I went into writing this post thinking it should sound victorious. Or relieved. Or at least somewhat positive. I’m alive! I feel like writing again! Both of these things are true. But i’m now 10 days post surgery and i’m not feeling victorious, relieved, or very positive. I am tired. I am discouraged. And I wonder constantly whether I made the right decision, allowing myself to be cut open.
Maybe this is natural considering the post-surgery discomfort I am now experiencing. Well, more than discomfort–I would call it shock–to every system in my body. I remember feeling crappy and being discouraged last time, but I never remember asking myself whether I had made the right decision. Still, I hurt. My scar is raw-feeling and looks like something out of a horror movie. The hole where my drain used to be is dripping. I can’t move like I could 11 days ago. Walking is laborious. I get winded easily. Everything is swollen. Sitting is uncomfortable. Sleeping is uncomfortable. Getting up is hard. My brain is cloudy from the pain meds (apologies if I don’t make sense). My body feels exhausted.
My family says yes, I made the right decision. They saw the surgeon’s iPhone pictures of all the tumors he managed to take out. All I saw was an oxygen mask and a nose tube and a million wires and tubes connected to me the first few days after my surgery. All I felt was shock and pain.
It wasn’t an easy surgery. I’m young and otherwise healthy but my tumors apparently tried to rebel against the attack, making the whole ordeal very difficult on my body. They gave me more units of blood than I thought was possible to give. I spent three days in the ICU. I gained 20 pounds in fluid and all my limbs, not to mention everything else about me, looks like it belongs to someone twice my size. My surgeon had to use staples to close my incision in an effort to end the surgery quickly and stabilize my condition. I had three IVs in my arms, one in my neck, and another one in my wrist. I don’t really want to know what else went on in the OR.
So you can see. The first things I remember croaking post-surgery, beyond “yes” I can hear you and “i’m hot” because I was running a high temperature and “my mouth is dry,” was: “Was this a good idea?” Quickly followed by, “I’m never having surgery again.”
I may never know whether it was a good idea. I may be more thankful in a month or so after I have another scan. I’m at least thankful that I made it through and that it wasn’t worse, and that the surgeon actually did take out quite a few tumors by the sound of it. That must have some benefit. I’m thankful for the amazing support I have from family and friends, without which I know this would be much, much harder. I know my discomfort–the shock–is temporary. I just have to get through one day at a time. Today I took two long walks and napped in a real bed. Maybe tomorrow i’ll take longer walks, dress in something other than my baggiest, most horrible pajamas, and take less pain meds.
Maybe there’s no use in dwelling on my three terrible days in the ICU. Or on what happened and could have happened while I was on the operating table. I’m alive. I’m 25 tumors lighter. Everything seems to work the way it is supposed to. The crisis, I think, has passed for now.