Imagine everything you know in your life grinding to a halt. Cancer. We don’t actually know, but all the signs point to that, and because it’s taken this long to find out, it’s likely to be stage four. They still don’t know where the actual cancer is coming from or what is causing all the nodules on the lungs, liver, and kidneys, but dad has a scan yesterday and should know tomorrow, probably when he’s on the road to my cousin Charlotte’s wedding in MA. I feel incredibly lost right now. My dad has always been a calming and wise presence in my life. And now there’s a possibility he might not be here for more than five years. Every moment is precious, even as it always was, but even moreso now. I wish I could be home to hug my dad, to help him when he’s uncomfortable, or just to sit and hold his hand. Trying to love from afar, and let him know every day that I love him.
It’s easy to get lonely after having surgery and being laid up for weeks on end. Normally I have a lot of people to talk to and occupy my brain space. My mom and dad have done a great job keeping me company, but I miss my friends and my coworkers. I miss walking around and talking to people. I miss having quiet time for the sake of getting away from the noise, not just because that’s all that’s available. Everyone’s lives have gone on without me, mine just standing still.
So I’m laying here on my bed, after going to Target with mom, and I am EXHAUSTED. I have successfully tired myself out by doing approximately a tenth of the physical activity I normally do during a day. I am also incredibly constipated, I know, TMI. But seriously, I may have set a record… haven’t pooped in a week. Normally 5 hours is a long time for me to go between poops, but 7 days, that’s pushing it. I’m getting to the point where eating or drinking feels like stuffing one last container of leftovers in the fridge after thanksgiving: it may pop at any moment. In my case, I’m hoping it pops out the bottom, not the top or (in this rare case) out my back. I drank a jar of Magnesium Citrate to help things along. Tasted like a Sprite that’s been out in the sun since 1997.
So, thoughts on being one week out from surgery.
- I am significantly less hopeless than I felt before having surgery. Now that my back’s been cut open, sucked out, and plate-and-screwed together, I’m feeling much more hopeful that I’ll have a regular life. Yes, I am still having problems after the surgery but mostly it feels like muscle pain from the slice. Yes, I’m having to ask for help doing most things right now, but I’m not having desperate thoughts about never leading a semi normal adult life. Whatever normal is…
- Surgery was painful AF. I won’t sugar coat anything. I woke up from surgery thinking I had died, or was about to die. My BP and pulse were very low the entire time I was in the hospital, I woke up with a bloody throat from being intubated, and by back hurt so bad I couldn’t move, even if I had wanted to. This was not fun. It was not a vacation. Would still recommend.
- Day 1 after surgery was the WORST DAY EVER. I was in more pain than I thought possible, and they wanted me to WALK AROUND. I felt like they were asking me to run a marathon at that point. Turning onto my side in bed was incredibly painful. Standing up, sitting down, walking, standing, laying down, etc. it all hurt. All of it. And they had taken away my morphine pump. Those bitches. I liked that pump.
- Generally, I had the most wonderful nursing staff I could have asked for. Danny was my day nurse, and Brandi was my night nurse. They listened to me, were gentle when I needed someone to be gentle, and pushed me when I needed to push. I plan on taking them both a thank you card and a gift card when I go back for my 2 week out appointment.
That’s all I can think of for now. I’m incredibly grateful for my family and friends who have gathered around me and helped me get well. Everything from helping me sit down on the toilet to helping me roll over in bed to holding my hand or me when I got dizzy. I’m a lucky gal to have such a great family. 👫
Tomorrow is surgery day. It’s been a whole runaround getting things approved, but that’s ok, it’s go time now. Trying not to get too anxious, and watching the Hobbit with my dad now.
“I won’t have anything to offer you, I won’t be able to do anything by myself.”
“You don’t have to have anything to offer me. I’m taking care of you because I love you. You’re my future.”