I fill it with rest, which my body needs for healing. I fill it with playing games with the kids, having great conversations with them, cuddling with my Emma. I watch them all too. It's like I have a front row seat to watch how they are all growing, changing, becoming fantastic, exceptional people. I don't think many people get that opportunity or perspective.
This isn't a pity party. (okay, maybe a small one, but I'm entitled to that once in a while) Alot of my readers are people who have illnesses that are "unseen", and alot of people with chiari have begun following my blog. I want people to understand that everything I am going through, and no doubt thousands of others go through, is normal. It sucks. It hurts. But we will come out the other side, stronger, better, and changed. And that is normal too. Too bad there aren't any Tupperware containers for life's leftovers. But then again, some of them aren't worth saving.