Well, friends and family, it's been a little while. It's probably been the last month that I keep thinking, "I need to post a journal update." Then something distracts me and to be honest, I don't always like the conversation to be about me. Still, I do think that there are some people who want to know how I'm faring without Hugo in my life.
I'm doing well!! However, I will say that recovery has been more of a challenge than I anticipated. The physical part of the surgery really wasn't the biggest challenge. My body was pretty well on the mend 2-4 weeks after and definitely back into the swing of things 8 weeks post op.
My biggest challenges have been mentally and emotionally. The emotions, I was warned about, but I honestly, didn't think it would be that big of a deal. There were times that I felt a lot of emotions about certain things, but I couldn't dissect why. It felt like a mess of sadness, frustration, anger and unhappiness enveloping me. There were times I needed to remove myself from situations just because I didn't know how to process. Slowly, I would fight through the haze of emotion to the root of things. It took me longer to get there, but once I did I could better articulate my feelings and start to work things through.
Speaking of haze, that's been another challenge - brain fog. It was another thing that I didn't know how to describe to people when they would ask how I was doing. I did some searching online to see what might be going on. I tried to talk to my surgeon and PCP about it, but they didn't seem to think it correlated to my surgery. I felt so frustrated. I am a bright girl, I know that, even if you try to argue it with me. (lol) However, what I kept finding was my memory was fuzzy. There were things I knew, but I couldn't recall them when I wanted to. As an example, I was trying to think of a guy from work. I kept calling him "Ethan" but his name was Evan. So, I was close, but just not on point like normal. It was so frustrating. I've had to develop better habits for writing myself notes and setting appointments in my phone. I did some research on post operative cognitive dysfunction. It was the closest thing I could find that described how I felt, but it typically happens only in the elderly. But who knows. Maybe having 2 back to back surgeries can do that to a person. I found that there were some recommended supplements to take and I ordered them. I've been taking them for a month an a half now. I'm not sure they are helping or it's just been a part of the process, but I am doing better. I do still find that my brain needs more nudging than it used to and I hope that as time passes, so will the fog. It has definitely lessened.
Since I already mentioned that my emotions were a bit on the fritz, I decided that in an effort to help myself process through things, I made an appointment to visit my counselor/therapist. She has been a great help to me when I've stopped in from time to time to just process things through over the past 10 years. We sat down and shortly after chatting with her, she identified that I suffer from PTSD and she encouraged me to consider moving forward with EMDR therapy. What is that, right? (That was my question). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a form of psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro in the 1990s in which the person being treated is asked to recall distressing images; the therapist then directs the patient in one type of bilateral sensory input, such as side-to-side eye movements or hand tapping. (Thank you, Google).
It was a lot to digest. I knew I didn't have a childhood that I recalled fondly. There are good memories here and there, but there are holes in my memories (before the brain fog :), there are ugly times I do remember. Despite that, I only thought it was military veterans and victims of violent crimes who "earned" the right to the PTSD label. I never wanted my 1st world problems to be over dramatized. With the help of my counselor, she helped me to realize that even emotional and verbal abuse can be just as traumatic as physical abuse and events. So, we started down that path. I know it will be a long road, but after 2019, I am a different woman. I want to be whole, happy and healthy. One step at a time, I will get there.
Continuing with the idea of happiness, I did just return from a trip to Texas, my happy place. A friend of mine, invited me to her husband's 40th birthday party. I would guess she sent it to me, without really thinking it would happen, but IT DID!!! lol I originally met them through a guy I was dating when I lived in Midland/Odessa TX. They also have a place in El Paso, where they held the party. I had never spent time in EP, merely passed through. I had some vacation to use and also airline miles to redeem. It worked out well. I had such a fantastic time and felt so touched to get to spend that time with my friends. They shared the most that El Paso had to offer. We went to the mountains, out to the desert, ate the most amazing Mexican food, and soaked up every last ray of sunshine I could. I am so thankful for the people that God brings into our lives, when we least expect it, who connect with us on such a deep level. It seems like you've known them for years. It broke my heart to leave, not only my Texas, but my friend. It was a glorious visit. I did also get to stay unexpectedly overnight in DFW and get to see more friends. These friends are more family than friends too.
So, to wrap this up, I am doing well. Still working on recovering. I'm trying to get to the gym and get in shape as well as eating better (now that I'm back from vacation). I am continuing to enjoy the journey!