Recovering from Surgery Has Humbled Me in My Marriage

Gillian Sisley

We’re closer as a couple than ever before.

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Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

Last week, I underwent surgery in which a 5x5 inch endometrial cyst was removed from my right ovary.

The surgery was done laparoscopically (internally), so I walked away from surgery with only 3 small stitched up incisions — one of them hidden away in my bellybutton.

Looking at me, I don’t look too worse for wear.

But the way I’ve felt is an entirely different story.

I’ve had surgery before. Been put under before. I thought I knew what to expect.

But it wasn’t until this surgery that I realized how many simple human tasks require the use of your general abdominal area. Like sitting, and standing, and walking… and when surgical instruments have been messing around with that area — well, things hurt.

By all accounts, the surgery was a complete success. They were able to save my ovary (which was undetermined before they went in), and even cut out some extra mini cysts and burned off other endometrial spots in advance so that more cysts don’t grow from those spots.

Odds are, I am just biologically prone to ovarian cysts, and if they continue to grow to the size this bugger did, I’ll need to get this surgery again.

Down the road, once my husband and I are finished having kids, a hysterectomy may be in my best interest.

Independent women don’t make for the best patients.

I’ve spent the past week beyond frustrated that I couldn’t do much of anything own.

I was constantly apologizing for being an inconvenience.

I mean, the first few days I couldn’t even shift my pillows on my own as I laid here, bedridden from the pain and stitches.

This is exactly why “in sickness and in health” exists in vows — for moments just like this.

For many of us, we deeply value our independence and ability to do the most basic human things on our own.

It’s beyond humbling to need help with these basic functions.

For me, someone who highly values my ability to do things on my own, without any assistance. Like many, I have difficulty asking for help.

It takes a person down a peg when you can’t even lift yourself out of bed.

Getting comfortable in leaning on my partner for support.

In the year we’ve been married, there haven’t really been moments when I’ve had to lean significantly on my husband. A few where his emotional support was vital, but I have no issue being emotionally vulnerable.

For a majority of our relationship, I’ve been the breadwinner of the duo.

But being physically vulnerable, on the other hand, is a whole other story.

The narrative really makes a switch when you can’t even use the bathroom on your own, and need your spouse’s assistance getting on and off of the toilet.

It’s not about feeling humiliated — when I was coming out of anesthesia, I had nurses looking down my underwear to see how much my uterus was bleeding after surgery. It’s no big deal, it’s just the human body.

This is more about pride — about being a proud woman who likes to take care of her own business (pun intended) and whose greatest fear is inconveniencing other people.

Being on bed rest, unable to do even the most basic human acts on my own, is both humbling and continually frustrating.

It’s hard to experience a once strong body having a hard time.

For the last week, I couldn’t stand for more than 2 minutes at a time.

I needed my husband’s help getting on and off the toilet.

I couldn’t sneeze, cough, laugh or blow my nose without instantly regretting it while singing a chorus of “AHHHHHHHHHHHHA!”

My once strong and active body can only lay here, predominantly immobile, while my spouse catered to my every need.

For some, that may sound like a dream — for me, it’s not.

Because while I laid here, feeling just a notch above useless, I could see every sacrifice he’s making for me right now.

I could see how my schedule of bathroom breaks and meal times interrupted his workday, when he is someone who takes pride in being productive and efficient.

I would cringe when it was 2 am and he was waking up because I needed another round of medication, as well as a visit to the bathroom — again.

You don’t realize how much you have to pee in the run of a day until you can’t freaking do so on your own.

Final word.

This is partnership.

This is marriage.

While I was riddled with guilt because my husband was catering to me — when of course, he wasn’t resentful of the fact.

He was empathetic and compassionate to my healing. He was glad I was getting closer to being better off without that giant cyst.

He’s my husband, and partner, and knows the most basic foundation of any healthy, equally respectful relationship:

Partnership takes sacrifices — partnership means that you will have to lean on each other once in a while.

One of the two partners might do more of the heavy lifting, but the thing about love is that you don’t keep a scorecard.

We all have our own struggles, and life throws its curveballs. When you have a partner, or take those vows in marriage, you’re committing to being there through thick and thin.

It’s not always pretty, it’s rarely even fun. Sometimes it’s embarrassing and humiliating and really hits your pride.

And that’s okay.

No one ever said love wouldn’t be messy.

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Online solopreneur. Tea drinker. Committed optimist. I write about trending news, viral Reddit content, and anything else that tickles my fancy.

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