Musings: A personal point of view on surgery and other fun stuff.

From Jorge D Faccinetti, cofounder –  Surgery has a way of giving you time to think about things you typically don’t think about. Such was the case with me these last 3 weeks. After a total knee replacement, TKA as it’s lovingly known, I found myself with time to ponder. As I watched my swollen knee (iced and elevated), dealt with the fun effects of pain medication and thought about the upcoming dreaded PT to strengthen and bend, yes, I most definitely had time to think.

This, as all who have had the procedure know, is no picnic, and unfortunately quite common in acromegaly. For me, this one is number three after two total hip replacements in 2010 and 2013, all thanks to my acromegaly late diagnosis, which predictably caused arthropathy (joint disease) in my hips and knees. I suppose I should also mention the transsphenoidal surgery to remove a pituitary tumor in 2010. But who’s counting!

Before I move on to the actual purpose of this column, I should mention my procedure and rehab has been, so far, nothing but a total success as we move toward total rehabilitation.

As I was saying, surgery gives you time to ponder.  And pondering took me to Italy, the land of my paternal grandfather and one of my favorite places on earth. Italy is my favorite for many reasons: food, fashion, sophistication, wine (sorry California, France, Argentina), people, conversation, coffee (sorry Seattle), art, music, history, Ferraris of course, and the most important reason, what Italians call “LA DOLCE FAR NIENTE”.

Loosely translated, “La dolce far niente” means “the sweetness of doing nothing”. Italians do this to perfection. And the practice makes them very happy. It’s not about wasting time, but about enjoying life through the small pleasures; worrying less about the meetings, work-related obligations, and everyday life. It is about taking the time to listen to your favorite song. Enjoying your favorite wine and a piece of cheese. Appreciating the landscapes and views around you. Eating something delicious. Reading your favorite books and writing to those you love. It’s about riding your bike without a reason or a specific place to go; or going to a café to chat with someone you don’t know, disconnecting from everything except you. To practice “La dolce far niente”, the sweetness of doing nothing, is to live and enjoy without guilt.

In a recent article in Psychology Today, Dr. Collen Long writes about the happiness Rx and the art of doing nothing. In her piece, she points out why Italians, not Americans, get this right. She writes “All the noise- the Facebook, the reality TV, the latest and greatest no-one-can-get-in-there-without-calling-a-month-ahead restaurant…it all fades away when we can just do nothing. What surfaces is life- our feelings at the moment (whether it be grace or despair), our ego vanishes and our true self emerges.”, says Dr. Long. And she adds, “Maybe you sit and read a book. Maybe you stare out the window or balcony and listen to your favorite musician. “

So my advice, take some time for yourself and practice some of La dolce far niente! My theory here, although I must admit there is no scientific data to back this up, is that this practice is healthy. We spend most of our lives worrying about tings we can’t control. So why spend a second on any of it? Relaxing, doing nothing is very good for you.

I can’t leave this column without also acknowledging my total thanks and admiration to Dr. John Dearborn and his team of superstars at the Center for Joint Replacement at Washington Hospital in Freemont, California. He is also the author of my two hips and the doctor who actually first noticed the acromegaly in me seven years ago, which led to all this non-stop fun. You can read the “diagnosis” story here if you are interested.

Thanks for reading, for being connected, for caring, and for helping us get the word out about pituitary disease. Early diagnosis saves lives and improves quality of life!

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