It has been really hard to figure out what to say 10 days after surgery. The last time I sat down to write out some sort of reflection/update was the three year anniversary of surgery #2.  It was the first time I felt ready to say something about the health issues and conditions which had first entered my life 5 years earlier with surgery #1.
So I went back and reread that reflection.  There are parts of it that are beautiful and were true.  There are parts of it that I don’t think I will ever have to relive.  And there are parts which are still true.  Like this:

Surgery is hard. It’s hard on your mind, body, and soul. … Mostly because after having had brain surgery twice, after learning to live with a body that was subtlety different after each surgery, after a lot of pain, after all of that there was still a lot of recovery I still had to do.

And that was after three years.  So after 10 days what can I possibly say?

I can start with the fact that recovery is going well.
I’m taking fewer and fewer pain medications.
I’m up and about.  I made it to 3 out of 5 classes this week.  Please understand that I went to class, sat there and listened, and then came home and sat on the couch for several hours because I was then too tired to do anything else.
One of the interesting things about my surgery is that to help plug some of the holes they make in my head the surgeons take a fatty tissue graft from my thigh.  This graft site then goes on to become the longest lasting effect of surgery.   It effects my walking, making stairs particularly challenging; it effects how I sleep; and later on it turns into my own personal barometer.  Though healing well, it will remain sore, if not actually painful, for a long time.

Otherwise, we wait.
My doctor’s and I wait to see if any problems may develop; what test results look like; and if any further care is needed.  We’ll know more in about 6 weeks.
I wait to see what will be subtly different about my body this time—the new normal will not be the same as my most recent normal.
I wait for the day when my energy is high enough that I can resume a regular schedule.
I wait for the pain to become noticeable in it’s absence.

And this, this waiting is the hard work.
The work of getting used to a different body, a subtly different body; the work of getting fully back into my life; the work of relearning how my life is different, of how having surgery for the third time has made me different; all of that starts now.
It is long and hard work.  And made harder because it’s largely invisible work.  No one sees that I feel more pain and differently.  No one sees that I hear differently.  No one sees how hard it will be for me to live a simple life or for how long that will be true.  No one sees how my thinking, my faith, my approach to life will change in addition to my activity.
This is work that happens in the morning and in the middle of the night.  This is the work that happens in handfuls and fits and spurts.  This is the work of unlearning old habits and learning new ways of living.
This is the work that I call ‘recovery’.  This is the work that is hard.

There is a lot to do.  It has already started.

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