This calls for another reflection on what it means to go through an important surgery, and that is not, of course, limited to cancer.
Looking back, it seems to me that, through the surgical knife and the process of giving away a (small) part of yourself, you get in exchange the gift of rediscovering the wonders of childhood.
First of all, there is a long and peaceful sleep, induced by anaesthesia, which comes as its own reward for people feeling pain before the procedure.
Then, suddenly you wake up, usually helpless in bed, most probably painless (full of various painkillers and opioids), without much notion of time and place, not able to know how much time has passed without outside help.
The horizons are limited to a bed, and a number of various tubes are inserted in your body, and linked to various pouches, machines etc.
The first baby step is to gain control of the main bodily functions. After one or two days, when the urinary catheter is taken off, you regain control of one, but it will take a few more days to regain limited control of the second one, particularly in case of surgery in the belly area. And it can be frightening at first, you wonder if you should push to help, or if this is going to break some of the sutures, staples or strings that have been placed inside!
All those daily functions that are being performed without much thought, turn out to be pretty important, and learning to independently perform them again is a sweet success.
The same applies to walking. Nurses and doctors are afraid of possible thrombosis and try to get you walk as soon as possible, depending on the type of surgery and how it went, your physical state etc.
In my case they asked me to move from the bed to the armchair, situated two meters from the bed. I needed help getting horizontal, then made the three steps to the armchair, and was totally exhausted! It took me ten minutes to recover, and a couple of hours before i ventured with my catheters across the room, then in the corridor.
Everyday adding more distance to those walks, rediscovering steps, breathing and getting those legs out of the danger zone is like learning to walk again.
Two days without eating anything than some soup, getting a couple of toasts and butter, plus jam felt extremely good! Although, a couple of days later is was dull and the first piece of meat felt extraordinary!
How, where and when can you, in the space of a single week, learn again the importance, the measure and the freedom of simple daily functions like walking, peeing, digesting, eating and being able to (nearly) take care of yourself?
It's like a new beginning, a shortcut from childhood towards adult life again!
Enjoy the moment, embrace the challenge, be grateful for the assistance you receive, acknowledge your successes!
All that with a smile in your eyes, like when you were 1, then 2, and when each day was full of wonder.
Rediscover the child within, smile and go on.