The "new normal".
It's the first thing I try to figure out after every surgery.
There's two kinds of compromises:
One is a negotiation between two parties; each can give.
The other is when you negotiate with the old you the parts that can stay and that which cannot change. That compromise feels like settling and somewhere in the stages of grief precedes acceptance.
I will tell you that this year's surgeries have had the most life-changing consequences. My first surgery was in April and I'm still trying to get a grip on managing the new normal.
IF what has happened to us scares people the weak ones will avoid us (How many poop conversations did you have BEFORE your diagnosis?LOL)
You realize how many of your friends are what I call "activity friends". They were my friends because I gave them someone to do their favorite activity. Our conversations were about equipment, places, training, but never about spouses, dreams, and aspirations. They were fun during the activity but in truth I don't miss them when they go.
I think the most difficult stage for my true friends, the ones who care about who I am, is that time after surgery when I try to learn who I am, my "new normal". It can be said that being sick is lonely and I say that because you're the only one doing it and everyone else is just watching. They have a choice to walk away..... you don't.
Give your love and energy to the one's who stay.
I had one of those little "bathroom" books that had adages and quick read jokes etc. The one I always remember is:
"It's not so much about marrying the right one as being the right one"
You can replace marrying with befriending and it still works.
What has happened to us is not fair. Life is not fair.
But you are not a snowflake that will melt in the heat in adversity. You are steel and further tempered every time you outlast the heat of adversity.
After 20 surgeries my friends and family know that for the first 5 minutes of a visit in the hospital I'll give them a status report but after that I want to know what's going on in my world that I'm not there to see.
Crohn's is what I do. It's like being tall and bumping your head alot. This stuff just comes with the territory.
NOW THE REALLY IMPORTANT PART:
But other people (our watchers), it's not what they do, yet.
We have our surgery, we have a plan for recovery, we work the plan.
But what about our watchers?
Our pain is behind us and we have a plan, but what do they have?
They have a tape on endless loop and all that's on it is having to watch us "suffer" without a darn thing they can do about it.
They play it over and over. Over and over.
So we have a tough job; we have to heal AND take care of our watchers.
They need to see WE are still there. A little changed of course but point they can still use to navigate life. They relied on our hearts before; they need to know that heart is still there for them and we still love them.
I learned this the hard way. I was in Hopkins for nine weeks, had 3 surgeries, and didn't eat for 7 if those weeks. I had to look at my parents' begging eyes asking how I was, hoping, grasping, for the slightest good news.
My life changed from being the child to the caretaker. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I learned I need to give my watchers a new tape to play. A positive one, a happy one.
It is my pride, my conceit, that I own Crohn's and whatever it throws at me. Crohn's wasn't a bump in the road, it IS the road. (but I do love me some flat surface LOL)
Gotta get off this soapbox, the height is making me dizzy.