By Lynda Holt

“Déjà vu is the feeling that one has lived through the present situation before.”

This sentiment could not be more accurate for me right now.

I wrote this article at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. Not only is the pandemic still here, and we are all fighting our own battles to get through the day, I have also found myself back in the hospital with an almost identical injury. So far, it’s been seven weeks in hospital and no end date, no visitors and a single room with a window to the outside world I cannot be a part of just yet.

So I remain positive in my mindset. I stay connected with friends and family via my computer so that we can support each other during this time in my life, and I reflect on my article and remind myself, “…this, too, shall pass…”

Like everyone currently living through this pandemic, my life feels like it’s in a holding pattern, just waiting to get back to life as we knew it.
This is not the first time my life has been put on hold, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

In 2017, after a long, slow, 2-year road to recovery, my life was derailed once again. A small cut on the back of my leg found me back in the hospital. I’m no stranger to hospitals. I have been in and out of them since I was born for one reason or another. Still, this was the second time I was hospitalised for this particular wound. I was there to finish my healing and hopefully end the constant dressing changes, medication, hospital stays, multiple surgeries, fevers, needles, uncertainty, and generally feeling unwell the whole time. I had been trying to heal my body naturally up until this point, but it would not cooperate. It would not heal to the point of full recovery, and I had to do something about it to finish this chapter and have the freedom to move on, to start life again.

Taking one step back to take two steps forward

I knew it was not going to be easy, but I knew it would be worth it, and, in all honesty, if you look at the bigger picture, it has been. I was admitted to the hospital in early November 2017 and did not see the outside world until January 2018. It started well, the plan was to close the wound surgically, and they warned me that they had to make the injury worse to make it better.

My wound ended up five times bigger than when we started, and they estimated it should only take six weeks to heal. Considering all this, the next day, I had surgery, and from that day until I could go home, I did not leave my bed or the room. I did not sit up or even roll over to my left side; I had to lay on my right side, completely flat with minimal movement the entire time.

Generally, I am a positive person; I can always see the good in every situation. This situation was no different. Each day, I was one day closer to going home, and that’s what I kept reminding myself. One of my favourite quotes by Abraham Lincoln is “…this, too, shall pass…” and I just kept looking forward. But week 6 broke me. The doctors came in and told me the surgery had failed and that we would have to start again. For the first time in my hospital stay, I felt defeated.

Was this ever going to end?
Was I ever going to go home, and would life go back to normal?
No one had the answers; there were no guarantees. I just had to try again and hope for the best. So, I had to dig deep; I had to get my mind back in the game. I had to breathe, refocus, and start again.

Back to square one.

So, there I was, having gone through my second surgery in a matter of weeks, and I was once again back to square one, starting the long journey to healing, laying on my right side completely flat. I was terrified to even move for most of the second half of my stay. I did not want this surgery not to succeed. It had to work this time, and I would do whatever it took to make this work.

Christmas passed.
New Year passed.
And, finally, this time, it worked.

Going home was getting closer. I would not be out of the woods for many months as even once the wound has healed, it was new and fragile and could break down at any time. However, they gave me a discharge date, and I would be allowed to go home in 2 weeks if all went well.

Using this learned resilience to help me through COVID-19

For me, COVID-19 is just another moment in time that I need to get through before I can get back to life as we knew it. It may be a new way of life with many changes, but it will be life ready to enjoy again. For now, it’s a familiar feeling of uncertainty, fear of the unknown. I can choose to focus on the negative, or I can choose to focus on the positives. The latter is always my go too.

In this ‘downtime’, I grew my NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) business and moved into the Aged Care Sector by doing virtual meetings and all the background work I would usually put off until later. I’ve been catching up with friends online and even working with my wonderful coach Kate, who got me to write this blog (which is totally out of my comfort zone).

I’m taking this time to work on myself and my mindset. It’s challenging, and, like everyone, I have to work on this every day to keep me moving forward.
I’m working on my motivation and preparing to get back to training when we are allowed back into the gyms, as staying home is becoming a little too comfortable when I can watch Netflix any time I want.

I am refocusing on my food choices to get my health and fitness back to the level before my hospital visits to feel better about myself as I take on this new challenge of getting back into competitive sports.

What I know is that we all have choices. Like before, I concentrate on the positives and take it one day at a time, knowing I am one day closer until I can breathe, refocus, and start again.

What mindset will you choose for yourself?