The Stuff They Don’t Tell You About

As I headed into surgery a month and three days ago, I was sure that I had all the pertinent facts. I knew what was supposed to happen, I knew what might happen and I knew what my post-op goals would be. So organized.

Relaxed and ready to go! Life’s a beach!

Yeah, no.

Recovering from surgery is hard work!

No one tells you you won’t be able to rest in the hospital, not even at night. Not even during Quiet Hours. Not even when your Mom is there to guard your door and tell people to go away. Not one uninterrupted wink. So. Tired.

No one tells you that you will be so excited to get the hell out of there that you will take a terrible “Going Home” picture to mark the occasion but really all you want is for that wheelchair to get here so you can finally get some sleep at home.

“Take the picture. Take the picture. TAKE THE FRIGGIN PICTURE AND LET’S BLOW THIS POP STAND!!!”

No on tells you about the fatigue. About how you’ll need more naps than your sweet baby niece who is 9 months old. It went like this: wake up, shower, sit down, fall asleep. Wake up, eat breakfast, sit down, fall asleep. Wake up, eat lunch, pop in a movie, fall asleep. Right, Deb? This was my routine the entire first week I was home.

No one tells you about the battle wounds. I mean, outside of the surgical scars. I have a scar where my IV was, a scar where a drain was, and I had those bruises for THREE WEEKS!

Next time, I’m getting shot up in my thighs where there’s more fat.

And no one, I mean NO ONE explains the catabolic response your body might have to the trauma of a major surgery.

{I’m about to complain about unintentional weight loss so, if you’re one of those people who is going to go nuts on me and tell me that I’m crazy for complaining about trying to keep weight on, look away. Then come back, ok?}

Because my surgery was so rough on my body, the response was for my body to go ballistic. I lost almost 20 pounds in the first week or so. But not 20 pounds of fat. OOOOOOOH NOOOOOO, that would be too easy! My body was in such dire straits for nutrition to fix the broken parts that it essentially ate my muscles for the protein.

That’s right, I’m a cannibal.

Skinny mini Abby.

This is a huge pain in the ass when I am not up to eating my normal amount of food, let alone enough to keep up with the increase in demand post-op. Took me a little while and a lot of eating, but I’m back up to a healthy weight. Phew!

You know what else no one tells you? The catabolic response can include night sweats. Sexy, right? Soaking-the-sheets, change-your-PJs-at-2am, why-am-I-swimming-in-my-bed night sweats. My body is working overtime to heal, which means I’m sweating like a beast running a 90 degree marathon in the middle of the night.

Aaaaaaand they haven’t gone away yet. Sweet.

There are so many things that happen during recovery that seem like little side effects but they are actually gigantic nuisances that make recovery something other than just lying around watching the most recent seasons of Mad Men, Downton Abbey, The Good Wife and every chick flick on iTunes. It’s hard work to recover!

So, here I am in recovery. Walking my walks, taking the stairs to build up my legs and praying that my legs remember how to run when I give that a go for the first time in the next few weeks.

Dear Body,

It’s time to game up. School starts on Monday. Get it together.



Now go out and run!

4 thoughts on “The Stuff They Don’t Tell You About

  1. I love your positive attitude. I have all the faith in the world that you will get back to your “old self” stronger than ever!! I wish you the best of luck in your recovery!

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