Friday, February 21, 2014

All the Lady Bits

an actual variety of apples. this has nothing to do with anything but I had to share it with all of you.

Back from my actual post-op appointment with the surgeon.  Here is the (somewhat) complete report:
1. All cysts, polyps, and endometriosis have been cleared from the reproductive system. "You really needed that." - the doctor
2. All parts removed and sent for testing returned negative for anything harmful.  Benign is the word of the week.
3. The surgeon was so proud of her handiwork, she told me I should wear only bikinis from now on. (I will tuck this into my back pocket and continue to wear the high neck suits that cover my field of radiation as well as those "tiger" stretch marks - thanks, Judah.)
4. She still thinks I am an old lady at age 36. No time to waste!!

Good news, yes. I am mostly feeling groovy about it. Of course being not dead and being told you are not in danger of being dead in the near future are both truly wonderful. Anyone who's had a near death experience appreciates being not dead in a way that perhaps others do not. But it's hard to keep a positive frame of mind about fertility when we've been at this for 5 years. Whatever small shred of optimism left the building months/years ago. You can call what's leftover pessimism if you want, but I choose realism.

I will say, with certainty, that there is one thing that helps keep the grooviness going. Knowing that people are rooting for you - whatever the goal may be - makes it easier to endure the potholes, detours, giant speed bumps, sharp turns, and wrong turns along the way. This is an extended thank you to all in the FB world who chime in and click LIKE for good news. I know some people prefer to handle their private lives, well, privately. I was never a private person, so that was not really an option. But I think it's always helped me to feel like part of a community.

I am a member of a few closed FB support groups, that have been the main reason I stick with it when I'm feeling sorry for myself. A few months ago, I read a little story by Anne Lamott (she posted it as a status update) and the moral of the piece was this:

If you want to have loving feelings, do loving things. 

For some reason, it stuck.  I don't always/often get a chance to practice that, and sometimes/usually the negativity wins out and I recite my s*#t list to my mom a la telephone. But the support groups are a way to send the love out.  And I notice that it often/usually comes back.

With gratitude for being on my groovy team.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Post Op

last week's loveliness

Ice Storm? Check.
Power outage? Check.
superstorm superhero ICE CUBE

meet: our makeshift fridge
Power/heat restoration? Check.
Surgery?  Check.
Phone/wifi/cable restoration? Check.
Snow day tomorrow? Check.

Basically the only thing not happening around these parts is work.  But who needs money anyway? We are now in day 2 of recovering from the surgery we had been planning for a few weeks.

one fine hairnet
Though it took an extra hour to complete, the procedure was successful and the surgeon reports that my insides are now squeaky clean. Sore, but clean. And though I do have experience with anesthesia in the past (see surgical biopsy), my reaction has not been too dramatic. This week, however, presented some fresh fun post-op.  I woke quite groggy, nauseous, and dizzy. Typically this starts to subside in an hour or so, but not the case for me.  I was unable to get up for a few hours, and even then it was a bit tricky.  They decided to keep me overnight at the hospital (though it was supposed to be outpatient), and got me a bed - lickety split - by 2 am. Then, my blood pressure dropped, everyone came to my room, they ordered me some extra fluids and labs, yadda yadda. Never a dull moment.

Now, I have come a long way from assuming my death was imminent (see cancer diagnosis 2010) and I am usually not feeling terrified on a regular basis. Anymore. But this was like a throwback to 3 years ago and I was worried. Do you ever find it hard to tell the difference between fear and instinct? I frequently cannot differentiate between the two and they dress up as the same feeling. Luckily, I allowed the doctors and my family members to lead the way and I pushed off the fears I was having about this surgery.  I went through with it, as recommended by all parties, and I am now gratefully on the other side.

What did I learn from this week?
#1. That maybe my fear/instinct isn't always 100% in predicting the future.  I was watching Defending Your Life last night (yes we own it - for emergencies like when the cable is out) and caught this super resonant quote:

"Fear is like a giant fog, it sits on your brain and blocks everything: real feelings, true happiness, real joy.  They can't get through that fog. But you lift it, and buddy, you're in for the ride of your life."

#2. I also learned that my body is not made of the same stuff as it was before treatment.  I am not one of those people who goes on to run marathons and become a champion athlete after surviving cancer.  I am alive and that is the marathon I'm running.  As long as I can stay away from anesthesia and hospitals in general, I think I'll be ok.

#3. Finally, I learned that everything that was removed from my insides is now hanging at some pathology lab in New Jersey, percolating in a petri dish and hopefully turning into absolutely nothing remarkable. More waiting for those answers.

I have 4 new scars to add to my permanent collection, but they are small, I think. Still haven't removed the bandages. Shoulder/back/neck pain is intense, but that's why they made prescription drugs. My guys are now at home for the next 24 hours due to yet another much needed snow day. Can you hear the sarcasm dripping from my voice? No lie, I am glad they're both here to keep me company. Plus the cable's back. So as long as we've got power, we're in business.

Winter is Coming