Looking back, and ahead

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Since Wed when I went into town to get Norman with the guys, I've been in bed. I've been lucky to get up and to the bathroom. I was surprised my little outing has put me down as much as it has, but it has. I managed to get up to say hello to our hay guy yesterday and that was probably a mistake but I wanted to move around a little bit. Of course my Doctor didn't sugar coat the length of time for recovery and it's still quite early, but I am amazed at the fact I still can't stand for more than a few minutes at a time - or sit for more than a few minutes either. Well, I can do both, but I pay for it. However I'm so tired of pain, I'm trying my best to avoid everything that puts me in any more of it than I have to be and I'm coming to terms with the fact I just can't do stuff. I can't stand up and cook yet, or can food... and if I force myself I'd be making a huge mistake, so I won't. I'll just do what my body needs to do to continue healing.

BUT I'm at that point in recovery where new challenges come into play. I am very fortunate and I am healing, and I'm beyond grateful for that, but mostly I have kept to myself the challenges of recovery and only shared the fact I am indeed healing and while it's slow, it is happening. And that's very true. I've had some good days and some good things happen and made plenty of progress... But as with everyone, nothing is all rainbows and butterflies. There is a lot of struggle. 

Yesterday I had a minor..breakdown, fit, whatever you want to call it. It was caused by the simple fact I was feeling sorry for myself...if I'm being honest. I'd rather not be honest about that, but I think it's important to be honest about it, because it's reality. 

 I still cannot get up and do the things I want to do, I can barely get to the barn, I cannot go for hikes in the forest, I cannot start canning my peppers or making wine. Of course there are plenty of things I can do in my current state, like focus on writing, knitting, do crafts, watch movies, etc. But sometimes it just feels easier to focus on all the bad things, and that's exactly the state of mind I allowed myself to be in (pain doesn't help that either). And part of that is my fault. I've been letting myself get away without accomplishing things to make me feel better, because in my mind, "accomplishing things" is doing 50 different things at once. In reality, if I started an article, answered some emails, or worked on a new piece of jewelry, that's doing something productive. I don't need to can 200 jars of jelly and trim every goats hooves and clean the entire house in one afternoon, to be productive in real life. I easily forget that small things mean just as much, or more in this case, than big things.

And so I just cried and felt miserable. 

Then I looked down at my feet, and I had three little dogs looking at me with broken hearts. Big eyes looking up at me, paws reaching out and touching me, completely disturbed by my tears and very worried. That just made me feel worse. But reminded me in that moment, no matter how isolated or alone I felt, that's never true.

 Aside from temporarily feeling sorry for myself, now that my body is recovering and waking up, I have the joy of my already imbalanced hormones being thrown into even more imbalance since I lost an ovary and both of my tubes. I can feel it, that things are not right and the Doctor made sure I knew it would be a good 6 months before I could expect any leveling of my hormones because it's a lot on your body.. it has to adjust. But even though I knew that, it's sometimes hard in the moment to remind yourself exactly what is happening and that you need to accept it, and also control it. I've been really lucky since surgery with my hormones, my emotions have been slightly whacky but much better than I expected. However I was on medication and things were for the most part, asleep. I felt them wake up several days ago when I had terribly increased pain and cramping. Hormones can be hell. You can't live with them sometimes but you also can't live without them. A lot of people deal with that, anyone with a thyroid problem knows very well how much hormones affect you (for men and women) and imbalances go hand in hand with endometriosis itself. In a lot of ways, this part of the battle can be as bad or worse than the pain because it affects a lot more than just you. It's affects everything. 

I got over my pity party of course, for now. I don't expect this to be smooth sailing and it's likely to get worse in some ways before it gets better. I have a long way to go with proper healing, months. And there will be times now at this point where I "feel" or "think" I can do certain things and I will find out no doubt that I cannot. And that's always a frustration or disappointment. It's a constant battle to stay positive, to let go of things you cannot control, and to accept your limitations, whatever they may be. We all have them. 

I've always known about the importance of self talk but I've never used it as a tool as much as I have during the past three months before surgery and since. Sometimes dealing with your mind and emotions is very much like dealing with a child. "No, you can't say that. No, you can't do that. That's stupid, and you know better... stop that." We all do it sometimes, sometimes we don't even realize it, and then at other times we forget to do it, which usually leads to trouble, either for ourselves or the people around us. Let's face it, staying positive can be hard at times, but it's vital. And there are always positives - sometimes they are just harder to see or we forget to see them at all. 

So, I've made a conscious decision to make an effort to do something "productive" each day. Something productive but also non destructive. I have often thought "I'd love to go for a walk" but since I can only walk a very short distance, I figure, what's the point... I can't go where I want to anyway. But that's negative thinking - in reality, if I try, I may be able to walk a little further each time and I may in the end, end up where I wanted to be in the first place. It's all about patience and perseverance. I never thought I'd be setting such goals for myself as "walk to that tree, or that rock, and home." but I am. And I'll be grateful every time I reach one of them and I'll pat myself on the back and just be glad I made progress at all. I remind myself people can't climb mountains just because they want to - every things takes patience, education, practice, skill, and determination. 

Today I decided to look at some of our old pictures on discs as a happy distraction... The funny thing was, the first disc I put into my laptop to view was of my first fall/winter at this farm with Kevin. Our first Christmas together was also when I had my very first surgery to be diagnosed with endometriosis. As a present that Christmas, he put cabinets in the kitchen for me while I was recovering from surgery. When I first moved here, the house still had plywood counters, no cabinets in the kitchen, plywood floors... even though the house is still not done, sometimes it's easy to forget how far we've come... well maybe not for Kevin, since he build the place from the ground up! I thought I'd share a few pictures I've stumbled upon so far.

