preparing for surgery

There are a million different ways to prepare for surgery. One way is to not prepare.

Another way is to distract oneself with movies and friends until the day of, and that day is easy because you just wake up really early in the morning, go to the hospital, check in, wait for awhile, and then suddenly a million nurses and doctors are poking you and prodding you and getting you to sign forms and ripping jewelry out of your ear, and then they give you something to make you comfortable, and then you hug your parents, and then you wake up and it’s finished. At least, that’s how it went last time.

I need to actually prepare. Physically and mentally and emotionally and logistically. For both the surgery part and the recovery part. When I tell people that i’m busy preparing for surgery I wonder if they think this is just code for “I’m busy doing nothing.” Maybe it is. I’m 27 and I just graduated from graduate school and I should be looking for a job. But I can’t because when they call me for an interview i’ll be in the hospital. On morphine. Last time I was on morphine I had whole conversations with people in my head. That does not sound like a good way to get a job. My job right now is preparing for surgery. And after that, my job will be recovering from surgery. And after that, we’ll see.

If I don’t prepare, I imagine that my parents and the surgeon and the surgeon’s nurses whose names all start with the letter “K” and my oncologist will all have to drag me kicking and screaming into the operating room. It sounds like a movie. But that is how scary this feels. Everyone does keep saying this surgery is my choice. So maybe in the non-movie version of me not preparing for surgery, they might not drag me kicking and screaming, they might just say, “So you don’t want the surgery?”

Who wants surgery? I didn’t really get any other good treatment options, so I guess, in theory, I do. It’s scheduled. It’s happening.

So I prepare. I read books. I write down positive things I want to remember like, “This can get rid of SO MANY tumors!!” I make lists of people I need to email and call and things I need to do before the big day. I talk to my therapist. I try to remember the positive things I want to remember when negative things come into my head. I meditate. I listen to guided meditations about facing fears and being confident. I distract myself sometimes. I sleep. I hike. I rest. I try to gain weight. I try to only do things that I want to do and I try to only hang out with people that I want to hang out with.

I’m having a little trouble getting in the zone. I’m 27 and I just graduated from graduate school and I should be looking for a job. Not preparing to be out of commission for one to two months. Last time I didn’t know how long recovery would be–I thought i’d be able to return to school 14 days after surgery. I was barely out of the hospital 14 days after surgery.

This is why I’m preparing. My goal is to be able to deliver myself calmly to hospital admissions on the day of the surgery. And, get myself calmly through all my days leading up to surgery. If I am calm enough, I might get out of the hospital sooner and recover quicker because of it. They say things like this happen.

It might not sound like it, but I think the preparing i’ve done so far is working. I’m feeling a little better, a little calmer, a little more confident everyday. Maybe i’ll even be happy and calm when I wake up on the day of the surgery. This surgery is scary, yes. But it also has the potential to be really good for me. Not quite curative, but at least closer.

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14 Responses to preparing for surgery

  1. aaronls says:

    Sorry that you and your family are having to face this again. Good luck, I know it is probably harder than the first time when you had at least a little bit of ignorant bliss to make it easier to face.

  2. jennifer Anderson says:

    I wish you a very speedy recovery from your operation. Jen in the uk xxx

  3. Matt says:

    We will be praying for you, Lindsey!


  4. Heather says:

    Oh, Lindsey, we’ll be thinking of you. It is so hard to cope with the uncertainties, isn’t it? Living with this sword over our heads is a pain all its own. When is the actual date of surgery? You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  5. clevegilbert says:

    Best wishes and good luck. I’m a PNET also. Been there. Done that. Got the t shirt. Its difficult but you appear to be a strong person and will come out of thus just fine.

  6. Lindsey, you know I will be praying for you. I have alerted all my rabbis to say very special prayers for my beautiful granddaughter. You are strong and just keep that positive attitude.
    I loveyou very much. Grandma

  7. Paul Glowiak says:

    Good luck with your surgery, and I pray that it goes well and has a great outcome. I’m be praying for you, Lindsey.

  8. Michael says:

    Good luck Lindsey! I’ll send good thoughts your way.

  9. As a fellow liver with PNETs, I empathize with your fears and hopes. I’m not getting surgery, but endure bi-weekly chemotherapy. Wishing you the best in your surgery and in all that follows.

  10. Hi Lindsey,

    I just wanted to wish you the best with your upcoming surgery. I know how stressful prepping for surgery can be. I’ve been there twice in relation to my own neuroendocrine cancer (left lung).

    Like you, I still have cancer and although my tumor is not making any moves quite yet, I live with it daily. I’m glad to have found your blog (via the NET Cancer Day facebook post). I was diagnosed in 2009 when I was 27, so I can relate to a lot of what you write. Your positive outlook is inspiring.

    Again, I hope your surgery goes well and that you have a speedy and comfortable recovery.

    All the best,
    I blog a bit about my own cancer and life stuff at:

  11. sander been says:

    Hi Lindsey, I found your blog via the facebook page (Net cancer day) as a fellow PNET with ” liver chalenges” I can imagine your thoughts… In my situation surgery is not an option any more.. I got 6 times PTTR and now taking for almost 24 months Afintor (everolimus). The side effects are anoying but… they work!!! 20 months Status quo so you will not hear any complains from this guy. Wishing you all the best!, and I will follow you by Twitter and your blog. I’m a blogger myself although… It’s in Dutch… greetings from The Netherlands, (Europe) Sander Been

  12. Pat says:

    Hmmm, I have kept it very basic in preparing for surgery. I just take a shower. I don’t wear much to the hospital and don’t even pack a bag. It works for me.

  13. Stephen Haney says:

    Sending positive thoughts and well wishes your way. I don’t know you but I check your blog every couple of weeks to see how you are doing. I hope your surgery is a success and you make a speedy recovery. I really hope you feel better soon. Take care.

    Stephen Haney

  14. Anna Goodwin says:

    Lindsey, my daughter had PNETs. They decided, without my approval, not to have 1st surgery or 2nd surgery. My daughter was 38 with a young son. You are doing the right thing, I had asked her husband to ask the doctor to do the same surgery on Christina and I was told it couldn’t be done. This will save your life, I truly believe that, and wished that Christina had had the surgeries. The best of luck to you and I know that you will be fine after surgery. Christina is watching over you.

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