Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Preparing for My Swordectomy
Once again, Angela Shelton has presented us with a perfect analogy when speaking of removing the Sword. She says, "Just like getting ready to have surgery, you need to prepare yourself to deal with old wounds."
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Ten...
Most of the surgeries I've been through in my life have been outpatient surgeries. I've had time to prepare, making plans to ensure that things go smoothly while I recover. I have, however, had a couple of doozies that I was not prepared for in the least.
One such surgery was an emergency Cesarean section that left me reeling both mentally and physically. I didn't know that when the doctor broke my water during a routine labor induction the umbilical cord was going to prolapse, causing a blockage that left my son without oxygen for five minutes. We were wheeled from my hospital room to the operating room in literally seconds and my son was born via a "crash" C-section. The surgery happened so quickly that the anesthesiologist didn't even have time to knock me out completely before the doctor started making the incision. I felt the first five or so seconds of the surgery. It was like living a nightmare.
Had I known when I walked into that hospital for a routine labor induction that I was going to walk out with a classic (vertical) C-section incision and a newborn with eight stitches on his head from a cut he sustained during the ordeal, I'm sure I could have better prepared for what we were going to face once we got home. My husband had to take care of our then three-year-old, our newborn, and me. Nobody expected me to be laid up for a full six weeks. Nobody expected me to be doped out of my mind because of the severe pain from the classic incision. My husband and I felt like we were never going to make it through my recovery. It was complete chaos.
I've mentioned before that I have worked through a tremendous amount of trauma already. I've been at this for years, and I've definitely learned the hard way that trying to deal with trauma without a plan in place, without preparation, is a lot like having surgery without being prepared for the aftermath. When you don't know what to expect or how to get support, dealing with your trauma can throw your life into such turmoil that you feel like you aren't gonna make it through the pain. It can be complete chaos.
So before I remove the Sword of a particular trauma I need to ask myself, "Where will you run to for comfort if and when things get ugly?" This is the question posed to me today as I embark upon day ten of my journey. The task for today is to make a list of the things that bring me comfort. By making a list of things that bring me comfort, I'm making a plan. I'm preparing for emotional surgery, so to speak. I'm reminding myself of the things I can do to relax and center myself when the emotional pain's just too much for me to take. If I can't seem to find the way out, where will I go? What will I do? What brings me relief?
Because of my food addiction, I am purposely omitting anything and everything that has to do with food from my own personal list. Me running to food for comfort is like an alcoholic getting drunk to numb the pain. Not a good idea. Here is my list of healthy things that bring me comfort:
Playing with my kids
Cuddling with my husband
Going for a long walk
Singing my favorite songs
Writing poetry or songs
Reading a good book
Knitting something simple
Cuddling up on the couch for a nap
Watching old movies
Going to museums
Sending cards to friends
Calling a friend
Visiting a friend
Looking through old pictures
Cleaning my house
A session with my therapist
Visiting my online support group
When I have a rough day, when I feel like there is no way out of the pain, I may need to look at this list to remember that there are things in this world that bring me comfort and joy. I can choose to do something on the list to get through the rough moment... to help me find comfort as I move through the process of healing.
If getting your appendix removed is called an appendectomy, then wouldn't getting the sword removed be called a "swordectomy"? Sounds good to me! I've prepared for my emotional surgery, so I can actually look forward to the results it will bring instead of dwelling on the pain that is sure to come during the healing process.
I am so ready for my swordectomy! So ready for my healing! I am prepared! Bring it on!