The Come Back

Drawing by Carmen Beecher

Drawing by Carmen Beecher

Hello, it’s me.
Hey, it worked for Adele. Why not for me?
Lately so many people have queried, “What happened to your blog?” that I feel compelled to explain. I honestly had no idea that my little unpaid writing gig had any impact on anyone. So to know that my absence was missed is heartening.
Here is what happened:
Creeping decrepitude.
It started with chronic back issues way back when and reached a crescendo last January when I had spinal stenosis surgery called a laminectomy. Unfortunately, that surgery caused a cyst to press on a nerve which left me unable to walk without excruciating pain and led to procedure #2 in March.
I moved from Connecticut to Massachusetts in May where I ran from doctor to doctor pursuing a diagnosis and solution to low back and radiating leg pain that dug in and wouldn’t let go. After many MRIs, Xrays, PT, Chiropractic measures, acupuncture, epidurals and enough steroid to rival Lance Armstrong, I am scheduled for spinal fusion surgery tomorrow.
Last weel, my husband and I spent an entire day undergoing pre- op testing at the hospital and then consulting with the surgeon and her nurse practitioner. As Richard avidly scribbled down every word, I was instructed on what to do and not prior to surgery and during recovery. My head began swimming. Then my surgeon began to lay out the mechanics of the procedure. As I heard “rods, screws, ground bone and cage”, I started to glaze over. By the time she got to “indwelling morphine pump ” I had checked out entirely. Just do it already.
I am learning that the greatest challenge after 50 is NOT wrinkles and sagging skin. It’s losing the ability to lead an active life. I was previously a 6 day a week gym rat. Weights and Pilates were my drugs of choice. i had energy to burn.Now, in the week leading up to surgery, I was allowed to sit on my bed or couch, interrupted hourly with a 2 minute walk around the house.
With a walker.
Shades of my mother at 96. It’s demoralizing. But not quite as much as having to have a wheelchair at the airport on my recent trip home from California. Talk about a low point.
Which brings me to an important issue.
My husband has been harping on me about the “Mind/Body” connection. And I am beginning to get it.
When you are dealing with constant pain, you are no longer yourself. It’s virtually impossible to keep up a pretense of normality. I know; I’ve done my best Oscar worthy performances when necessary. Depression is inevitable and when I was prescribed a substantial dose of anti depressant, my mood went from 0 to 60 in 24 hours. I fought it but it made a huge difference. I am now able to call upon that spark of humor and sarcasm that are central to my personality. I can appreciate the benefit of being served breakfast in bed and getting to pick which TV show we watch. Seriously, without my ardent and conscientious care giving husband, I would be toast. But this is just the warm up. We are steeling ourselves for what is coming down the road post surgery.
Here is the essential truism of dealing with illness, no matter what it is: if it affects you, it also affects those around you. Spouses get the really short end of the stick. It can be very tough on relationships when there is so much anxiety on both sides. And I have found my husband’s anxiety causes me even more stress, a vicious cycle. So communication is vital.
And drugs, definitely!
I have great plans for my recovery period, anticipated to be 2-3 months.
Lots of great TV, the more escapist, the better. Scandal, Billions, The Catch, House of Cards. And that hilarious political spoof, the Presidential campaign!
Re reading every Nora Ephron book at the library; laughter being THE  best medicine.
Completing my first hand knitted sweater in 20 years so I can get to baby things for my highly anticipated first grandson.
Revisiting favorite movies like Dr. Zhivago with my friend Johanna and a trough of popcorn.
And of course, Food Network. So I can fantasize about all the things I’ll make when I can stand up for more than 5 minutes.
Patience has never been my forte. So to hold myself back for weeks and even months is going to challenge me to the max.
Time to see what this girl is really made of.

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3 Responses to The Come Back

  1. Ginger Lane says:

    So glad to see you are posting about what is going on and using your humor and great writing style. I will be in touch with you post surgery and wish you a full and easy as possible healing. Excited you will finally be a Grandmom. I don’t even know if it is Adam or Seth who is the Dad! W e must catch up. Off to Calif tomorrow to visit Danny and his 2 kids. He is in the midst of a divorce. Life never does go as we planned! Many detours!!! Sending love to you!!!

  2. Diane White says:

    Zoe, your humor carries the day! Please let us know how your recovery goes. Love to hear more about mind body connection. Be well
    Diane

  3. Bonnie says:

    Zoe,
    Add Devious Maids to see Julie in most of the episodes and Bloodline and your all set!
    Great blog but looking forward to you telling me what and what not to use!
    bb

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