Thursday, May 8, 2014

Where have I gone wrong?

There are so many things going on at once. Issues with the kids top the list. 
There are house issues, financial complexities, and things having to do with the NF.
There are bureaucratic follow-ups to be done constantly, and calls that urgently need to be made to organize life for all of us. 
I feel so overwhelmed.

The other day, while talking to a friend, I found myself questioning whether or not to do this surgery. She has put off having her back operated on, even though she is in tremendous pain. She doesn't take pain killers at all, and has tried many alternative-type treatments, all very expensive, with limited or no relief from the pain. Her life right now is extremely heavy with issues with children, and she isn't looking to fix her back, even though she is in such pain constantly.

It takes so much time and energy from the family when I need to heal from a surgery. Even without surgery, our lives are intricately woven with the un-matching threads of having one parent chronically ill.

If I do the surgery, I can *hope* for relief from the constant pain in my right thigh joint.
I will, however, still have pain in my left hip. My doctor was clear that he does not plan to go in there to fix it, or do a THR (total hip replacement).

Is it worth it if I will still be in pain after the surgery? We can pray that, if everything goes well, the right hip will heal and solve the pain problem at least there.

My family- my kid's needs- are getting so complicated and all-encompassing, can I afford to put them through another surgery at this point? Can I afford to be on the outskirts of the family? 
Can my family learn not to put me on the outskirts just because I am upstairs? That's not totally fair, because they can treat me as if I am strong enough to handle all that comes my way, but we know that anyone healing from surgery is not in the position to be front-and-center for the family. They all need me to contribute 100%. I mean, my 100% that we have become accustomed to. If I do this elective surgery, am I causing more pressure on a family already under pressure? 

Is it selfish for me to do this surgery, knowing that I will still be in pain on my left side anyway?
I have the opportunity to [hopefully] take away one element of my daily pain. 

Will life just keep getting more and more complicated, and there will be no "good time" to do this?

Who do I take care of, and how?

Many people say that taking care of oneself is primary to taking care of your children. They get a better mother when the mother takes care of herself. Well, that is beautiful to say, but in practice, they need me not to take a break. I am feeling awful about going in either direction- if I do the surgery, the family gets turned upside-down emotionally (physically, too, but it is the emotionally part that hurts more), and I may not see personal results for another 6 months to a year for improvement. I will be on crutches for a while, not able to drive, much more tired, and in the short run, I will have lots more pain. In the long run, I may have less pain, and be able to do more. The kids, though, are different people already by the time the "long run" kicks in. They have passed through major hurdles with more or less success, while I am trying to get to physical therapy, not be able to drive, cook, do laundry, and have all the effects that I deal with each time I go through another surgery. 

Will *I* be Ok? I already often feel that my family puts me on the sidelines of life because I sleep more, and go out of commission often. That robs me of feeling involved in, or needed, in family issues. In return, I get treated like I am the "less involved one", and that stigma leads me to some deep sadness.

I may just be writing out my fears. I am scared for my family's well being if I do another surgery. I am worried about my own emotional well being vis-a-vis the family if I do the surgery.

This surgery is to give me the opportunity to be in less pain. But there are no promises.

Life is so darned heavy. Where have I gone wrong? 


  1. you were so relieved to have finally made a decision to go for the surgery....first "impressions" count. You will always be deliberating but I think you knew you had made the right decision.

    1. I just hope some major decisions fall into place before the surgery. That is really what I need. Well, I guess Hashem knows what we need. I'll try to go with that.

  2. I don't know that I have any insights here, just to say that I think even if you feel like you always have questions, it sounds like this surgery is something you'd be kicking yourself for not trying, even if it is only a partical fix. Much hatzlaha.

    1. yeah, I feel like I do have to for it. One leg in pain is better than two, right?

  3. I wanted to say how much I identify with what you wrote about weighing up taking time off for recovering and putting off the surgery to prevent disruption for the kids. Dealing with very different issues, but it's so true, how on the one hand we are always told that mothers need to put their health and well being first , but on the other feeling that taking all the time that requires to have needed treatments/surgery and take the necessary recovery time is a luxury because quite frankly our homes and families need us, and even if we are krechking along at half-capacity it isn't the same out of commission as when we are recovering on bed rest etc. I don't know that I have a solution, but it's so easy for the thinking thoughtful mother to drive herself crazy second guessing every decision, at some point you just have to decide, tell yourself that is the decision and go for it.

    1. I think I *have* decided. I just probably will always have these questions because it is so hard with the kids. I totally relae to what you said about they need you more even if your are kvetching along at half capacity, than if you were all out recovering. Thanks.

  4. Western medicine is leaving you with pain and complicating problems. Consult an accomplished naturopath with a good track record. There might be ways to heal at the cellular level with organic foods, sunshine, water and specific techniques (too complicated for a response bubble at your blog). Can't hurt to try.

  5. Sarah, without knowing all your family's issues (rest assured we ALL have issues), early June sounds like a really good time to do the surgery. There will be few if any tests the kids will be taking and school will generally be winding down. You'll have the summer to heal, Robert will have more time and I think you mentioned you'll have access to a babysitter. It sounds like you don't have any major simchas to plan for at the moment. Everyone is more relaxed in the summer, and even if there are sibling spats because everyone will be home part of the time, you can send the older ones to their friends or the local pool. And if they spend a whole lot of time on the computer or in front of a screen this summer, when not in camp, so be it. The important question is Do you need this surgery? and it sounds like you do. xoxoxo

    1. Thank you, Michele. You are right about the timing, and thank you for reiterating - reminding me- that I do need this surgery. Today only my right hip hurt, all day, and the left was fine. That happens a lot. There is a *part* that is *torn*. That is why it hurts. It can be fixed, and I can go on and heal the way I know how to.
      hugs to you- and it was great to see you a tad in Jerusalem the other day!

