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Thursday, April 5, 2012

One Step At A Time

     Well, step one of my surgery journey is complete!  I had the first cataract surgery done this week and I have to say it went fine despite my anxiety.  It is still too early to declare that it is a complete success but all the signs look good.  I am a bit gun shy about avidly saying that it is 100% successful since my numb mouth episode last summer!
     That said, all signs point to it being a success.  One really big lesson for me that is unfolding throughout this process of having several surgeries in fairly short order is that despite my resolve to plan so that I can essentially eliminate all anxiety, that simply is not the case.  
     Not sure who this author is but I love the title of her book and could not resist starting my discussion with this aptly titled book.  I am one of those people that believes the better prepared you are for what lies ahead the better you will be able to handle it.  Well that is all well and good but there is only so much you can plan for and inevitably reality is often a bit different than what we anticipate.  Stepping into the unknown can generate a lot of anxiety and I am living proof of that!
     I was sure that I knew every step of the way what the eye surgery would entail, fooling myself into believing there would be no surprises...not true.  It is virtually impossible to anticipate every possible step along the way when you are having a medical procedure done.  That is a fact that I now accept and hope it will guide me through these next several surgeries.  I am hoping that fully embracing that fact will make me less anxious as the "surgical surprises" unfold.  
     As I was chatting with my son last evening he said to me that the way to approach these surgeries is to plan for what you can, understanding that you can only do so much in advance.  Then once you are home and the surgery is over, realize that each day that passes is a day closer to full recovery.  That was so simple yet profound I was in awe of his insight. 
     He is just coming off of leg surgery that has had him on crutches for nearly 10 weeks so he speaks from experience and I listened intently to his advice.  He seems to have a way of relating to my circumstances with a compassion and wisdom that far exceeds his years on earth.  All of my family members contribute to my ability to manage RA and I hope that others have that same support.  It is crucial to my chronic disease management.
     Another lesson learned was to allow myself some "time off" from the day to day responsibilities.  I tend to get right back on the horse as I don't do well with disruption of routine.   I think that is a direct side effect of the fact that RA manifests in exactly the opposite way...that is it is a constant unknown, always changing, never allowing a moment of constancy.  As I have said many times in my blog that is the single most disruptive, difficult aspect of the specific chronic disease of Rheumatoid Arthritis.  The Change Meter is always set on high for those of us with RA.
   That is a challenge that seeps into every decision, plan, action and reaction that we have in our lives.  Given that, it really explains why we try so hard to regulate other areas of our life, like surgery prep., for instance.  I think unless you truly can put yourself in the shoes of an RA patient (and why would you 'cause let's face it our shoes are NOT comfortable!) you cannot really appreciate what I am talking about.  
    So, knowing that about myself, I realized that I cannot expect that routine I so treasure to offset the inconsistency of RA to be without some disruption now and then, especially as a result of surgery!  I gave myself permission to stray from the routine this time and it has helped me to better heal, cope, and hopefully move on to the next surgery with less stress.  If I achieve that than I have added yet another tool to my bag of RA management tricks and that is always satisfying.


abcsofra said...

Well wahoooo on the eye surgery going good! And that thing called planning. I have come to the conclusion that in the future I am going to plan to not plan anymore :-) Or in my murphy world...take one step forward and then two back. Now go put your feet up and relax :-)

Wren said...

I'm glad the cataract surgery went so well--at least, so far. Your son really is wise; taking one day at a time, one step at a time toward fill recovery is so sensible. No need to rush! The bathrooms are always going to need cleaning... ;o)

Best wishes for everything still to come. My thoughts are with you and I'm sending all the warmth, comfort and patience your way that I can.