Friday, April 19, 2013

Balance is a Myth

My daughter's Chiari 1 Malformation repair surgery went well (decompression and duraplasty).  The doctor didn't have to remove any of her brain.  Thank you to all who offered prayers and support in our behalf.

It took longer than expected because she has an extra thick skull.  (The doctor said it was about three times as thick as most, and if he'd had to remove any more he'd have had to get a new saw because he burned through the one he was using.)  He removed a piece of her skull.  He removed the back half of her first vertebrae and shaved off part of the second.  He opened up the dura (the covering of the brain) to make more room and patched it with a piece of her scalp.  She goes back next week to have the staples removed and make sure everything's healing well.

She's still quite medicated, so it's tough to tell if any of her symptoms are better.

Three long days in the hospital with her were exhausting.  I was sleep deprived when we got there and it only got worse.  I tried to take care of myself while taking care of her.  I ate some.  Slept some.  Neither enough.  Because she was my top priority.  She needed me there in order to feel safe.  She was scared.

Since we've come home it's been better.  She's slept more.  I've slept more.  I'm keeping her on a strict medication schedule to stay ahead of the pain -- absolutely no waiting until it hurts.  As soon as she can take more meds, I give them to her.  It won't be this way for long.  I will start to stretch it out when I think she's ready.  But right now she needs to be able to relax a little and sleep so she can heal.

I am sleeping on a mattress on the floor of her bedroom at night.  There was an oxygenation issue in the hospital that's got her a bit paranoid.  Having me there to make sure she's breathing lets her relax.  It's a small price to pay.

While I was at the hospital with her those three days, my oldest daughter played mom at home.  She got people up and off to school.  She kept track of people.  She ran things.  All while finishing up classes and studying for finals.  She was a life saver for me and now has a better understanding of how hard it is to be a mom -- I understand there were some tears.  (Don't ask where my husband was.  We had a fight that started while my daughter was in surgery and continued throughout the day, both of us sleep deprived and stressed.  He was not in a good place those three days.)

Since we've been home, my daughter's ex-boyfriend-but-still-best-friend has spent most of the daytime sitting with her in her room, running errands for her and/or me, and giving me a chance to rest.  This would have been incredibly difficult without him.

And I have had to give up a lot of things.  I've let a lot of things slide.

All of that brings us to my point.  Balance is a myth.  Life isn't about making everything we want fit into a tiny space of time and energy.  Life is about deciding what's most important and choosing that.  Life is about letting go of things that don't matter to focus on things that do.

I wanted to be at my oldest daughter's concert, but I was needed at my other daughter's bedside.  I wanted to go to a discussion on literature of world religions, but needed to take care of myself.

There was a time in my life when I would have demanded it of myself to keep doing all I was already doing and find a way to squeeze this in there, too.  Luckily, I'm wiser than that now.  I know that's not healthy and not something to strive for or admire.

My priorities right now are my daughter, my health, and the other people in my life.  The house will wait.  There will be other fun opportunities.  And anything that really needs to get done can be farmed out.

Life is about seasons.  We do one thing for a while, at the proper season.  As the seasons change, we need to be willing to change with them.  We need to find the beauty in each season and not feel like a failure because we leave the other season behind.  We need to be willing to let a season go when it's time to move on.

This is my season to take care of my daughter and help her heal.  And it's the perfect season for me at just this moment.

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Anonymous MommieDaze said...

Very, very wise advice. I will remember this next time I'm worried because I don't think I'm doing enough.

April 19, 2013 at 4:04 PM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

Are you kidding? Your imbalance is what is maintaining the true balance. We live lives of serial imbalance. Way to see.

April 19, 2013 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger The Lovely One said...

It's all part of the balancing act to take care of what is most important to you. Best wishes to you and your family.

April 20, 2013 at 12:14 AM  
Blogger Sela Toki said...

