The last time that I wrote on my blog was right after my first surgery and I was not looking forward to the second one down at good old Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City! Facing the unknown is always a scary prospect. I must say I didn’t dwell on it, but there were times that it hit me in the face with the force of a brick being thrown at me. I could never really wrap myself around the fact that I had uterine cancer! My relatives and my friends shared with me their cancer horror stories in the past, but now my reality was I too was added to the list of those that would battle this invader of life! Having lost my beloved mother to colon cancer, I was all too familiar with this dreaded disease. And that’s exactly what it is…….an invader! Who asked it to come and reside inside of me anyway? Invited or not; it took up residency and it planned on staying for awhile.
The morning (and I’m talking about the wee hours of the morning) of my dreaded surgery, was dark, dreary and raining heavily. I said goodbye to my three dogs and told them to be good and I’d see them in a couple of days. My youngest brother Jack who had been taking me back and forth for my Sloan Kettering appointments was once again at the wheel of the car as we hydro-planed our way down to Manhattan. If I was nervous about the operation, riding in this temperamental weather ran a close second to my already stressed nervous system that morning! Thank God my brother is a good driver and knows his way around the city because if I had to depend on “yours truly,” I’d still be looking for the hospital!
Arriving at the hospital and walking down those long, cold corridors that would lead me to “who knows what” is like playing an old black and white news reel that spins in my head. I know I was there, but it’s like someone else was pushing my reluctant body along. I didn’t want to be there, but I knew I had to be! Filling out more papers, signing in at the desk, small obligatory chatter exchanged between me and the receptionist and all of those nurses. My, my, there were so many nurses! I met so many people before the actual operation and now their faces are but a blur in the memory bank of my brain.
I’m told, take off this and put on that. I remove my gold cross and hand it to the man that takes my “valuables” down to security. I’m given a cap to put on over my head and a robe with the opening in the back. I can’t ask my brother to tie the little strings that holds the gown in place so I struggle to make myself “decent” before I pull open the drapes. My brother, who has probably one of the funniest senses of humor that I know, decides that I’m looking more like a scrub nurse than a patient and snaps a very unflattering picture of me on his I-Phone. He threatens to expose me on Facebook but feeling sorry for me shares it instead with my other brother and my best friend. Let me tell you, looking unfashionably yucky is the last worry on my mind. I have every needle pricking me, x-ray of my chest taken, and the anesthesiologist reassuring me as I tell her once again that I almost died from anesthesia one time. Oh let’s not forget about the little old lady in her 80’s that came around my bed and said prayers over my unattractive looking self. What did she say her name was? Sister Hillary? Oh well it was “Sister” something or other. She was a gentle soul and was sweet and kind and momentarily made me forget while I was talking to her in the first place. Wasn’t she there to say a prayer that I make it through the operation alright and if not, may I be taken into the hereafter and hopefully God might find a place for me in Heaven?
Finally after a couple of hours of waiting, my bed is moving along the hallway that will lead me into that sterile, white, cold place called the operating room! My brother walks along side of me and I grab his hand one last time as I turn the corner and he is left behind me. The bottom of the bed hits the double doors and opens into a smaller room than I would have imagined the operating room to be. I was having robotic surgery and I was expecting a larger area for this “robotic doctor” to perform his magic on me! I was asked to get off of the bed that I was on and crawl up on the operating table. More nurses are in here. There’s a man above my head whose face I never really get to see. He’s kind and gentle and keeps on talking to me. I’m nervous and confused as I’m strapped on this gurney that will secure my body for the next four hours. Where’s the doctor I wondered. Then the man above my head was saying, “Barbara, I’m going to put this needle in you now to help you relax. I never did remember relaxing, because I woke up in the recovery room instead.
I’ve got five different needles in me. If that wasn’t bad enough, I am told that they are going to put a sleep apnea mask on my face as I was in the high risk category. Let me tell you, everything up to that point was nothing compared to this horrific thing on my face for an hour and a half. I thought I would just about die with that thing. I felt myself become panicky probably because I felt claustrophobic. And they wouldn’t remove it when I asked them to. They insisted I needed it on. When I was finally released from the “torture” mask, I literally breathed a sigh of relief.
Once in my room, my brother was texting everyone he knew to let them know that I pulled through the operation just fine. But because of the pain that I was feeling, I made many unattractive and goofy looking faces. My brother couldn’t stop laughing at me even when the nurses came into the room to attend to me. I told him that I was happy that he was having a good time for himself laughing at my misery! But all kidding aside, I laugh a lot at myself anyway, so I found myself laughing right along with him until a sharp pain would snap me back to reality!
They gave me dinner that night and most of it I couldn’t eat anyway. My poor brother was exhausted because he hadn’t slept the night before and then driving in that awful weather for two hours and worrying about me knocked him out. Little did I know while I was sleeping, he pulled open this lounge like hard bed and lay down and in minutes was peacefully sleeping. I awoke being serenaded by the deep, robotic sounds of an overly tired brother laying ten feet away from me. “Oh no, I’ll never get back to sleep now” I thought. I didn’t have the heart to wake him………..well not just yet anyway.
So what was a “just operated on” girl suppose to do? I looked over at my bedside table and I saw that my dinner was never removed. So I took a couple of straws and removed the wrapper and threw it at my brother thinking foolishly that something as light as this would make him roll over. Really? What was I thinking? Blame it on the anesthesia that was still cruising around inside of my body. I buzzed the nurses several times for pain meds or some other incidental that I needed and even with them coming back and forth into my room and talking to me, my brother never budged. He just kept on snoring as loud as could be and I just kept on thinking how am I going to get him to stop. Now I ask you was I selfish to think that I needed rest as well? Nope I didn’t think so. So after a few hours of this torture, I called out his name several times and woke him and told him to turn over, stop snoring or go lay in the lounge for a while because my weary body was, just that…….weary. No argument on his end. He just got up and told me he’d see me in a few hours. I guess he must have remembered all those “Hot Wheels” that I bought him when he was a kid! I didn’t know it then, but it must have left a positive influence on him!
Anyway, I’m happy to say that I’ve made it to the other side but not without a few complications here and there. After being home for about two weeks and complaining about this tremendous pain I was having, come to find out I got an infection following the operation. My doctor put me on an antibiotic and thank God, it took care of that. It is now a month and a half since the operation but I’m in pain because I’m not yet healed inside. Some days are better than others. It’s a process and I deal with everything on a daily basis. I’m happy to say that my doctor said that they removed the “invader” and that I do not have to have chemo or radiation! WHOOPIE! I am so very blessed.
I have so many people to thank, but that will be for my next blog writing. For now I thank my doctor and his team of professionals for saving my life. I thank God above everyone else for it was he who held my hand through this whole thing. I could not have made it without my faith! But for this blog I want to thank my brother Jack for he was my hero and I will never forget how he laid in my room at the hospital and how I awoke to his annoying snoring, but the love I felt for him at that moment for being there with me, I shall never forget. Thank you brother!!
My rating: There is life after cancer: (4) Going through life threatening diseases with friendship and love: (4)