Post-op update: Total recall

SPOILER ALERT: Arnold Schwartzenegger does not make an appearance in this post, except for where he just did.

Apologies for the long silence on my end. It seems the healing process is asymptotic and as my recovery began to plateau, it seemed there were fewer and fewer mile markers to report on. Just a lot of slow, gradual progress. Lately, I’ve been thinking though about just how far I’ve come…

I remember when I was afraid:

  • of leaving the hospital because I was worried something would happen at home that my mom couldn’t handle
  • of walking on the street for fear someone would bump into me
  • of the elevator door hitting me because I couldn’t exit the elevator quickly enough
  • of any accident that would meaning having my chest opened again
  • of riding in a cab because all I could think of was how another car could hit us at anytime
  • of coughing, sneezing, and hiccups
  • of never feeling better

I remember when I couldn’t:

  • turn my head to the side
  • reach the back of my neck
  • lift a glass of water
  • sleep through the night
  • talk without running out of breath
  • walk up the 3 degree incline from Lex to Park
  • open the refrigerator door
  • open even an applesauce, bag of chips, or a twist top bottle
  • stand up in the shower
  • get in or out of bed without help
  • pick something up off the floor
  • dress myself

I remember how it felt:

  • to walk into the OR
  • to see my mom when I first woke up
  • to walk around the ICU for the first time
  • to taste those first ice chips
  • to wash my hair for the first time by myself
  • to walk to the Met on a summer evening
  • to venture further into Central Park every day
  • to feel myself growing stronger

I still can’t sleep on my side or carry most of my groceries. My heart often feels like it’s literally in my throat and the tightness around my incision can make my chest feel like it’s made out of leather. But I’m walking an average of three miles a day, with a high of seven to date, I’m back to work (part-time), and I’m starting to feel like myself again. So there’s that. 🙂





  1. Good news to hear. I know every week things will slowly continue t get better. Happy for you my friend!

  2. Hang in there! It’s a slow process and there’s a lot of changes to your life. But if you are doing three miles a day . . . ! Good for you! And thanks for the leather comment, wish I would have thought of that a couple of years ago. It’s creepy, no?

  3. Linda Coe

    It is absolutely wonderful to hear from you Summer and share in your terrific accomplishments since surgery. We have thought of you often and I feel I have much to learn from you in the “let’s get it done and learn from it ” approach you took to your surgery. I am so glad it is behind you with each day leading you to a stronger recovery. We had our first snow on the mountains last night and are giving dinner to Carter tonight who is all alone at Lone Pine for this week. My love to you, and thank you again for your blog. Linda

    Sent from my iPad

  4. Tricia McKinney

    You continue to be my hero.

  5. Barbara Yount

    Wonderful that your analytic mind is working in your favor as you see the amazing progress you have made! Love, Aunt Barbie

  6. No one ever said that becoming the Bionic Woman would be easy, but you are so inspiring in your progress. I’m so very proud of you (and so happy to have a fellow college football fan)!

  7. Penny Saffer

    It sounds like you are making haste slowly – festina lente! Don’t overdo, but continue those walks and other signs of improvement. XXX Penny

  8. natalie tucker


    Glad to hear that you are doing so much better. I am always glad to hear about your progress because you are a few weeks ahead of me.

    I feel like I am at a plateau as well. I can walk a half mile a day a couple times a day but don’t do it everyday because my hemoglobin is so low (7.5). What was your hemoglobin after surgery?

    I also have some tightness around my incision and almost feel like I can feel a wire poking me at the bottom. I’m hoping it goes away.

    Keep up the good work.

    Natalie tucker

    Do you every

  9. Ruth

    Thank you for sharing your progress and your fears — I suspect sharing your fears (and that some of them are in the past, are now memories) will help more people than you can imagine. Keep on healing 🙂

  10. Charlotte

    Those are some pretty significant milestones! Your blog about this procedure has been exceptional. I have recommended it to our nursing staff at the college. Glad you are doing so well and are on the mend in the right direction. Keep up the great work,

  11. Ellen Hunt

    Sweet, I am so happy to hear from you….And so glad you are mending and walking and mending some more. I am in Turkmenistan and sending you lots of hugs, Ellen

    Sent from my iPad

  12. Andy Ash

    As the old GE jingle used to say, “progress is our most important product”. Our maybe the Virginia Slims add is more appropriate: “You’ve come a long way, Baby!”

    -Uncle Andy

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