Thursday, May 03, 2012

"The" Post Part IV - We all knew it was coming, but it didn't make it any easier to hear.

Mom had come to save the day and made things lots better the way that only Moms can.  But, it was time for her to get back to her job and to my Father who was missing her terribly.  It was a sad good-bye as she knew I still had a difficult road ahead.

I went to my appointment to see the Oncologist.  I knew what was coming.  Hubby and I had discussed in depth that there was really only one road left to take.  It still didn't make it any easier as the Oncologist and the nurse sat with tears in their eyes and told me I would have to have a hysterectomy.  These past five months of hell were all for nothing.  I would be losing my ability to have another child.

I was very brave in the office.  I told them how much I appreciated all they had done, how much their endless compassion and humor helped me through this whole thing.  I was even brave when I called Hubby to tell him that indeed what we thought was going to be happening.  Then I numbly drove myself home.  All my bravery left as I lay on the floor of the nursery wailing and crying and screaming.  My four legged baby sat by my side not sure what to do, but knowing I needed him.  About the time Hubby and the Boy should be home, I did what all Moms would do.  I got myself up, washed my face and put on a smile.

The next day we found out that the only cancer hospital that could fit me in that week was in downtown Toronto.  I would be having my surgery in three days.  Hubby and I had very mature, emotionally detached conversation about how it was most important that the Boy was kept in his routine.  That we need to save Hubby's vacation days for after I got home.

The pre-surgery ordeal was less than fun.  Because I had a confirmed, rather large blood clot, they needed to make sure I didn't have any more waiting to detach and start roaming my body.  Have you ever had a full body ultra-sound?  It gives the term I feel like I was hit by a bus a whole new meaning. I was black and blue all over by the end.

They wanted me to check in a day early.  So the next day Hubby brought me to the hospital and we got me all checked in.  I was given a lovely gown, but negotiated being able to stay in my clothes until absolutely necessary.  Hubby had to leave a little early to make it all the way back to our town in time to pick up the boy. We decided to tell him that I was going to a Mom's week away to a spa with one of my friends.  It was the worst spa I have ever been to!

After he left, they brought me in a gallon jug and told me I need to drink it all to clear the pipes.  It was so gross!  I downed glass after glass feeling like my college days were finally paying off.  I finally finished and the next time the nurse came in I told her I was done.  Her response was "Hmmm.  I've never seen anyone finish it before."  What?!  That was an option?????  I was lucky enough to be in a room by myself for the night so I actually got to relax and get a decent nights sleep.

Early the next morning they came to get me to get a blood filter inserted.  Although the ultrasound didn't show any blood clots, to be safe they wanted to insert a mesh umbrella to catch any blood clots that may want to travel.  I was wheeled on a bed down to the procedure room.  It is a very odd feeling to be perfectly capable to walk on your own, but be wheeled around by strangers.  In the procedure room, the doctor told me the numbing would be the worst part and would feel like a bee sting.  He lied!  It felt like an entire nest of wasps converged on one spot!  He then made a cut into my jugular vein and ran the tube containing the filter down into my chest.  It is very disconcerting to feel tugging and pulling going on inside your body, but you don't feel any pain.

Hubby made it and we were taken into pre-op to wait our turn for a theatre.  There are two things you need to know about Hubby.  First, he loves to people watch.  Take him to a mall or an airport and he can be entertained for hours.  Second, he love technology.  Any machine is completely fascinating to him.  He was in his element.  I got to hear about every curtained off area.  He was investigating every machine.  He was simply entertaining.  Then, it was my turn.  Hugs and kisses and I was wheeled into the operating room.

The operating room was nothing like I expected.  There were easily 15 people in there.  It seems yet again my very rare cancer was a draw.  I fell asleep hearing excited whispers about how they would probably never again get an opportunity to see one of these tumors.  It's nice to be so interesting.

I woke up with a lovely device attached.  It seems this spa provided fantastical drugs like morphine.  I loved everyone and everything and felt absolutely no pain.  Hubby was there and life was good!  Again lots of surprise that I came out of anesthesia so well and I was quickly moved to my permanent room.

I was put into a critical care unit.  It's a really large room with four beds and a nurse permanently stationed in it.  Hubby got me situated, made sure my cable was turned on, I had magazines, lotion etc. and then it was time for him to leave.  It was a very hard good-bye.  I wouldn't be seeing him again until it was time for me to be discharged.   Even the morphine couldn't make that okay.

I had two neighbors Mary and Diane.  Mary had been fighting colon cancer for years and finally had a huge section of her colon removed.  Diane had pancreatic cancer and had to have a shunt put in to help fight a secondary infection.  They were both mother's with kids my age and we spent the next week getting to know one another quite well.  We were all from the burbs and it was difficult for our families to get in to see us.  The second day in, the came and took my morphine machine away.  Infidels! Percocet and I became good friend again.

I had a cheer leading team  in Mary and Diane.  Every time I got up to walk around the corridor, they were rooting me on and reminding me I was getting one step closer to going home.  The outfit was amazing.  The white tights, the blue and white dress and robe, the fancy blue IV pole.  It was all very color coordinated.  We talked about life, our cancers, being a Mom, celebrities, baking.  I remember a very poignant conversation with Diane about how the doctors said she wasn't going to make it, but she just didn't feel like it was her time to go yet.

I had a particular doctor that we all waited for every day.  He was English and quite easy on the eyes.  He wore tweed jackets, sweater vests and glasses.  But, he pulled it off well.  He was my real life Daniel Jackson topped with an English accent!  His mannerisms didn't quite match what you would expect with the accent and the clothes.  He would tell me all the medical things I needed to know, then he would open the curtain, lay across the foot of my bed and chat with us three ladies for awhile.  It was the highlight of our days.

It was that week I learned the power of touch.  A week of no hugs or kisses or hand holding.  No snuggling on the couch.  It was a week devoid of touch.  I talked to my family, Hubby and the Boy on a daily basis.  But, I felt so very, very alone.  It was the loneliest week of my life.

Slowly the IVs were removed and I was finally given the okay to go home.  I thought about getting Mary and Diane's contact info.  In the end, I decided I would prefer to make up my own happy endings for them.  I was so very excited to finally see Hubby again!  He made it in and we started the trek home.  Let me tell you, you feel each and every pot hole when you have an incision from your belly button to your pubic bone!  It was the most painful ride I have ever taken!  Poor Hubby was completely white knuckled the entire drive home.

Once Hubby got me settled at home, he went to pick up the Boy.  Although every hug hurt, I couldn't get enough.  I was finally home in more ways than one.

to be continued on "The" Post Part V - The Aftermath

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