American bloggers, most of them women, are notorious for over-sharing. We blog pregnancies, postpartum depression, diet struggles, marriage issues and the kinds of problems our parents saved for the therapist, if they shared them at all. The secret life isn’t much — and if you’re someone allergic to knowing too much information about me — stop right here and move along — and if you’re determined to go ahead and read this post anyway, just don’t follow any of the links. Consider yourself forewarned.
I was struggling with a medical issue a couple of weeks ago, and while a blogger, have certain topics I hold private. This one was especially hard for me to share; I was uncomfortable with even the words involved to describe it.
When it became apparent just how serious my issue was and that, in fact, I would more than likely be undergoing surgery, I finally caved and, in a limited way, shared my diagnosis with a subset of my social network. My sister jokingly asked if I was planning to blog about this when I told her my diagnosis. A friend asked if I was going to “live blog” my surgery. (I totally would have tweeted if I hadn’t been put under!)
I asked for help — not something I like to do — but gulped down a bit of pride and decided it was time to reach out and share. I was rewarded with friends (especially this one) Â who reassured me that what I was going through was nothing to be embarrassed about, and who jumped into action to help me manage the coming weeks with additional support.
It reminded me of one of the reasons blogging is so important — the act of being human, and sharing human issues online has enabled people to discover one another — to learn that no matter how alone you might feel, you are not, in fact, the only person dealing with or having dealt with your particular issue.
There’s been great comfort discovered, not only for me, but for hundreds of thousands of bloggers and blog readers brought together through commonality. In my circle of friends it was a huge relief to learn that some one else had gone through what I experienced — and her words of encouragement and comfort meant so much to me.
I did have surgery last week and have been recuperating slowly. I’m glad, ultimately, that I decided to let people know what was going on; the tweets, comments and messages of support, encouragement, comfort, wishes and prayers were very appreciated and are contributing to making me feel better, each day.
May I add my voice to the chorus that wish you a complete and quick recovery.
I am so happy to learn that in the middle of physical discomfort that you were nestled in the comfort of your communities, both virtual and physical.
Your post intersects two powerful observations. First, when we risk vulnerability and speak the truth, we learn we are not alone, and that in fact, we are surrounded by people who love us are eager to help. Self-isolation is a pernicious beast that grows shame and pain like public showers spread warts.
Second, you observe that there is tangible community and healing relationships through blogging. In many ways, blogging can be extending an arm of friendship and carry insights like a covered dish to a 4th of July picnic.
Enjoy the pie, tweets, hugs, notes and love of your circle. You deserve them and are beloved.
As always, I thank you and wish you well.
I am thinking of you and will bring those sweets over to you tomorrow. I hope that you were able to rest this weekend and are starting to feel better!!!!!
An exceptionally well written piece. Maybe we should include it in the chapter you’ve written for me in my yet unpublished book on writing.
Here for you…any time! Hope you’re feeling better…take all the time you need to to recover and you have us who are more than happy to help you in any way!! *hugs*
First, I’m glad you are recovering and even more glad that you are allowing yourself to be supported and cared for and about. We humans like to feel useful and the value is emphasized when there is so much going on that seems beyond our direct control. When we allow others to extend their love and support to us, we honor the gift of their presence in our lives.
Years ago I had a friend become angry with me when I declined her help with something for the umpteenth time. She said, “You know what? You are an incredibly arrogant person!” I was dumbstruck and she went on, “You seem to think that it’s fine for you to help me, or your other friends, but you refuse to let us help you. It’s like it’s only allowed to flow one way. Why? Are you so much more capable than we are? Are you just sure that we’ll screw things up that you think our help is too expensive a gamble? Honestly, you aren’t the only one who wants to be able to express love by offering support and help, you know!” This, from a friend who wouldn’t say “darn” because “everybody knows you really mean damn when you say it.” She really let me have it. The shocking bit was that my resistance to help had been about not wanting to be a burden, or use up too much of other people’s time, etc. I hadn’t had any clue that instead, I was making myself out to seem remote and even condescending. Wow. So, while I still struggle with the same issues, sometimes, I’ve become very deliberate in my thinking about offering, asking for, and allowing myself to receive help and support. You, therefore, are an inspiration in this area.
I’m wondering if you are surprised at just how big a recovery it really is. Some years ago, a patient at the PT clinic where I worked had similar surgery (that’s not why she was coming to see us) and was astonished at how much impact it had. She’d assumed it was “minor surgery” and she’d be up and about in a couple of days.* That wasn’t quite how it worked out and she reported that it had taken her a few days to make peace with the fact that her body’s story was that it was a big event. Personally, the only things I’d call minor surgery are fingernail trims and hair cuts.
I can offer a couple of tiny gems as you recover: hummus and raw almonds. Each of them has 1 gram of fiber for every gram of protein. 🙂
How funny that you’re blogging about this, because I’ve had a similar blog post on my mind.
I know how hard it was for you to ask for and then accept help, but I’m so glad you did because not only does it help you out, but it also helps out those of us who are watching you go through this and feeling helpless that we can’t do more to alleviate your suffering. So, if a batch of spaghetti and meatballs makes dinner time easier for you, it also makes me feel better too. Sort of like expressing love through food.