Being vulnerable isn’t a bad thing — because you realise just how wonderful your life is.
When I first decided to have surgery, my initial thought was — I wish mum were here. She died last year from pancreatic cancer, and I was with her along the six-month journey of pain, hardship and eventual death. The process taught me many things, significantly increasing my grit and resilience. I had looked to her as my rock, my guiding star on a night -and she was always there shining brightly for me when I needed it the most. But, this time, I had to blaze my light through darkness — and it was scary. I’ve had surgery before, and she was there, holding my hair back when I was sick from the anaesthetic. She also held me up when I struggled to walk, encouraging me to take more steps — this time, I had to somehow encourage myself through the pain and discomfort. I hate being in a vulnerable state — It’s not suitable for highly active & independent people. You have to let things go and move about your daily life at a much slower pace. So I’m all about intensity and go, go-go. I don’t stop. People keep telling me that I need to rest — but I sleep when “I” need to. We all recover differently, but I have a secret weapon. I have my health and my unwavering journey towards being the best version of myself until my time here on this incredible journey ends. So, it’s not easy being vulnerable to others, but I saw so many things that I’m genuinely grateful for that make my life just that little bit more special than it previously was.
One: My beautiful friends will always be there
The endless messages of love and flowers from the people I work for and my team. They were such a wonderful and loving surprise. I didn’t expect that. My two neighbour friends would always come around to see if I needed something, and my sister in law is messaging me daily. She lives an hour away and yet was willing to come and clean my house and do the usual domestic things. Lucky I don’t need that help, as my partner is pretty good — It’s thoughtful for anyone to ask. I honestly didn’t tell many people I was going in for a procedure and was willing just to let things go until I got a lot more mobile. Lucky for me, I’m able to do small things, and the more considerable, heavier lifting is now left to my family. But isn’t it wonderful when friends from afar contact you with open arms to help? I’m humbled & so lucky.
Two: My animals watch every move I make in case I need their protection
I was initially worried about my toy poodle, as he has quite a bad separation anxiety and wants the whole family at home or else, he has panic attacks. Since I got home, my side has been him, and so is my beautiful cat Henry. My cat and dog would walk in and out of my room to check up on me. My cat follows me up the road when I take slow walks for fresh air and sunshine. Animals are indeed a blessing. They know when you aren’t your best and are there to offer a helping hand in any way possible — even if that means keeping you company whilst having a nap. I’m a very lucky fur mum.
Three: Another person’s story taught me just how powerful love is
This woman I met in the hospital was phenomenal. She was up and walking, shutting the door and turning off lights whilst being super quiet. She even asked me if I needed to signal the nurse anything, including pain or nausea relief. When we chatted during our midnight boredom of bed confinement, she told me the story of her son and his battle with brain cancer. At 19, he had a tumour the size of a tennis ball. The chances for survival were less than 3%. For the next four years, she and her son spent hundreds of hours in the cancer ward while undertaking the most aggressive chemo and radiotherapy that would have left someone dead. Thankfully, he was young, but that didn’t mean he didn’t experience side effects. Now at 22, he’s in the all-clear, and it has led him to lead a life abroad because he doesn’t know when cancer will come back and take hold of him. I was touched so much by this story, of a mother’s love and a child who wanted to live. What a miracle this boy was surviving a rare form of cancer after four years of therapy. This story taught me that life is a remarkable and short journey filled with earth-shattering painful moments. You will never know what might come about for you, yet each milestone builds our resilience and strength through love and hardship. Cancer can take you on, destroy your body and life — but miracles can happen when you beat the odds and survive it. There is more in store for you here on earth if you do. That is truly a blessing. This lady was genuinely resilient, being by her son’s side for years at the expense of her health. It’s remarkable how much resilience and strength we have hidden within that’s uncovered through a painful journey. It makes you more compassionate and a tower of strength. You can do anything, really, but most of us are unfamiliar with facing death in the face. Once it falls on our shoulders, that’s it. So if you have a chance, you have to go for it with confidence and unwavering faith. I was blessed to meet this woman, even for a day. I hope I meet her again. People like this have the potential to remind you just how wonderful life is.
Four: You have to slow down sometimes — but that doesn’t mean the end
I admit I had to force myself to slow down. It’s not an easy task for me. My Medium results slowed, my body slowed, and I don’t have the energy right now — but that’s ok. Just as a turndown is needed during stages of our life, things will come back up again to flourish. Going at a million miles per hour after you just had surgery is impossible, and it’s not suitable for your recovery either. I listen to my body, lay down when I need to and get outdoors when fresh air is what I’m craving. I forced myself to take a whole week off work. It can upset my well-being when I don’t have the health capacity to work at my 120% level. So I want to give it my all when the time is right. Most people think I went on a holiday, which is fine by me. But the most important thing is giving yourself permission to rest, recuperate and rejuvenate in the space of time suitable for you. In the meantime, I will work from home until I can walk longer distances again. It might take a while, but that’s doctors and my orders. Sometimes you need to step back a few steps to leap forward.
Sometimes it takes a hit like surgery to get you to slow down and see just how lucky we are. We could all use a reminder, and it happens during the oddest times in our life. The day to day grind makes us so terribly blinded towards the apparent beauty that’s around us day in day out. If you would like to read more articles like this or start writing your own, please sign up via my link. I’d love to see you on the other side. ???????? Sign up here for your medium subscription. I get a portion from your monthly fee at no extra cost to you, and it will go a long way in supporting me as a writer. If you would like to express gratitude with coffee, send the love via this link.