What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger 

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

It actually goes like this:  “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, said it. I believed in its truth dozens of times in my life. The last six weeks were no different. And while my surgery may seem minor in the scope of other traumas in our lives, it was tough.

The payoff came today when I got an A. I was a good patient. I can now go back to being me. Yoga. Walks. Runs. They are all back in play. I’ll have to adjust their frequency now that they have company.

First, it’s important to understand what happened. There is never an ideal time to get injured. Typically that’s out of our control. What we can control is the healing period. I didn’t like knowing that something inside of me was broken. My doctors first found a hernia early last Spring. But locating it was another story. It was an elusive little booger. I spent the rest of 2017 avoiding certain postures and poses in an effort to prevent aggravating the hernia. On December 12, when it erupted, my body said enough, and I listened. When my surgeon, told me I was grounded, I listened, too.

Today, my surgeon walked me through the surgery in greater detail. Normally he said he wouldn’t have bothered with it, because unlike most hernias that require repair mine did not present the risk of being penetrated by an internal organ. Mine was at the main incision from my gallbladder surgery in March of 2014. It was located just under the lower rib, and when the body was contorted just right, something popped out of that hole, appeared right under the rib, causing severe pain. The hole is sewed up. I am about 90% into a healing period that could take eight months. So jumping back into life, as it was pre-December 12, isn’t actually the best idea.

And, as batshit crazy as I have been, I must respect what my body needs. It’s the only body I have so I better be good to it.

Just as I returned from my surgeon and sat down to write this, Fitbit sent me my weekly activity report. The weekly email used to excite me. I’d quickly open it, knowing that I beat my last week. I’m a bit competitive, even when I am competing against myself. This last month I didn’t even bother reading the email. I knew the numbers were going in the wrong direction, and I didn’t want to depress myself more.

This afternoon. I delved into my numbers a little deeper. I was surprised. In the six weeks, before I hurt myself, I totaled 442,440 steps. In the six weeks since injuring myself, that number decreased by 57,535 steps. It’s fair to say that’s 57,533 steps that Chloe, Cocoa, and Ruby missed out on, too. The calories burned surprised me. I burned 2,000 more calories than I did when I was more active. I don’t know if the Fitbit is playing games with me, but I sure don’t feel like I did. Maybe my brain and typing fingers burn a lot of calories?

Fitbit activity from November 1 through December 12
fit bit 2
Fitbit activity from December 12 through January 29

Nevertheless, seeing more than 100 fewer floors, and 38 fewer miles, it’s apparent that my activity was far less than normal (I typically walk 11,000 steps a day). In fact, Friday night when I went to see a band with a friend, and someone offered a stool, I quickly declined because my ass hurt from sitting down so much.

What happens next is in my hands. And life has changed since December 12. During this recess, I practiced meditation, I wrote a hell of a lot, I continued my commitment to Al-Anon, and I started my advanced Improv class. As my physical body was healing, I exercised my mind. It’s been a lesson in the yin and yang relationship of mind and body, because of which I think I strengthened both.

So today, I promised my surgeon to be gentle and ease back into activities. I’ll amend routines appropriately, and I’ll better respect my limitations, which will help me avoid what I dislike the most, being idle and going batshit crazy.



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