Happy New Year Dear Readers!
I must begin 2013 by apologizing for being out of touch, and not writing as much. 2012 was a great year for Anushay’s Point, but the year wrapped up with a surgery that took me by surprise.
Though I knew the procedure, related to my thyroid, was only a matter of time, it was the recovery that was a greater challenge for me. I was bedridden for almost two weeks, one of my eyes was stitched shut, and I was on strong medications.
Despite my best attempt to be prepared and take life by the horns, I fell into a deep, dark hole. I guess it was all part of the path to recovery, but the unforeseen detour was frightening to say the least.
As I regained my health, I had a lot of time to think about what we always hear about surgery but very rarely actually experience: The recovery from any medical procedure is more difficult than the operation itself.
Although I was lucky enough to have strong caregivers, I was completely unprepared for the psychology of recovery- having to hide my face, stay indoors, keep a low profile day in and day out as my body healed was so challenging, especially since I am normally used to living life in the opposite way: Loud and in your face.
As winter settled deep into the dark flesh of the barks and branches shielding sunlight away from my window, the one thing I kept thinking about was where do people go to recover? Does everyone have a house to hide inside? Can everybody access the medical care they need, pre and post surgery?
I thought about how people kind of disappear while they recover, and do not really talk about the period when they momentarily checked-out of life. Why do we recover so privately? Even scandal-ridden celebrities who have to be rushed to rehab go away from the public’s eye, only to emerge a few months later.
My recovery taught me that people don’t want to hear about the period in between getting sick and getting better. They just want to see you when you get there. But the critical period of surviving your surgery really happens after the surgery, after leaving the hospital. When you walk out (or get wheel-chaired out) of the glass doors, the doctors and nurses disappear, the most grueling part of getting better begins.
Even though my doctors told me not to focus on the transition period, and look forward to the final result of my surgery (ie better health ), it was very hard psychologically to not dwell. In fact, it was impossible not to. Day after day, as I retraced the scars over my eye from the operation, the only thing I could focus on was the present. I could not think forward or backward.
I had to effectively hide from the world while I healed. What did I learn? People need to talk about recovery more! It is so much harder and more dangerous than the medical procedure itself. We need to make recovery more public and share our experiences.
When I was lamenting about this to a close girlfriend, she told me people do not talk about recovery because it is “taboo.” Nothing about regaining our health should be shameful. Our shared experiences make us all more human, to ourselves and each other.
As my health progressed to greet the new year with open arms, I was met with the news of the woman brutally raped on a bus in India, eventually dying from the injuries she sustained, and five female teachers killed in Pakistan by militants.
Could it be any more clear that the larger struggle for the rights of women and girls continue? I thank you my dear readers for your support, and hope you will continue to join the global women’s rights movement.
Let us continue to fight the good fight in 2013 and beyond.