“Dream in light years, challenge miles, walk step by step.”
To say that this past summer has been a walk on the beach is a joke! When we think of summer, vacations, beach time, movie time, theme parks, and pool parties come to mind, but these thoughts were far away from my mind.
This summer was so challenging, but extremely challenging to my husband who had to endure back surgery. It broke my heart to see him going through such an ordeal and so much pain. We basically took one day at time. It was the only thing we could do besides keeping a positive spirit.
But to make matters worse, he aggravated the injury on the day of the surgery. That meant that his post-surgery symptoms were much worse than it should have been and recovery time was much longer – ughh!
I was grateful to be there for him when he needed me the most. I know he would have done the same for me. But in order to be there for someone we love and care very much, we need to make sure that we take care of our own health. Weeks of going to doctor’s appointment, calling for follow ups, dealing with insurance’s bureaucracy, going to surgery, getting prescriptions, taking the time to cook something healthy, managing in-home care, and the list goes on and on; it takes a lot of energy both mentally and physically.
Thank goodness I have a fairly fit and healthy life style; otherwise, it would have been a lot more challenging for both of us. It was very difficult to balance work, take care of him and take care of me, our pet-children and trying to squeeze in a few workouts or runs here and there. In some occasions, I felt I was being selfish in trying to make some time for exercising while he was recovering from surgery. Where do we find the balance? When is it okay to give each other space under these circumstances?
Well, first of all, safety is above everything else – period. My husband’s well-being was rule # 1. After that, I think it really comes down to communication. Everyone will take actions differently according to his/her situation and only you know what is best for you. During his nap time, I took the opportunity to do some of my strength training, yoga, and stretching at home. Taking 30 minutes for a quick run didn’t happen until weeks after the surgery when his progress was much more stable.
As weeks passed, he made great progress and continues to get better every day. We both learned a great deal from this experience and we certainly do not miss those days, but those days have made us stronger today. This experience has taught me how important it is to have an active life style. It has given me strength to get things done, no matter how difficult the situation looked and the mind-set to stay strong no matter what. It’s a balance of mental and physical toughness that had I not had experienced in marathon training or running a marathon, my perspective of how to handle tough situations would have been a little more “dramatic”. I am grateful for the experiences in my life and even more thankful for my husband’s well-being. Health is everything, whether be our health or our loved one’s health.
“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up”