15 Jan

So it’s been almost 2 weeks since I had Moh’s and plastic surgery. Recovery has had its ups and downs, I’ll be honest with you. The first 4 or 5 days I struggled with what I would classify as mild depression. I really didn’t want to go anywhere, definitely didn’t want to see anyone (or rather, didn’t want them to see me).  I had a lot of time to sit and think about my mortality and the fact that my body is basically a ticking time bomb. My hypochondria flared up:

Me: What else is wrong with me? 

Self: Probably something. What is this on your neck, right by the surgery site?

Me: Hmm. Feels like a swollen lymph node.

Self: Or a neck tumor. Better go to the doctor. You’re probably in big trouble.

Me (after going to the doctor): Doctor says it’s a lymph node after all, probably related to the surgery, and should go away.

Self: She’s wrong. Tumor. Plus you’re probably going to get the flu.

So it went on like that for a week or so, me obsessing about everything I could see and most of what I couldn’t. My OCD intensified. I normally keep it in check, and you would probably never notice it unless you came to my house and observed me doing something like mindlessly adjusting the kitchen faucet so that it points to the exact middle of the two sink basins, or organizing my childrens’ play kitchen so that all “hot” play food is in the stove compartment and all “cold” play food is in the refrigerator compartment (Yes, I do these things daily). Very mild OCD can be a quirky personality trait, or at the very least help with organization. Severe OCD is a debilitating life-ruiner. I have no desire to go there, or even come close, which is why I’ve been working very hard to address the signs of worsening OCD before they have a chance to completely take over.

I’m completely thankful for competent and kind doctors, for good medical insurance, and prayers from many. And honestly, the amazing feedback I got from my previous post meant the absolute world to me, I’ll just tell you. My friends and family (and even one or two strangers!) lifted me up with comments, texts, and emails. A bunch of people told me that I wasn’t alone – they’d had similar experiences, and felt the same way I did. I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one who has struggled emotionally with the after effects, either.

So, why has it been hard?

I have a theory about why the week following my surgeries was so difficult.

I couldn’t laugh.

I could barely smile.

This was me, at my most cheery:

Maybe she's laughing on the inside.

Maybe she’s laughing on the inside.


Good grief, I hated not laughing.  Toward the end of the week that I had stitches I came to dread something funny coming to my attention. The act of smiling hurt and I began obsessing that my scar wouldn’t heal correctly if I even tried.

Isn’t that sad?

Have you ever counted the number of times you smile and/or laugh in any given day? I haven’t, but I definitely took it for granted. I realize now what an astounding gift laughter is.

It’s probably no coincidence that I didn’t truly feel like myself until my stitches were removed and I could smile and laugh once more. Isn’t it amazing? Laughter has been my most effective tool in recovery.

I’m sorry this post isn’t funny. It’s anti-funny. I tried to make it at least a little humerous, but it just didn’t really work out. I’m happy to release these negative issues, though. Plus I warned you in the title that this blog wouldn’t be all sunshine. Here’s your occasional cloud cover! I’ll get back to the ray of sunshine part now.

I’ll leave you with a pic of me, 13 days post-surgery. I’m wearing no makeup, and there is no filter on the pic. Way to go, Prominent Facial Surgeon!

can't complain!

can’t complain!



One Response to “Recovery”

  1. Robert Gruenhagen February 26, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    Hilary’s Grandfather again. Glad to see you.

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