Another "midwesterner" here (Des Moines).
There has been some tremendous advice on this thread and I can't add a whole lot to it.
I'm from Des Moines (went to Iowa City) and 31 years old. I had my surgery July 21st of this year, and today was my first day back to work! Pre-surgery:
I came to these boards quite frequently. Most of the posts were very soothing, and it was very cathartic to find a group of people that were going through what I was. However, I did tend to focus on a couple of cases where things didn't go well. I lost sight of the positive sometimes.
It's natural to have anxiety about the surgery - don't be afraid to share your feelings. I'm not usually one that spills my guts or shares my feelings too much. This can be to my detriment. You've done a great service to yourself by finding this site, and are doing a great job asking away! Don't be afraid to let your significant other or a best friend know what you're feeling.
If possible, have your significant other come to every appointment. I know this can be tough with you kids and work schedules, but there were times that I KNOW I got things lost in translation. Also my wife could help recall details that I couldn't. It's very soothing for both to be in the loop on this!
Keep in mind you will be pretty sedentary after the surgery. If you have any projects that need to get done around the house that you want to be involved with, you'll either want to get those taken care of, or postpone them. Since you're a mother of 3, I'm sure you're already plenty busy!
I tried to shed a little weight by eating well and exercising to prepare myself...figured it couldn't hurt. However I had plenty of weight to lose, and I wasn't experiencing much for balance issues pre-surgery. Obviously balance issues may hinder how active you are.Post-surgery:
Patience! Focus on your progress, not your side effects. I know this is easier said than done, but try to focus on the improvements everyday. The first day will not be fun, but it will pass before you know it. Everyone is different, but by the end of day 2, they had me standing and eating (every case will probably be different, just my own experience). Improvements!
my nurse staff. Each one of them reiterated to make sure to "keep them busy". Don't hesitate to let them know if you are feeling discomfort of any kind. As others have said, listen to your body. However also view each opportunity to "go for a walk" or other activities as "opportunities" for getting better.
Don't hesitate to let people know if you're not up for visitors. You're going to be tired quite a bit. There were times when I just didn't feel like talking. My wife and I had a sign planned for when I was ready for my visitors to leave. It's not being ungreatful, they'll understand!
Once we were home, the thing that helped out the most was if a friend or family member brought over food! So if you have someone that is insisting on help, a good, already cooked meal is great for both you AND your husband!
Wow, I was going to just write a couple of things and ended up rambling. I guess everything is so fresh and you're so close in age, your case resonated with me. Anyway, sorry for the long-winded post, but ask away with questions!