Once again, I find myself on the other side of the looking glass. We do not have a clear view of the future yet but things look better than they did a few days ago.
Building up to my surgery, that was to remove the mass in my pelvis that I lovingly named Cameron, many thoughts and emotions were swirling around our home. There were fears, uncertainty, PTSD from my surgery in 2018, exhaustion at the idea of another tough road, but I am pleased to report that on the other side of surgery and are relieved of much of that weight.
Going into this surgery there was an uncertainty of what to do about my post surgical epidural that did not work in 2018 that led to a full ten days on dilauded for pain medication which is a big gun narcotic. It left me disoriented, without memory, bad dreams and some hallicuniations. I loved it and hated it all at the same time. It was a difficult post surgical managment for my support team also. This time though the chief of anesthesia was in the surgery and solved the big question of why it didn’t work last time – I have an extra membrane they needed to break through to reach my epidural space. I am pleased to say the epidural was a huge success and my recovery dramatically different from 2018. This was HUGE. Also not coming out of surgery with an ostpomy bag makes a world of difference in the immediate healing.
This surgery was also different in that it was planned. Unplanned but planned. I had time to sit with my mass and contemplate what it might be. It kept growing over the three weeks I had from discovery to surgery and I felt it grow. That was an unnerving sensation. It was similar to being pregnancy but pregnancy with what? I had thoughts of it wrapping around my spine or doing many other crazy acrobatics in my abdomen. I can be sure once surgery time came I was ready for it to be gone but I was scared. It is surgery and anything could happen. It brought an accuteness again to all I saw, heard and experienced.
The night before surgery I had to walk upstairs to get something from the kids rooms and I had a distinct thought of “what if this is the last time I can climb these steps?” A dramatic thougtht I will admit but when you have an unknown mass growing in your body the idea of losing mobility might cross your mind. Or the worry of another ostomy bag. Or major deformation. Or…or…or… Or the worst happening – leaving your wife and children without a wife and mother. These were all very real possibilities in my head. I am asking the universe what it wants me to pay attention to in these times? How can I walk better through this life of undetermined duration? If my cage is to be rattled again I better come out of it with more wisdom than I had before. In other words what are the gifts the universe has to offer me?
At its discovery on December 12th it was 4-5 inches and at “delivery” on January 10th, my mass named Cameron was 10 inches. That is impressive if I do say so myself. Not to toot my own horn but “toot toot”. We also found out that it was my left ovary that moved over to the right side to grow hence making a tangled mess for the surgeon to clean up. They did go along the old incision and about two inches higher than last time – 12 inch scar up my abdomen but much cleaner this time. I ended up with a full hysterectomy. Hello menopause.
A lovely silver lining to it all is that my surgon had to remove my old scar tissue because it was too tough to cut through. She also fixed my hernias that were left from before. So if anything my body feels more like my body again being repaired form my 2018 surgery. So thankful for the kindness of this surgon in cleaning me up a bit. I don’t know if she had in mind that I am a very much alive, moderately vain, vibrant middle age woman who appreciates an intact abdomen. As an extra bonus she gave me a belly button back – that may warrant a thank you gift. Before this most recent surgery I was all too aware of feeling like a bumpy cake smuggler under my shirts with bulges and gaps where there should have been none. I did not even know how to exercise in a safe way to feel good in that body. It was a thing I was not proud of grappling with but it just was. With all of this I must say I am a bit thankful for Cameron because some very nice gifts came from his removal. I would love to say I am not vain but that would be a lie. I want to feel good in my body. I want to feel like I can workout and keep my body fit. I want to feel sexy for my wife and for myself. I wanted to love my body but I was having a tough time and it had its effects on me.
We are waiting from pathology to hear what it is and what the steps moving forward are. Chemo is on the table as a path that I may need to walk again. When asked how I feel about it the only honest answer I can give is – it is just another collection of experiences and it is up to us what we do with them. With my wife and support of friends and family we can get through whatever comes. If you see my wife and kids out and about please do not come to them with saddness or concern but with curiosity, and a smile. They need not have the cloud of concern follow them everywhere, nor do I for that matter. We have much going on outside of my health – of which my health is vibrant regardless of what the tests say or the treatments I shall part take in. It is all just a collection of experiences and it is up to us what we do with them.