After commenting on a post about grief this morning, I came to a realization that is almost comforting with its familiarity.
Years ago, I had to have surgery on my foot to remove a gigantic ganglion cyst from my tendons. It was so aggressive that it had developed tendrils that were starting to limit movement. If I hadn’t have had surgery, I could have very easily lost the use of two of my toes.
Anyway, it was a pretty traumatic surgery, and I had to have a second surgery about a year later because the cyst came back. I developed minor keloid scarring from the two surgeries.
The scars are still there – faint, but visible. They are sensitive to the touch, and occasionally, I’ll walk with a slight limp. I have to be careful when I wear certain heels, but I usually just wear tennis shoes or flats. And yes, sometimes the cyst comes back bring along the pain. But even the worst pain today will never compare to the pain of that first cyst, which would wake me from a deep sleep. Rather than the sharp, shooting pain from years ago, now, I usually just have a soft, dull throbbing. Most of the time, I don’t even realize it’s with me until I consciously think about it or something triggers it, like a weird yoga position or a long walk.
My podiatrist offered a third surgery as an option to deal with the pain: to fuse my joint. But I can live with the pain. I’ve learned to cope and compensate. Most days, I wear sensible shoes, but some days, I need my husband to rub my foot, and other days, I bind it. But it’s all manageable.
This is what I think grief will be like for me.
I’m still in the tender area of recovery, but this surgery analogy helps me understand what people mean when they saying things like “finding your new normal” and “the pain will always be there, but it will get easier.” I knew what they were trying to say, but I didn’t comprehend it.
This makes those big, scary dates a little less intimating and a little more manageable.