I had my eye operation one week ago. I had come to the end of the road, there was no going back, and the only way forward was to have the eye removed. It was.
The surgeon warned me that it would be the most painful eye operation I had ever had. It was.
Possible complications after the operation were mentioned, all to do with the surgery itself. Possible post-anaesthetic complications were mentioned too, in passing. After all, I had had many operations before and never had a reaction. This time I did. I started vomiting on the way back from the hospital and was sick for the first 36 hours. Bringing everything back up meant I could not keep any pain killers down…not an experience I would wish on my worst enemy.
The worst is over now. I have a new eye. It needs some more work before it will be ready for public viewing, so I shall be wearing a patch for the next couple of months.
Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be said, “Change is inevitable in life. You can either resist it and potentially get run over by it, or you can choose to cooperate with it, adapt to it, and learn how to benefit from it. When you embrace change you will begin to see it as an opportunity for growth.”
So I have decided to embrace this dramatic change in my circumstances.
Because I can.
- Change is something I know I can handle. I have dealt with the challenges generated by both expected and unexpected change successfully in the past. When I feel overwhelmed, I look back through my gratitude diary and remind myself of the challenges I had encountered and navigated in the past – when I retired from medical practice, when I started my own business, when I got divorced and remarried…
- I know that I do not have to face this change on my own. I have friends. I have family. I have a mother-in-lieu who nursed me physically and mentally through those first two horrendous days and through the days that followed, I have a mother-in-law who rang and sent messages from deepest, darkest Africa daily, I have heart-friends who phoned, visited and sent e-mails and texts from far and wide. Change of this magnitude forces me to acknowledge my inability to cope on my own and thus enriches and strengthens my relationships.
- I believe that change incites personal growth and personal development is important to me. I shall have to find new ways of doing, new ways of being. I shall have to accept my new physical limitations and redefine my identity (more about this in Chapter 2 of my book Self-Confidence made Simple,) from a two-eyed person to a one-eyed person. I shall have to set firm boundaries and learn to say “No” more frequently to protect the eye I have left.
- I have discovered that even significant changes can be broken down into smaller sections to make it more manageable. There are only so many waking hours in each day, and in those waking hours, I only have to deal with as much of the change as I can manage. I can handle this change: I can prioritise and choose to cope with the most urgent challenges first while ensuring that I also make time to recharge my batteries regularly.
- Change makes me stronger. It forces me to develop new coping strategies, strategies that I can later share with participants in my personal empowerment workshops. Change teaches me to be more flexible and more willing to compromise when there is no other option. Change inspires me to I reassess and improve my problem-solving skills; it makes me more resilient. Change requires that I unearth and eradicate possible limiting beliefs that I may have acquired during the last two years. It brings unhelpful habits to light, enabling me to break these habits and form more helpful ones.
- Change allows me to grow spiritually; it refreshes my faith.
- Change extends my horizons. I learn more about myself, about the people around me, about coping in challenging circumstances. Before, during and after the operation, I have met inspiring people I would otherwise not have met, kind and considerate strangers who give without expecting anything in return. Change reminds me of all I have to be grateful for in my life.
- Change reminds me to be mindful, to acknowledge my emotions without allowing them to dictate my actions. Leading up to the operation, the consuming emotion I felt was anger. Incandescent rage, actually. Mindfulness allows me to observe and acknowledge my anger (as I explain in my book Mindfulness and Meditation Options,) without allowing it to propel me into the next stage in the process of coping with loss and grief:
- Immobilising shock
- Development of a coping strategy
Much better to focus on developing a plan that will enable me to cope with this change. Along the way, change teaches me to be patient, to have realistic expectations and to adjust those expectations daily, hourly, even moment-by-moment, when required. Patience is a virtue I still do not have enough of, no matter how much change I have successfully negotiated in the past.
When I look outside, I see spring everywhere. Spring is a great time to have a life-changing operation. A time of new beginnings, of new opportunities, a time of firsts – for the first time in 2 years, I shall be pain-free, and for the first time in 27 years, I shall have a nearly normal-looking (albeit artificial) eye – time to be creative: as I am not earning an awful lot at the moment, I have created a writer’s profile on Patreon, where you can support me through all this for the price of 2 cups of coffee per month. I have also nearly finished editing my new book Thriving on Challenges and Change – I will let all my mailing list subscribers know as soon as I publish it.
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