I’ve talked about it before, but I’m going to talk about it again. Because apparently it’s a big part of my life. You can’t just ignore these things.
I’m 4 weeks post-op from hip surgery #7. When people see me on crutches, they’re all like “Wow, you’re a pro!” Thanks. I’ve had a lot of practice. But I sure would appreciate it if you’d hold the door open for me since you’re just standing there with your arms crossed watching me. I know I’ve perfected the technique of maneuvering through doors, but it’s common practice “niceness” to help a cripple out. Or so I thought.
Whew. Vent over. I didn’t see that one coming. Honestly.
Back to the topic at hand.
I initially developed my eating disorder following my very first hip surgery in January of 2005. Ever since then, I believe that the 2 have been subliminally linked. The eating disorder urges kick in when I’m stranded on the couch trying to let my hip heal from surgery. Every time. They’re loud. And this time is no different.
When I decided to have this final surgery, I was emailing back and forth with my physical therapist. He had a lot of questions for me to ask my surgeon. He also had a lot of questions for me to ask myself. The one that I keep playing over and over in my head is this:
“Are you prepared for another lengthy recovery (physically, mentally, emotionally)?
I told him yes.
Was I wrong? Was I overconfident? Too sure of myself? Jumping in blindly?
Should I have waited? Should I have had more ED recovery time before signing up for even more surgical recovery time?
The answer? Maybe. But maybe not.
I think that the eating disorder thoughts and urges will always attack me when I’m weak. I went 7 years in between hip surgeries 3 and 4. I still found myself under attack. So no, I don’t think waiting another couple of months would have made this time any easier.
Besides, I think knowledge is power. I know my tendencies and I was resolute to resist them when I signed up for this surgery. It’s easy at first. Especially just discharging from ED treatment; I felt like I had some momentum. Well that lasted for a good few weeks at least.
Then the monotony kicks in. Boredom. My motivation tanks. I’m depressed and lonely. Not hungry. I’m tired of watching movies. I don’t want to sit outside. I don’t want to go to sleep. I hate myself for staying awake. It’s horrible.
Should I have thought harder when my physical therapist asked me that question? Should I have said no?
Well one day…in my boredom…I opened the folder and found myself surprised. First of all, I found a cute little card that everyone on my surgical team had signed…all the nurses, the anesthesia team, and my surgeon. It wasn’t anything super special, but it made me smile.
Then a little card fell out.
“Your recent surgery included the use of a LifeNet Health allograft: a gift of donated bone, heart or connective tissue.”
What? I had heard of labral reconstruction being performed using cadaver tissue, but I just assumed that he was going to use a tendon graft (like I’d watched on YouTube, of course).
That little card changed everything for me. I had made all kinds of promises to myself. “You have to take care of yourself this time.” “Don’t let the eating disorder in.” “This is your last chance, Brittany.”
But none of those threats hold a candle to that little card. Someone died so that I could have this “last chance.” I mean, I know it’s not a heart, liver, or kidney. I don’t want to be dramatic; I know it’s pretty inconsequential in the big picture. But it does make a difference. A piece of someone lives on inside of me and it’s given me another chance at leading a healthy, normal life. Dare I say a pain-free one?
I’d like to say thank you. To the family of whoever’s labrum now lines my hip joint. I want them to know that I’m grateful. That no act is too small.
I’ve spent the last 6 months in treatment learning how to take care of my body again. I know that it’s important. Very important. I’ve always known that my body is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” But it’s not just my body anymore. Which makes it even more important. Even more wonderful.
There are a lot of “blah” days right now. I can’t wait for the weekend, then I hate it when it finally arrives. Part of that is because I have so many things I want to do with my life. I feel trapped by impossibility. But I have to realize that this is temporary. What I do now will determine whether or not I’ll be able to do all the things I dream of.
As much as I hate to admit it, recovery from this surgery is intertwined with recovery from my eating disorder. I can’t have one without the other. It’s going to take a lot. Fighting is exhausting. And so resting.
But 2 are greater than one. And I’ve been blessed with 2. How lucky am I??? Not everyone can say that.