As frustrating as it may be, the reality is that healing takes time … and lots of it … calendar time … it isn’t something that you can speed up no matter how much you will it to.
People will often ask me how my neuropathy is. At the moment, it is mostly just painful. I’m looking to that as encouragement – as in, the nerves are re-growing, so it hurts. At this point in time there is nothing they can or will do for it. I take some meds that in theory help to manage the pain. That is about it. Time must pass, and as it does things slowly heal.
Once a year has passed (end of October), then my neuropathy will be re-assessed. It is at that point (or maybe even 18 months) that we start talking about what is permanent versus the transient pain associated with recovery. As much as I might wish to will it to get better, the reality is, that the only thing that will make it better is time. No amount of physiotherapy, ultrasound, acupuncture, etc, will make the nerves grow back any faster – although those treatments may help temporarily manage the pain – the only thing that will fix the real problem is time. And so, I must learn to be patient and wait.
When I think about time and healing, I am reminded about just how far I’ve come. I think of my various walking buddies and how they must see the remarkable differences. Back in December, after my surgery (so Christmas), I could barely walk around the complex. I remember going on 5 or 10 minute walks within the interior courtyard with my mother-in-law. Not exactly our usual Christmas afternoon turkey in the oven walks.
Eventually I graduated to walks out to the pathway behind our house. Even then, I’d walk for 10-15 minutes – very slowly – and then need to sit on the bench. I knew where all the benches were – I created a walking route so that I could stop and sit at each bench as I needed to. So, I must say, that I have come a long way. Yesterday I walked 10km (6.2 miles for the metric challenged). It took me two hours. I didn’t stop to sit down even once.
My parents last saw me in person after my first surgery (American Thanksgiving). I wasn’t quite at my lowest at that point, but I was still in pretty rough shape. Chemo had taken a lot out of me and my neuropathy was pretty darn bad. I’m looking forward to seeing them in a couple of weeks – so that they can see just how far I’ve come.
As so, I remind myself regularly. Healing takes time. I’ve come a long way, but I also have a long way to go. As much as I want to be back to the super fit me that I was before cancer (or at least that is how I remember myself – the reality of that may also be a bit of a myth that I tell myself), I need to remember healing takes time. It isn’t something that can be rushed.