What’s next?

It hit me yesterday that I am heading fast towards the next stage.

While I’m out of the acute recovery stage, I’m hardly out of the (recovery) woods.  Full recovery – if there is such a thing – is more in the region of six to twelve months, as I understand it.

I now see my surgeons less frequently.  Now it’s about rehabilitation with my speech pathologist and physiotherapist and that’s going well.  And yet, to my knowledge, there still looms the possibility of three further surgeries over the next six to twelve months.  That’s surgery by my plastic & reconstructive surgeon to remove the excess soft tissue in my cheek, surgery by my oral & maxillofacial surgeon to remove the titanium plate in my jaw, and surgery by a dentist (to whom I’ll be referred at some stage) to do something about teeth.  The odds, certainly on the surgery to remove the plate, look to be shortening because you can feel the corner of the plate under my skin and it’s beginning to stick out.

Recovery has been the focus every day since the surgery.  Well, a focus: on days when Alannah is home, like today, I have barely done my recovery work.  I’m doing my speech exercises as I type.  I’ve massaged my neck dissection scar once.  And I did some raises on my tippy toes each time I waited for the kettle or microwave.  Hardly stellar.  It’s amazing how hard it can be to do it all.

And when recovery is a focus, time passes slowly.  It’s not unusual for someone to express surprise how fast the time has gone since my surgery.  It’s been 8.5 weeks, almost two months since 1 August.  Believe me, it’s much slower when you live it each and every day.

Now I find myself at a place I never expected to be.  I don’t know what I’m meant to do next.  In some ways, I am ready to return to ‘real life’.  In other ways, I am not.  And yesterday, it all caught up to me.

I’m not sure what I want to say yet.  At least nothing coherent.  It’s still whirling around in my head a bit.

Two things I do know.  First, it was only my second low day since I returned home from hospital and that’s not so bad, really.  Second, it’s not the end of the world and I just have to figure it out.

Yes, this was not a place I ever expected to find myself.  I like to have a plan, to think a few steps or months or years ahead.  Suddenly, I can’t picture myself in two months, let alone two years.  I have to make some decisions very soon on various things without the big picture or perhaps I need to imagine a new big picture.

Like I said, nothing coherent to say yet.  But I’ll get there and I have a few ideas brewing already.  First step: I’m going to sleep earlier to try to crack this continuing fatigue and it’s already past 9.30pm.  Good night.



  1. Kirsten, remember on your low days that you are not alone – you are amazing and you will get through this. I hope you continue to snuggle up in your “recovery” quilt and draw inspiration and renewed strength from it. Luv moi xxox

  2. Only 2 low days is amazing. Amazing. It can be really hard to reach the end of the first phase. The first phase is usually very well defined. There is lots of support from people, both personal and professional. There is a clearly defined goal which is mostly to get through phase one… 🙂

    Phase 2 and beyond is much harder as things start to return to normal but at the same time are anything but normal. I know I have entered phase 2 but I am not sure what I am supposed to be doing in phase 2. Or what the outcome is. Or how long it will take.

    Coincidentally I just blogged my favourite quote from an Indigo Girls song yesterday. I they to keep this in mind on days that I just don’t know what to do about the future. When I wonder if all my choices are wrong or right and do they take every possible permutation in to account: “Most of what will happen now is way out of our hands. So just let it go, see where it lands.”

    Sometimes the only option is to make decisions without knowing the big picture.

  3. georgin Bett says:

    Hi Kirsten
    Best wishes.

  4. You expect far too much of yourself. Go easy on yourself. “only 2 low days” is incredible. Your body and your emotions have been through so much, its bound to catch up with you. That Indigo Girls quote is pretty good. I’ve always been a fatalist and fate has usually treated me pretty well but sometimes its hard to trust in what will be.

  5. My Mum used to say something to me when times were tough and it really used to give me the shits – but it’s true – “this too will pass”. thanks for nuthin mum!

    “real life” – well… that’s what “is” now…..all you have is today.
    Also, I have found it helps to moan and groan and whinge and thrash around a little.

  6. It was lovely to find all your comments this morning. I felt a fair bit better yesterday and much better over the course of today. Tuesday was just tough. The issue hasn’t gone away – indeed I need to make one of many decisions by the end of this week – but I don’t feel quite as overwhelmed as I did.

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