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Lessons Learned Recovering from Surgery

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

I started out to write this blog about turning the page into a new decade (40 years young now), but the words that were inked on the page gravitated to a collection of things that I learned while recovering from a couple surgeries.

You see, I came into 40 years of age right after bilateral ACL reconstructions (I tore one ACL snowboarding and the other at the Spartan Race). So I will never get to experience the turn of my 4th decade like I wanted to. Fitness had been such a big priority in my life, I envisioned that I was going to float into 40 in great shape and with ease. But, as it were, I had had two knee surgeries a few months before my 40th, and I was scheduled for a third surgery two weeks after my 40th. To top it off, I had two of my cats die right in the middle of it all, so it was pretty far from the easy time I had envisioned. People kept telling me that I would grow from the injury experience, and when I was in the midst of it, I refused to believe that there was anything to learn from it.

But, my (now) more mature 41 year old self has to admit that there were lessons learned. For example: I learned not to take your leg down quickly after elevating it lest you be flooded with pain. I learned how to sew stilt covers instead of doing aerials. I learned it's true what they say: you must advocate for yourself when at the doctor's office. I learned to write my questions for the doc down and go to appointments with a written list. I learned that I was a better authority on what was happening with my body than all my doctors together. I learned that time passes...even when you are not having fun. I learned that generally people will best understand what you are going through if they have gone through similar experiences themselves, but there are a few folks who will surprise you with extra doses of compassion. And during this time, it occurred to me that I was not unfortunate in my injury. Alternatively, everyone actually deals with injury, illness or death at some point in their life. It was just my turn to push through.

It was an incredibly hard time for me, but I threw a party anyway and my friends made a good showing that made me feel very loved. In the end, I decided there is no right or wrong when it comes to turning the page to a new decade, especially since no matter how old I get, I still feel like a just with a little more experience.

Author Mindy Cochran

Article by Mindy Cochran. Mindy is the founder of Kalispell's Levitation Nation Aerial Studio, where the catch phrase "fitness is fun" is embodied alongside a culture of movement & women empowerment. Mindy is also a columnist for "Montana Woman Magazine." Her column "The Real Levitation Experience" shares expertise for elevating health and wellness that she has acquired through her certifications as a personal trainer, nutrition coach, and life coach. For more about Mindy, please visit:


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