I am continuing to heal. This has been the last week that I’ll get to take off from work, and while I’m really enjoying all the free time, there is definitely a part of me that’s looking forward to getting back into a routine.

It’s been an interesting week of lots of emotions, for reasons I’m not going to get into here (although if we’re friends, feel free to ask me about it elsewhere and I can fill you in). It’s also been my first full week without drains, and I feel like, despite some continued swelling on the right side of my chest, I am finally getting a sense of what my body looks like now.

I realized on Tuesday that I am already certain that undergoing this surgery was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I knew that I would feel different after surgery, and I was pretty sure that different would be better. I had no idea how much more comfortable I would feel in my skin, though. Even though I’m still in some pain and am far from fully healed, I’m still so much more comfortable. I can breathe so much more easily, not just metaphorically, but literally, my lung capacity has increased now that I’m not binding. And I’m sure that will continue once I’m done with the compression vest, too. (I started a new harmonica class at the Old Town School of Folk Music this week. It’s been about a year since I had my harmonicas out, and I could not believe how much easier it was to play now that I’m not fighting my clothing for deep breaths.)

I’m happier with how my shirts fit. I’ve been wearing a lot of hand knit sweaters this week, since it’s cooled off, and while I liked most of them well enough before, I like them even more now. The super oversized sweater I knit last year that I never really wore because I hated how it hung off my chest? Now it’s just a super oversized sweater that feels cozy and comfortable. I had thought I’d never really knit a cardigan because I hated how they gapped across my chest. No longer a problem!

I’m going to finish this post off, for the curious, with a link to a photo of one of my very first shirtless selfies, taken last week. If you’re weirded out by medical things, you might not want to click through (my incisions still look pretty gnarly), but for those of you interested in a visual on how my healing is going, you can find that here!

Rest and Recovery

As a meditative practice, I draw a tarot card each morning when I get up and use it as a focal point for some journalling and introspection. There’s been a major theme over the past week of rest, and healing, and struggling to let those things happen.

I am not great at rest.

Don’t get me wrong – I thoroughly enjoy being lazy a lot of the time. But as a chronic insomniac and a person whose brain never really shuts down, the concept of “rest” is one that I struggle with a lot.

I’ve needed to work around that this week. I’ve been in recovery mode since my surgery last Wednesday (which was relatively minor but still came with post-op restrictions and several stitches), and it hasn’t always been easy. I’ve been tired, both because my body is putting itself back together and because the pain medication I’ve been on tends to make me feel a little foggy. I worked from home last Thursday and Friday, but have been out and about every day since Sunday, which has helped keep me from feeling stir crazy but has also meant that I’m experiencing rather more pain and awareness of my limitations at a week post-op than I did the first day or two. As I’m writing this Wednesday evening, I haven’t managed to make it through a full day at work yet (though I’m really, really hoping that doesn’t continue to be a trend). I’m incredibly lucky that my boss is more concerned with my general well-being than anything else, because I’ve not been anywhere near as productive as I’d like.

I am definitely on the mend. And I am learning (ever so slowly) that it is okay to have limitations. This is a lesson I’m sure I’m going to keep coming back to many times in the coming months. I’m hoping it’s one that gets easier with practice.