  6. My dearest Sarah,

    It seems to me the difficulty with this heavy blog lies in the idea that you find yourself guilty of being "wrong," and that the burden of being "wrong" rests solely on your shoulders. In fact, things may not be wrong at all, just overly complicated and difficult. But wrong? You have voiced many feelings here. Maybe its time to share them all with your loving husband and children. Hold a family meeting. Tell them how you feel scared about being there and not being there. See what they have to say to you. They might surprise you with their strength and their desire to see you get well, even if it takes you away from them for a while. Maybe you'll decide that every night you're home from surgery, you'll have a short family pow-wow. Or a meal together in your room whenever possible. Or a sign-up for being with you on a regular basis so as to share their love with you but not overwhelm you. Think outside the box. Nothing is "wrong" here, and you are not to blame. Nor should you carry the burden alone.

    So, that's more or less what I tried to say the first time. And I am happy to offer my shopping services while you are in the hospital and in recovery to shop for your family weekly if we can work out the details.

    Remember, you are not alone. Yes, cliched, and yes, true. There is a lovely community of people around you, and we love you.

    Love, Miriam

    1. Miriam, I love you for these words, and for your unbidding support. Thanks for the ideas. I like the idea of reading the blog to the family to discuss it. I plan on doing that soon.
      I like the shopping idea- I'll talk to Robert (the shopper) about it and see if that is what works for him, too.

  7. Sending hugs and prayers, and hoping you find some relief soon, from both your worries and your pain.

  8. Maybe it only seems simple and peaceful to an outsider...

  9. "where have I gone wrong?"
    What if that’s the wrong question… what if it is all perfectly right exactly as it is for you as Soul, to learn and give what you need to learn and give in this life?
    For me that is true spirituality.
    xxx you are loved... also by me.

  10. אשתדל להגיב בפרטי. בעקרון, כולנו ממש בסדר. הכל זה שיעורים שבאים ללמד אותנו. חיבוק גדול ושבת שלום!

  11. I think one important preventive is to let your family know that it's important for you to feel involved no matter how rotten you feel because feeling involved gives you strength. If you can express that, and let them know immediately when you begin to feel "on the sidelines" without accusing, just expressing and suggesting what they might be able to do to help you feel better, then you will have
    less to fear or worry about with that issue.

    Although we can't solve everything, for every problem there is a solution. It sounds like a dichotomy, but it isn't.
    (And yes, it's one of those things that's sometimes easier said than actualized.)

    love D.I.

  12. You probably know the story of a mother during the holocaust who had only one hard boiled egg.
    She hid herself in a room and slowly ate the egg. Her children knocked on the locked door and asked,
    "Mama, what are you doing?" She answered that she is making a mother for them.

    On planes, as you know, when they go over the emergency instructions they explain that when the oxygen masks come down
    the parent / accompanying adult is to first put the mask on himself/herself and only after to place the child's mask on her/him.

    I am sorry to hear that you feel on the sidelines with your family. From all the things you have described in your blogs re-family
    it certainly does not sound like in reality you are on the sidelines. You are very involved with them, enjoying going places, painting
    rooms, going to interviews, you are more involved than many "perfectly healthy" parents.

    Family letting you rest, is family being considerate, not family putting you on the sidelines.
    Family not wanting to disturb you, is family caring, not family putting you on the sidelines.
    Family not calling every minute about every little thing, is family loving you and wanting you to get better as quickly as possible, not family putting you on the sidelines.

    If I have my back and my leg hurting at the same time and then the "flare up" subsides and only the leg is hurting, it's a big difference!
    If I have a back flare up that spreads down my two legs so that I am bedridden because it's too painful to stand (B"H I haven't had that
    in years and hope I won't again) and then the pain (on it's way to recovery) localizes in the lower back, that's a huge difference!
    If I have a migraine and pain somewhere else and the migraine goes away and only the other pain remains, that's an enormous difference.

    Only you can make these difficult decisions but I felt that maybe the above would be food for thought. I send a blessing that you succed in making choices that will give you better quality of life in the long term which will inevitably also be good for your whole family. And that you will be happy and at peace with you decision/s.
    love D.I.

    1. Hello my dear D!
      Aside from the first story with the hard boiled egg, I am familiar with the others. I do appreciate your words of wisdom about how the family is respecting me as opposed to putting me on the sidelines. To a certain extent that is true, but also, when they have it in their heads that I am not to be disturbed, then I do sort of become in the background. It's not forever, but I do feel the difference. Things happen that people don't tell me about, schedules get made and remade without me knowing, etc. I can adjust and deal with it as the feelings arise. When I am feeling strong emotionally, that is fine. When I feel broken down emotionally, things get out of proportion, of course.

      Thanks also for the support that it is OK to have one of many pains fixed. Yes, it makes life easier if one side of the body is OK as oposed to neither side. I didn't know you had back/leg problems. Sorry to hear that!