Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Dream

 It has been difficult to write about my experiences over the last month.  The run up to the surgery was very stressful not knowing how my leg would be injured in an effort to save my life and remove the tumor.  The post surgery hospital stay was full of  emotional low points.  When I should have been ecstatic I was deeply distraught.  The emotional and physical stress of the surgery and anasthesia stripped me of any defenses I had and laid me bare and vulnerable.  I cried a lot.  

I was a bit like an addict hitting bottom.  In terms of spiritual growth it was perhaps a good thing.  I would rather not have that kind of "enlightenment at gunpoint".   I am will be absorbing the lessons for a long time.  I do feel a much deeper sense of compassion towards myself and others.  There are many other feelings yet to be sorted. 

Then I awoke in the recovery room as if time had stopped.  June 30, 2010.   where was I?  What had happened?  Denise came in showing me a picture of what she later described looked like a lamb roast.  These were the pictures the surgeon had taken.  She was smiling and excited.   "This is what came out of you", She showed me a picture of a watermelon sized object but I was in such a haze I couldn't really register it.

Denise gave me a kiss and explained to me in my stupor that the surgery was successful.  She told me they got the tumor with clean margins.  It weighed about 15lbs. according to the surgeon.,  and that my nerves and blood vessels were not damaged.   I think I cried.  If I didn't then I certainly did over the next few days.  I didn't realize how emotionally shattering the whole experience had been.  But I couldn't keep the same level of denial that I had used to maintain before the surgery. 

The next thing I recall was the hospital room. I am pressing the button for the morphine pump.  1 beep meant I got some.  2 beeps meant I was pressing the button more frequently than 8 minutes and I didn't get any.   It was all hazy.

Over the next few days I would learn to move from the bed to a chair next to the bed.  Then I started using a walker and eventually crutches.  One morning I got a call from my Oncology nurse, Suzan.  she sounded very excited.  She explained to me that the tumor was 99% dead on the pathology report with clean margins.  This was as good an outcome I could have had.   I happily called my family to break the news.  Later that day the oncology nurse came to my room to bring me the pathology report.  "I am done with my cancer treatment right?"  I asked expecting agreement. 
"Well not exactly" she explained.  "Since you responded so well to the chemo.  Dr. Forscher is going to recommend three more rounds."  My heart sank.  Apparently it was not yet time to leave behind cancer patient consciousness just yet.  The hardest part was over.  My leg was intact I am cancer free and am aiming for a good recovery.

After 7 days I was discharged deemed to healthy to be moved to the acute rehab. unit.