Fit as a fiddle?

Prior to 2016, the worst surgery I’d had was my tonsillectomy. While the surgery and hospital stay itself isn’t so bad, any adult who has endured this relatively simple procedure will tell you it’s an awful recovery. My overnight stay was followed by three weeks of painful and tiring recovery. Endone and bed were my best friends. But after a month I was back to normal and back at work.

So surely it stands to reason that now, eight months after my slightly larger procedure, I’d be back to normal, yes?

Apparently not.

Two months ago, I felt like a fraud. I felt that I should be getting back to full time work because I was feeling good and gee-whizz, look at all the things I could do. My GP said I wasn’t physically ready and my psychologist said I wasn’t emotionally ready, but seriously – what do they know? Them with their fancy degrees.

With this self-confidence in my super-human physical capabilities, I volunteered to help out with something at the Little Dude’s school.

The little darlings of kindy were off to Oakvale Farm & Fauna World to playfully terrorise some already traumatised animals, and the school needed volunteers to guide small groups around throughout the day. I seized this opportunity to be ‘involved Mum’, an opportunity I rarely had pre-cancer. I was also hoping to pat a koala.

The plan for the day was laid back. Morning tea, followed by the kids playing on the park. Half an hour to wander the grounds at our own pace, feeding baby goats, milking a cow then two animal talks, meeting a koala (woo-hoo) and then the kids free play again. Written like that it seems like a lot but it didn’t seem like much at the time.

Who doesn’t love a pic of a baby koala?!

Enough parents had volunteered that we each only had two kids to watch out for – our own and one of their friends. It was a fun day and I had a great time with the little man. I drove home, little man asleep in the back, thrilled I’d gotten involved and proven just how far my body had come. I was fit as a fiddle.

That afternoon, I napped for two hours on the couch before dinner.

The next day, I went for a walk with a friend out along the Breakwall. It was at a leisurely pace with a bit of chat and we followed it up with lunch. It was only a 1.5km walk but I felt right as rain.

That afternoon, I napped for two hours on the couch before dinner.

The Wednesday was the Little Dude’s sports carnival. I held my imaginary ‘Mum of the Year’ trophy above my head for attending two school events in one week. I was Super Mum! It was a relatively chilled day. I didn’t have to walk far but there was a lot of standing. We ate a packed lunch and I helped herd and entertain other children – I was Queen of the Kids!

That afternoon I napped twice. Once immediately after the carnival (along with Naomi and the Little Dude) and once sometime round dinner.

For the next few days I had no plans. But I slept most of Thursday and finally perfected the true art of power napping on the Friday when I napped at least three times just while the Little Dude was at school.

Suddenly I felt like much less of a fraud.

I had read stories of others who had endured the same surgery as me who spoke of finally returning to their previous level of fitness two or three years after their surgery. What were they doing? I wondered. Look how fabulously I was doing. I’d never been particularly fit but look at all of the things I could do. “GO SUPER NOMI” I thought.

I mean, I could do three loads of washing in a day, chuck them in the dryer, tidy up a little and do the school run. Sometimes, I’d even remember to feed myself. Never mind all the sitting I had to do in between. And the naps. Or the afternoons Naomi had to do everything because I’d worn myself out.

It’s hard to remember sometimes the magnitude of the surgery I had. I often play it down especially because I seem to have recovered so much better than many in my position. But not only did I have 10 organs removed, my body is learning to do things in a new way.

My psychologist also reminded me that the events of my Super Mum week were a lot and it wasn’t just physical. The vigilance of watching kids at Oakvale Farm would have mentally worn me out she reminded me, which is a far nicer way of saying that children suck your life force to push through their exhaustion. Add the exertion of the walk the next day and talking about emotionally tough subjects (more on that another time) and the sun of the sports carnival, she says it’s no wonder I was wiped out. Know-it-all medical professionals!!

So I no longer feel like a fraud. And I’m starting to be a little more realistic about what I’m physically capable of doing. It’s a funny thing to have never really have been fit and healthy in your adult life but to not be able to meet the benchmarks of the old you. Will just have to keep chugging along!

2 thoughts on “Fit as a fiddle?

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  1. I’ve missed so many school things because of work etc. what can you do? And here you are, managing it between naps after ginormous surgery and chemo etc- Supermum indeed!


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