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Well I promised you I’d share something for fun this post…. Well sorry, but you’ll have to wait til next time :). I’m not quite ready to share yet. Life goes on and it’s been an interesting time with gains, losses and even feelings of overwhelm at times.

As a result, I’ve been having some quiet reflection time.

I love to read books…. Do you? I love psychological thrillers. There’s a lot of pleasure in trying to work out who ‘dunnit’ and the motivations behind the characters. The story weaves around and then all the ends get tied up neatly (or a little sloppily) and then it all comes together with most things satisfactorily finished off.

But life isn’t like that. In fact, life is nothing like that. Life is unpredictable and full of change and even messy and chaotic at times. We don’t live in a vacuum and even with all that has happened to me in the last year, it doesn’t mean we’re exempt from other yukky stuff happening.

To be honest, it has felt as if we’ve been dumped on from a great height with one curved ball after another. What a year it’s been to date. Following my last post there have been two deaths in our small family and then more news that was extremely difficult to hear. One death was at the end of a long life and easier to accept. However, the loss of a mother is always emotional. The other was a tragedy occurring in the prime of life. The grief and consequences has rent great holes in the fabric of the lives of those who were closer. We’ve all had to just keep ourselves focused on staying calm and remember things we can be grateful for in our lives and allow for some grieving time.

My daughter said recently, “Mum, it just keeps coming.”

So the reality of life is that things happen without rhyme or reason, it’s nothing we’ve done or not done, it just happens. Sometimes there are long periods between events and at other times it all comes at once. Unfortunately for us, it has just kept coming and we continue to try to support each other.

I’ve felt a little more vulnerable at times and have just taken time to look after myself. There have also been feelings of overwhelm at times. “That’s enough, no more thanks!” I’ve been less inclined to be socially involved and have spent more time quietly sitting and thinking.

Something that has always helped me through difficult and challenging times has been the strong and honest relationship Doug and I have always enjoyed.

However, it’s very easy for even good communication to go a little awry when there are constant stressors. Misinterpretation and misunderstandings can develop in even the best relationships. Following this surgery, we’ve found it’s so important to be open and honest with each other, even so, it’s easy for small misunderstandings to develop unless they are addressed early. There has been a lot for us both to adjust to. I know talking things out and being honest and authentic is vital, especially following the procedure I’ve had, the impact on our lives and the subsequent events.

So all of this has given me good reason to look at my life and decide what do I still want to achieve. Now I have more energy, it’s given me the impetus to really think about what is important to me for my life. Having had such a major life event is a great motivator to really think about how much time I have left and what I want to do with it. So, I’m quietly working away at completing an online program I was writing when I was diagnosed. It’s nearly complete and then I’ll start to market it.

My work as a psychologist meant I realised the lack of self belief experienced by many women meant they never achieved the outcomes they really desired in their lives. I was in the middle of writing a program that helps women learn to manage the ways in which their mindset holds them back from achieving, when I had the news of my diagnosis. Needless to say, it was put on hold.

Getting back to completing and marketing it since my surgery has raised the concern, “I’m not sure I’m up to it yet.” Well I’m dipping my toes in and will just keep my activity to a manageable level. The next program in the pipeline is a leadership course.

Having an interest that keeps my mind occupied is really beneficial. One can’t spend the days focused on the tough stuff that happens in life. This enables me to keep myself occupied, feel as though I’m accomplishing something and it feeds my passion.

For me, it’s important to have meaning and purpose in my life. I’ve felt quite aimless for some time but didn’t have the energy to do much about it. Without previous experience as a frame of reference, it was very difficult to imagine forwards and grasp the impact of, and how long it would take to recover from this surgery. However, things are slowly changing and I find I’m able to do more and am starting to feel much more like my old self (well a version of).

I’m playing my guitar more, playing some blues and learning some new techniques… I’ve even learnt how to play standing up. That’s been interesting because of my stomas. But even that can be overcome with a bit of an adjustment to how I hold the guitar. I also continue to walk and swim several times a week. I’m absolutely loving the swimming. Even though it’s a bit cold, it’s so invigorating and refreshing. I do enjoy that hot shower when I get home!

I’m feeling stronger every week.

More broadly, I’ve been establishing new life habits and routines and generally, things are going well.

The irrigation has been a great boon to feeling a little more normal. It’s taken some persistence and adjustment, but overall I’m really pleased I stuck with it and am enjoying the freedom it brings.

I continue to have scarring challenges. I’m still unable to sit for longer periods. I’ve had a lot of physio treatment to release and relax the scarring. Having never had surgery before, I didn’t realise I had a scarring problem. I’ve been told it’s a keloid scar. I knew my mother had keloid scarring and my daughter too. Connect the dots! However, some research and discussion makes me think it may just be a hypertrophic scar. Anyway, time and physio is helping. However, just recently there have been enough small advances that help me to see that there will be a future where these challenges have faded, like the scars will.

In fact, I’m so positive about the future, we’ve just booked a cruise through the Kimberley region for next April/May.  Woohoo an adventure!! This will be the trip of a lifetime and a huge personal treat. We are going to have 14 days on the Kimberley Quest cruising the waters of the Kimberley coast. There are only 18 passengers on board and it’s an up-close, active experience on water and land. I love an adventure and I think we all need something to look forward to. This is something we’ll both really enjoy. I’m feeling very excited.

Doesn’t that look like fun?!! I’ve shared a few photos from the Kimberley Quest website.

Look how far how far I’ve come! I wouldn’t have contemplated that a few months ago. As I think about the changes that are slowly happening, I feel really encouraged about the future and my ability to continue to live a somewhat active life. Sometimes the future is a bit blurry. My body and I still have some learning to do. I don’t really know what we will be able to do together and at times it leaves me at a bit of a loss. I just have to stay focused on today and doing the best I can each day. The future will become clearer when it gets here.

I still miss my activities. And that’s just normal.

Photo by Jens Mahnke from Pexels

Recently, feeling a bit fed up, I said to Doug, “I feel like taking my bat and ball and going home!”

Doug’s response was, “Sometimes you have to take your bat and ball and sit it out on the sidelines.” My man is so full of wise words…. Have you noticed? **Sigh**

Really, it’s not hard to realign my thinking. I just look around. There are so many people so less fortunate than me. I’m still feeling fortunate and grateful.

So, I was told a year to recover and I’m getting closer and closer to one year on. Look how far I’ve come 🙂

Nanette xx

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