7 days… it’s been 7 days since my last post; an involuntary but welcomed ‘break.’

I had a surgical procedure that prevented me from… a lot, for a little while. I have never felt so vulnerable in my adult life than in the past week, especially the immediate few days following surgery. God Bless my parents. The procedure required some heavy-duty pain killers and anesthetics, but there was a catch; the anesthetics, by its “numbing” nature, prevented healing. So, although anesthesia helped immensely in subduing immediate pain, it prevented quicker healing (long-term). Sound familiar? …

Deciding between what we want now and what we want most.

Again, God Bless my parents. I can be pretty “determined” and it would probably be fair to say that on occasion, I’ve been known to opt for what I want most over what I need now. But enjoying and celebrating successes in the journey rather than getting caught up in the adversity and never-ending pursuit that is life, is something many of us struggle with. Especially for those with big dreams, high hopes, self-expectations and aspirations. This was just another variation of that same lesson; know when it’s time to let go.

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us
what we need to know – Pema Chodron

I had been forewarned of the “excruciating” pain that would follow post surgery, but that didn’t outweigh the long-term positives and for the first 48 hours that was enough to get me by. I don’t use foul language very often and I try not to raise my voice, but I was screaming and swearing like nobody’s business, yet, I refused to medicate. I tried to sleep it off, but kept waking up in shrill cries every second hour, gasping for air. I tried to meditate and be “one with the pain,” pain didn’t want to be one with me, it just wanted to come at me. At one point I was telling myself to succumb to the pain, much like the cold on a winter day. Then you won’t feel it. I tried to trick my mind. Like hell I didn’t. The third time this happened, my mother had had enough of my screaming and swearing. A mother can only watch so much for so long and frankly, I couldn’t tolerate much more either. I yelled for someone to “bring me the (insert profanity here) medication” which was muffled by my mom storming into my room yelling, “this is just crazy, stop trying to be a hero and just take the stupid medication!” Unfortunately, medication administration was neither intravenous nor instantaneous, but it kept me asleep through the night, without interruption. Hallelujah!

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

In retrospect, I can smile in appreciation of the albeit unwelcomed, but necessary, reminder of my tendency to neglect the present in face of the future and how detrimental it can be. In this case, had I delayed medicating, I could have hindered healing — the pain would prevent sleeping and allowing the body to recover. And that’s just it; sometimes we need that anesthetic, that break, that recovery period.

It restores us, rejuvenates us, replenishes us. Time is limited, but life can be very long, painful and inefficient if we turn it into this never-ending race with no pit stops, service stations, or rest areas. We often hear (with respect to health, fitness and nutrition) that we must fuel our bodies for it cannot run on empty. Well, life is a journey and our bodies are our respective vehicles through this journey. Treat yours with respect. Regular maintenance is a must. Check ups, tune ups, servicing etc. are mandatory. Occasional treats and pampering is encouraged.

Now this isn’t permission to take every opportunity or excuse for a break– listen to your body. Suffering IS optional and the decision to suffer rests on you, but we must distinguish between pain and suffering. The failure to do so can make the difference between rejuvenated strength and stagnant complacency. Pain, struggle, discomfort are all necessities for growth. Be true to yourself. We don’t need to “try to be the hero” but that doesn’t mean we can be wimps, either. Find your balance. Do what’s right by you, for you. Look, we know there’s no finish line;  our only race is against time,  might as well enjoy the ride and ride in style, no? Take care of your vehicle, your body, your spirit.

Take care of you.

The anesthetic was to be used a maximum of 6 times per day over the 5 day period. When I went for my post operative check up, the practitioner was surprised with the progress of healing and asked how often I used the numbing drops. Four times. Yeah, Batman!

Okay, okay, maybe not the batmobile, exactly, but something like it — healthy, stealthy, happy and functional. I guess nightrider would work too, if you’re from that generation;)

**Rest or Die image is owned by ICR, check out and download their album for free online: http://www.nerverecordings.co.uk/word/downloads/icr-restored-free-album/**