Just read about your daughter. You've all been through so very much. It's an ordeal that seems to bring your family together by helping wherever help is needed. Please know you're all in our prayers and that we wish you all the best. God bless.

April 20, 2013 at 12:59 AM  
Blogger The Dose of Reality said...

So relieved to hear that your daughter is doing better. We will continue to think of you and her and hope that her recovery is smooth.-The Dose Girls

April 20, 2013 at 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Kerry said...

I like the seasons analogy as well. There are so many times I want to do everything, but I simply can't. Sending prayers to your family.

April 20, 2013 at 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Norine of Science of Parenthood said...

Well said. Wise words. Our thoughts are with you.

April 20, 2013 at 8:15 AM  
Blogger Ugochi said...

Praise God for a successful surgery, for you and all the people He put in your life to help. And I agree with you, life is about properly placed priorities...
I pray she heals fast and you get to get more rest time.

April 20, 2013 at 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Mothering From Scratch said...

{Melinda} I am such a HUGE believer in what you've shared here. We can't keep everything balanced. Seasons for everything. I think it just caused stress to try to do everything at once. I've tried it. And don't recommend it!

Saying a prayer for your daughter and family. So happy to hear things went well with the surgery.

April 20, 2013 at 1:26 PM  
Blogger said...

I so agree. Life is about seasons. And balance is fleeting. You might have it for a day or two but then life happens and balance is the first thing to go.

Glad your daughter is doing well.

April 20, 2013 at 4:32 PM  
OpenID said...

stopped reading to prsy for your family, snd will pray again tonight.

if we try to be too goes off balance.

April 20, 2013 at 4:58 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

How wonderful that you your older daughter is able to help you a little. I'm sorry your little one has to go through that!

April 20, 2013 at 7:48 PM  
Blogger Dana @ Kiss My List said...

Prayers for your daughter's healing and recovery. Taking your words to heart and reminding myself to choose what's important and let go of the rest.

April 20, 2013 at 8:19 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

You definitely have your priorities right. I hope your daughter continues to heal well.

April 21, 2013 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger Suz said...

To me you have chosen balance, a balance of what matters most. No need to add extra weight to the scale. I am glad she is continuing to heal well.

April 22, 2013 at 5:17 PM  
Blogger Melissa G. said...

I think you struck the perfect balance. Take care of your daughter first and then yourself and let everything else slide right off the scale. I'm glad she's home and recovering well. You've been in my thoughts.

April 22, 2013 at 7:47 PM  
Blogger Catherine Gacad said...

This is a beautiful post that speaks to what I am going through right now. Thank you for writing it. I have been praying for you and your family.

April 24, 2013 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Michelle Nahom said...

Very good advice! Sometimes life is about balance, but other times its about where you are needed the most!! I am glad that your daughter is home and recovering! Sending thoughts and prayers your way!

April 26, 2013 at 5:20 AM  
Blogger Bev Feldman said...

I'm glad to hear your daughter is home and recovering. I agree, life is about putting priorities on top of everything else, not necessarily about achieving balance. Yes, balance can be great, but there are times when life and loved ones trump it. My best to your daughter and hope she continues down a path of recovery!

April 26, 2013 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

I'm so glad your daughter is recovering well. What a trial. I'm so sorry. I agree, balance is a myth.

April 26, 2013 at 8:45 AM  
Blogger said...

Really good to hear that your daughter is recovering. Maybe I get wiser sooner rather than later, because currently I am sleep deprived and overworked for trying to do way too many things. This post is confirmation that I need to prioritize my priorities. Visiting from SITS.

April 26, 2013 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Susan Cook said...

Happy to hear your daughter is doing well after her surgery - hope you can all find peace and strength together :)

April 28, 2013 at 4:59 PM  
Anonymous Beth (OMG! Yummy) said...

Wow - so much to deal with. Glad she came through it well and you are there to help her heal. Live never really stops throwing curve balls at us, does it? Sending healing thoughts your way!

May 5, 2013 at 10:11 AM  

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