I have always been a pretty laid back person in my social and family life. My work life is another story…being an anesthesia provider I definitely have to take on a more controlling role. I have found that with my thoracic outlet syndrome diagnosis and the threat of having to have another surgery that I have begun to need to control my life outside of work and be more consistent with things that I can control. This control has allowed me to maintain my sanity.
My future still feels so uncertain, that in order to get through the day, it feels good to be in charge of something. For instance, each morning I wake up with a feeling of panic and “what ifs” run through my head regarding my recovery, my future, my career etc. I allow myself to have about 5 seconds of pure panic and then I tell myself enough is enough and I start the day as usual. I cannot and will not let the fear of the unknown control me. I have a chronic disease and that sucks…. but too bad…I must rise above it.
Mental health has been a challenge throughout these last 6 years. From pain, unknown and misdiagnoses, years of physical therapy, alternative therapy and then a surgery need, it was so easy to let the fear, sadness and the other emotions take over. I internalize my stress and my emotions, so I think I only cried twice since my surgery, but my body has been paying for this internalization. I gained weight from stress after surgery, broke out all over my face and got discouraged with exercise due to all of my restrictions. I have not been able to hold my baby since the surgery…a fact that I think about every day and it breaks my heart. I still can only sleep on my back because side sleeping causes too much pain. And I have only recently been able to dry my hair with a hair dryer.
When I first started my recovery, it hurt my arm to even walk due to the swinging motion…things you don’t even think about. I couldn’t open our sliding door, raise my arm above my head, walk the dogs, drive a car or do much of anything initially. I have come a long way. I am almost 7 months post op and making great improvement physically, but mentally I was still struggling. 45 days ago I told myself enough was enough. I needed to gain control of my mind and somehow control my stress levels.
I have become more consistent with an exercise program. Two of my neighbors started walking and going to the gym with me almost everyday since January. The consistency and accountability has been a life saver and has really helped to speed my recovery along. I also do my physical therapy every day..it is part of my mental check list.
When I was not able to lift my arms well, I stopped dealing with my face…I was lucky if I washed it with water. Now that I have more strength and range of motion I have been able to be consistent with my skin care regimen. Every morning and every night I use my Rodan and Fields products..my skin looks better, my confidence has improved and I in turn feel better.
Diet was a challenge because grocery shopping was hard with my weight restrictions, I couldn’t get the pots, pans or dishes out that I needed and was struggling searching for recipes because of my hands. I told Zak that in order to mentally and physically improve that I needed to be ingesting good quality food but that I was struggling with all aspects of trying to do that. That is when we decided to try Isagenix. We are 42 days in now and we have both lost weight, my pain level has been better and the decreased cooking has been really helpful with my fine motor issues and all of the appointments that I have during the week.
I have found that by controlling my diet, exercise and skin care that I have gained more confidence and have been able to look at things with a more positive outlook. I KNOW I am making improvements and I know I will figure out my path eventually. Until then…I will control what I can control and try to keep the fearful girl at bay.