Lessons I Have Learned Through Thirty Plus Surgeries

When you are disabled sometimes your disability does not require any surgery at all while other times it requires quite a few. I have myelomeningocele which is a severe form of Spina Bifida and because of it, I have many health challenges that have needed probably around thirty surgeries or more throughout my life which is more than I have been alive. As I have grown I have not needed as many as when I was a child but my disability is unpredictable and sometimes I do need some unexpectedly which is frustrating. The surgeries I have had have saved my life so I don’t get upset when I need them and it expect it but it is a little bit of a bummer when life is going great and you have to stop all that to have surgery. Every surgery is different because some surgeries like this one are more extensive and require longer recovery times while others you are back to normal within a few days. Having surgery is stressful and I hate every minute of the recovery process but sometimes there is no choice.. I have had many surgeries some I have chosen to make my life easier and others I had to or I would of died. I hate to say that I am an expert at recovering from surgery but I am because I have had so many. In this post I am going to talk about a few lessons I have learned through my experience of multiple surgeries.

Surgery is not always a bad thing– I have hip dysplasia which is a medical term that basically means I was born with my hips dislocated. Some people with hip dysplasia only are partially dislocated but for me, that wasn’t the case and my hips have always been completely out of the socket my whole life. It’s never been a problem for me until recently and I started experiecing pain and that is when I knew I should probably do something about it. . According doctors, you can leave your hips alone if they are dislocated unless it’s causing you pain because it’s totally harmless to walk around with dislocated hips and you may want to because it’s not always necessary to do something about it. Somtimes these surgeries don’t work in the way you thought it would so it’s not advisable to do it just because! Having surgery is not fun and no one wants to do it but it’s not always bad because it can change lives and relieve pain. I had hip pain for several months and if I didn’t do this surgery I would have pain constantly as long as I live. As much as I hate the recovery process I have no regrets because I know after it’s all done I will at least feel a little bit better. Sometimes you just have to do things you don’t really want to do!

Surgery let’s you know who your real friends are- You never know who your real friends are until you have surgery. I have had friends shut me out or make it all about them when I am recovering from major medical procedures which often makes it so I lose friends during surgery recoveries! You truly realize who your real friends are when you are recovering because people that care will always stick around no matter how minor or major the procecure. If I told my sister’s that a dozen donuts and three coffee’s would help me feel I am pretty sure they would be confused by that logic but someone would bring it to me! Support is everything when your are recovering from surgery and sometimes people will want to be a part of that journey and other times people will just try to make it about them. If someone doesn’t want to be part of your journey to recovery try and not take it personally and if it helps get off social media for a while. Social media is filled with all kinds of negativity!

Watching tv 24/7 is not what it’s cracked up to be– It almost cracks me up when people say that watching tv constantly is living the life! People that say things like that obviously have never been in a situation where that’s all you can do because if you have then you would know it’s not what’ it’s cracked up to be! Marathoning your favorite tv show is great the first week but after that it doesn’t matter how many subscriptions you have it’s kind of boring and the last thing you want to do is watch Netflix! All you will really want to do is move and and after this is all over I don’t think I will want to watch tv for several months!

Pain medication doesn’t get your pain to a zero- People often think that if your pain medication is strong enough it will solve all your problems and your pain will go away! That is not how it works and although pain medication may help with some pain it doesn’t matter how strong the pain medication it won’t miraculously get it to a zero overnight. Time and rest are what get your pain to a zero after surgery, not more pain meds! I do take pain medication after surgery if my pain is severe enough because I won’t sleep if I don’t but I try not to take a whole lot because in my experience it just makes me constipated which is the last thing I need when I am recovering. It’s okay to take medication to manage pain after surgery but don’t expect to wake up one day and your pain to be gone because it doesn’t work that way. It’s a gradual thing that gets better over time and has nothing to do with how much pain meds your taking but sometimes if the pain is not that severe it’s better to just take over the counter medication like Ibuprofen because it’s not nearly as hard on your body as narcotics is. Try and stay on top of pain as much as you can because if you wait until your pain is unbearable it will be a lot harder to get to the point where you are comfortable. You may not get better at the rate you like but if you listen to your body and your doctor it will improve eventually!

You will probably will get depressed-My family is supportive of all my surgeries and if they are able they come to visit me as often as they can but truthfully they can’t be with me all the time until I get better because they do have lives. I do get some visitors when I am recovering from surgery but a lot of the time I don’t get a lot and usually the only people I see often are people I live with or my caregiver. I’m alone most of the time which usually is fine because I am a introvert and like to be alone but when you are stuck in bed it’s different and can make anyone depressed. If are struggling with this my advice is to try other activities that are not just watching tv like maybe try reading a new book or writing. I usually get depressed at some point when I have any surgery of significance because after a while you do get sick of it.. Talk to your friends during surgery recoveries when you are feeling down because although they may not be able to cure miraculously cure you they might be able to entertain for a few hours or make you laugh. My mood is not the same when I am recovering from surgery and I can be quite negative when I am in pain but that is okay you don’t always have to be positive!

Dress appropriately- When you have surgery what you wear is so important because if bring the wrong things it will cause you a lot of pain. If it’s a minor procedure that is not going to require any kind of incision it probably doesn’t really matter that much if you wore shorts or a dress but if you are going to have an eight-inch incision across your abdomen a pair of shorts might not be the best choice! I usually bring a dress when I am having surgery because it’s easier to change into and causes the least amount of pain but the most important thing is to just wear something that is lose because it will cause the least amount of pain.

Doctors aren’t always right- When it comes to the medical side of your procedure they usually are always right but as far as the accuracy of surgery recovery times not always are doctors on point. Sometimes they are totally off and you are in the hospital much longer than they said you would be because it’s really hard to know these things when you have never experienced them. Doctors are experts with the surgery itself but as far as the recovery process not so much and you are better off talking to someone who has gone through that particular procedure to get better information.

When you need a lot of surgeries throughout your life it can be easy to see all the negatives of it but it’s not always this terrible thing and sometimes it can be a good thing. Surgery isn’t fun and no one likes to have but it can save lives and take away pain that you would have lived with your whole life if you didn’t get the surgery. Right now I am currently recovering from a major hip surgery because I was having hip pain for several months and although I wish surgery was my only choice for getting rid of this pain.. Sometimes you have to do things you didn’t really have planned or want to do in the first place which you can either just do it and feel better or not and be in denial. Remember how good you are going to feel six months from now if you went through with it and how miserable you’ll be if you didn’t. Have you had a lot of surgeries and what lessons have you learned from them?

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