I am posting these very small, just in case some of you get triggered. C3-C7 Posterior Laminectomy and Fusion. This was a major surgery! How did I not realize this?
Maybe because the Neurosurgeon told me that recovery time would be 6 weeks?! I don't know.... but this part will be about my first week or two after surgery.
PT gets you up right away, or they try anyway. You need help with EVERYTHING. No really EVERYTHING!! They kick you out of the hospital on day 3. Because of the Covid 19 my husband had lost his job and was there to take care of me. I could go into so much detail here, but I'll try to stay focused on the teaching and learning moments.
First thing I did, because it was important to me, weaned myself of all pain meds. Started all my herbal things that were not allowed in the hospital. ( I could name them all--but it is not about that) Again, I had a plan, prepared for this recovery ( so I thought) ahead of time by getting everything together that I thought I needed to get back to normal as quick as possible.
I still needed help getting dressed, showering......just everything. It hurt and still does to lift my head, to walk, to just be. I continued with chanting, pranayama, yoga nidra.
There were moments of great darkness and moments of deep gratitude.
So much love from my friends, family and students.....so much LOVE---thank you!
Humbling moments, when your husband and your kids have to get you out of the shower because all of your muscles are seizing up.
But I still had not gotten it---- all my life I worked hard for whatever I wanted. Usually that approach would work. Hard work. So I started to work really hard, and instead of being grateful for the small progress I was making I continued to be even harder on myself.
The Doctor, the PT person, the nurses, my friends ......all of them said that I am too hard on myself. (shocker) But did I ease up? NO! I made good progress, but in my eyes not good enough, not fast enough. After all, I needed to get back to work in 6 weeks, right?
By week two I could lift my arms, it hurt but i did it anyway, even though I was getting PT for my shoulder, not my neck yet. Walking to the pond, then to the pond and one round around the pond, with rests on the benches which frustrated me. After all I usually would walk the big round, with Henry, every day ( without rests).
I had acupuncture and massage at the house, then in the second week went to both places and had my husband drive me. Even in the hospital I started watching my favorite Shibashi 1 (QiGong) video and in my mind doing the practice. In week two doing Shibashi, even though I wasn't supposed to raise my arms over head yet. If you just work hard it will come, right?!
In week three, actually exactly 3 weeks after the surgery, I had my melt down. I mean complete blubbering, ugly crying meltdown. I am so grateful to my friends and my students, because along the way they listened to me, to the things I shared with them. And now was the time to throw it all back into my face. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
My friend Jenifer, who is a critical part of my recovery ( she is a massage therapist, energy worker and phenomenal human being) listen to my blubbering, offering a tissue and water, and said : well, what would you tell your student right now?
Well, what would I tell my student right now?
You just had major surgery, be loving, compassionate and patient with yourself.
Rest. Be. Heal. Give thanks.
I would NOT say: get back onto your mat and work as hard as you can to get back as quick as you can. The normal that was will never be again, not so much because of the surgery, but because of the virus and lock down.
That night I started a different approach. I let go of the 6 week mark......I just let go.
What if...... I wasn't ready? What if I couldn't work for a while? Everything is still online anyway, which I really don't enjoy. What if....... my healing was and is the most important thing. But not in a battling kinda way, but more like a gentle mountain brook kinda way?!
So that night I tried sleeping on my back, because I usually curl up tight on my side which that contributes to my shoulder issues. That morning I got up and meditated, but laying down. Every time my inner dialog wanted to be negative about my non traditional posture, I showed myself some love and compassion . What would I tell my student?
Then I got up and had my tea. Afterwards I lovingly reminded myself to get off line and to get on line with myself, with spirit, with God.
Lighting my incense and ringing my bell, I started to chant again......because I wanted too. Then it felt right to just get down on my mat. Turning on my favorite piece of music by Johann Johannsson -Flight from the city. it always gets me into my zone, my body responds to it. And I was just there, on the mat, on my back, listening, breathing.......
That led to a very easeful pranayama practice, Visama vritti-imbalanced breath, my favorite way to calm my Pitta mind. From there I moved my arms (not over head) in a very gentle and loving way, then I added leg movements and had moments of cobbler, pigeon, tree,,,,,,
But the big thing here is, at least for me, I had no real goal here. Before my goal was to get back as fast as possible, now my goal was and is to love and support my body on this healing journey. I can't wait to tell you what happened next (it is exciting and about the 5 Koshas) but for now I am tired and will rest. But make sure to check in with me on the next blog.
Also thank you to my Debbie and Katy for being there every week telling me basically the same things every Friday (you are too hard on yourself) or my teacher Lakshmi would say: Ursel, get over yourself !! :)