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Getting the kitchen ready to put the cabinets and counters in...

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The first of the cabinets going in!

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Kevin putting the sink in.

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The only time my kitchen has been that bare...

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This is a terrible picture but it made me laugh - we have all been here. New Year's Eve, Vet is closed, and someone has a problem. One of my Flemish Giants had an abscessed tooth - of all things!

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Kevin starting the stone work for our hearth. We laid all the stones out in their general pattern on the living room floor and walked around and over them in the weeks leading up to starting this project.

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Putting the stones in place...

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Ready to put the stove back...

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Another project mostly done... and the floor got started!

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The gazebo going up for the hot tub....

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The gazebo finished and the sun room getting started... (it still all needs to be stained...)

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The very beginning of our barn...

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Picking up our first three Prairie dogs... Norman was very interested in them!

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Buddy dog after a bath... 

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Our first Llama and love of my life, Larry after he got sheared...

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The first time I ever held Norman. We drove all the way to Pennsylvania to meet him and it was love at first sight. Well it was love at first sight with his picture, but he was even cuter in person. 

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The first kid ever born on the farm, Bulrush! Who is still here and one of my biggest goats... also the biggest baby.

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He was my recently deceased Buckets first kid. This is my favorite picture of her. When I was kissing him, she was kissing me. It's not the same without her. But Bulrush is still here, as well as two of her other kids.

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Baby Norman and Buddy dog in the mule... having a conversation by the looks of it!

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Braveheart with Horace just after he was born! Braveheart is of course my blind ram, and Horace our wether. This is one my all time favorite pictures. Braveheart is saying "is this ours?"

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Buckwheat my now 200 pound billy goat as a baby - doing his favorite thing, jumping on me! 

Looking back at these pictures I remind myself Rome wasn't built in a day. And neither was this farm, or this life, nor will this recovery be. And one day it will also be just another memory. And memories are good things, for many different reasons. Happy ones, sad ones, difficult ones... they are all a part of us. 

Now I'm back to looking at more pictures, and remembering to lighten up. There is much to look forward to.  And to make things even better, Jim came home with roast chicken dinners! 

I hope everyone had a good weekend! 


Anonymous said…
Sometimes letting the frustration out with a good cry is the most healing thing you can do, especially when you are a person with a positive outlook. That way you aren't spending energy trying to keep a stiff upper lip and all that, you just let out the blues and move on. It sounds like you listened to your feelings and did the right thing. You've acknowledged your current and temporary limitations, accepted the reality of the moment, and are dealing with what needs to be done. You know things will be better because of the informed choices you made. Hang in there...it looks like you've got quite a supportive team!
Dreaming said…
I don't blame you for breaking down. You have been through it all, for a long time. But... I love your resolve to do positive things. Good for you!
Your Kevin certainly is a handy guy. What fun to see the projects from the past!
Terra said…
Of course you had a pity party; healing is hard and then when hormones are affected that adds to the ups and downs. You can now pat yourself on the back and as you say, do something productive each day. You could take a notebook and write some good thoughts in it each day. By the time you are all healed you will have a treasure trove of blessings recorded.
Ian H said…
You have been blessed with a good doctor and are healing! My motto is"Don't worry about today, tomorrow is a new one and things that need to get done will get done, the rest can wait" Hang in there, give it time, and if you feel the need for a pity party, vent away. There are lots of out here pulling for you!
Kim said…
I remember after my hysterectomy , I felt similarly frustrated. I hated people doing things for me and I wanted to pick mulberries and make jam etc. One thing I learnt after doing way too much and suffering for it is that I could use this as a time to do the quiet things ...like making plans, sketching in my art book , reading about dreams I wanted to achieve . I know your brain is going 100 miles an hour and your body is not ... get a note pad out and do some writing ... write about your dreams and what you want to continue to achieve at Forest Haven. Give yourself the gift of having a rest , it won't be long and you will be doing all the things you love doing again.
jaz@octoberfarm said…
well who wouldn't be frustrated sitting around waiting to heel? especially when you are as used to being as busy as you.sometimes you just have to have a pity party and let it all out. hang in there!!!
After being so active its easy to see why you can get so down by being incapacitated.

You'll be up and at em in no time and those things can wait till next year if need be.

A lot of great memories in those pictures.
12Paws said…
So very sorry for your frustration & being much, much older than you I truly know the desperation you are feeling. Chores, tasks, emotional angst, etc. This verse from a song has been a boost for me lots of times. "One day at a time sweet Jesus, that's all I'm askin' of you. Just give me the strength to do every day what I have to do. Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus and tomorrow may never be mine. Lord, help me today, show me the way One day at a time."
Nana-Bob said…
awww, what a good post. It does take time and just think. One year from today, you will say to yourself..."remember when...".
What a fun walk down memory lane. I really like your stone hearth! It's so pretty and rustic. And you kissing the tiny goat is so precious!

I think it's to be expected to have a few breakdowns with what you've had to go through, so please don't feel guilty about that! It's good to try to focus on things you can do, but I think it's also ok to be sad about what you can't do. Whatever you're feeling, it's ok! Just know when you're sad about something you can't do, that soon enough you will be able to. The waiting will make it that much more sweet :)
Lana88 said…
Hang in there, strong one. It is okay to have tough days, like you said, we all have them. Never feel bad about having a good cry! I LOVE the pictures you shared. They truly do show that things take time but the outcome is so wonderful!

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