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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cancer, Get Thee Behind Me...

So when I last left you I had blogged about my mom coming to me in a dream sparking my not canceling a gynecological appointment...this is the post: "Listen To Your Dead Relatives."

Since that post things have been a whirlwind to say the least. I saw the gynecological oncologist the first week of September. From there I underwent pre-testing for surgery to take place on October 13th. I was very nervous about the pre-testing as I had never had an ekg or chest x-ray taken before. I worried that they would see something that would halt the procedure from taking place. Since I did not receive any phone calls and did get the results sent to MyChart, I felt there was nothing serious going on. Even my blood work looked good, and my A1C was only 5.8! The only real problem was degenerative discs in my spine, which would not stop the operation. Upon googling I realize that maybe that's why my legs go numb and I have lower back pain. Certainly something to look into down the road, but for now, one medical malady at a time please.

Upon check-in I was brought back to pre-op where I waited and waited and waited. I was the second surgery scheduled and the first was not as quick as they thought it would be. That was okay with me. Take your time. Help the case before me. Rest. Have lunch. Relax. Then start on me. Of course I was starving because you cannot eat from the night before, so my stomach kept growling.

No food did not stop my system from working and after I went to the bathroom using the single ply cheap toilet paper I didn't feel "clean" enough for surgery. I remembered there was a wipey container on the sink outside the bathroom so I asked my husband to get it for me. The top was already opened but there were no wipes sticking through it so I asked him to unscrew it so I could retrieve some from the bottom of the container. He did. They were soaking wet so I squished a couple and then proceeded to use them. Holy mother of God! I about hit the ceiling. They started burning my butt. My daughter came to see what I was yelling about and I told her those freaking wipes are burning the shit out of me. She grabbed the container and said, please tell me you did not use these on your body. Uh, yeah, I did. She started yelling at me that they were not body wipes but industrial strength hospital surface wipes.

I start screaming to get me a rag and wet it down. My husband had a shop one in his pocket so I saturated it and tried wiping myself while hooked up to IV. It was quite the scene. My daughter is husband is frantic...I'm burning. The girl starts reading the container whose wipes kills pretty much everything. Worried that I really screwed up I'm yelling at my husband for not reading it. Poor thing looked distraught! The nurse comes in and I tell her what I did. She looks at me like I'm crazy, and says, "You Brooklyn folks really are tough!" I'm sure the operating room staff had quite the chuckle over my burning bottom.

It wasn't much longer until I was wheeled back in to the operating room. They were using the DaVinci surgical system and I really wished they hadn't told me how I would be practically upside down while they operated. I get dizzy if my head is not elevated with three pillows! We still did not know if I had cancer or not so the plan was to have a radical hysterectomy and check to see if cancer was present while I was still under. What would happen next would be up to the oncologist and team. As I was wheeled down the hall I prayed to Mary and Padre Pio for their assistance.

Next thing I knew I was being woken up with six hours lost. They said the operation was a success, and I did indeed have uterine cancer. They also had to remove my appendix which was not part of the original plan. The surgeon did not remove any of the lymph nodes as he felt the criteria was such that I was in more danger if he had at that time. He felt the cancer was contained within my uterus based on a number of factors including the pathology report during surgery which he said has a very high accuracy rate. They still send everything out to be checked further so there is still a chance I may have to undergo more surgery but as of right now, no. I will know more at my follow-up appointment next week.

They wanted to keep me overnight in the hospital and possibly for another day. The bed I was in moved constantly and I felt like I was on a canoe on a rolling river. It made me sick. I begged them to stop it but they said they couldn't and that it was to prevent bed sores. I told them I plan to only be here overnight so that's not a worry. Nope, there was no off button. WTF? I understood the leg things blowing up constantly to prevent blood clots but this rolling rock bed was just too much. I literally did not get one minute of sleep and I knew if I stayed there more than a day I would get sick because my immunity would be compromised from lack of sleep. I begged them to let me go home.

Once they took the catheter out I had six hours to urinate on my own or I would have to undergo some sort of bladder procedure. Within two hours I was out of that bed and into that bathroom. I begged them for food and this midnight ice cream treat was the best tasting ice cream I've ever had!

I asked the overnight nurses to walk me around but they said it was too soon. I told them there was no way I could sleep in that bed so at least let me sit in the chair, which I did. And let me just say one thing that did annoy me a wee bit...the support staff asking me constantly where I was from. I've been living in Roanoke 21 years, so I'm from here now, but yes, I was born in Brooklyn. Hearing that they were constantly talking about it is not amusing, even if one of them tried to convince the others I was from Floyd County. Yeah, that's hysterical.

By the time the first doctor came around at 7:00am the next morning I told her I was ready to go home. She said I had to walk first and I was like, damn, I'll run if I have to! So they walked me around the ward, and agreed to let me go home. It was too depressing to be in the cancer and palliative ward. My heart ached for those patients and family members holding vigils. After every room I passed I asked Padre Pio to provide comfort for them. I actually had to wait for my husband to bring me clothes or I would have been out of there even earlier than 11:00am.

Today is the fifth day after surgery. I still do not feel like myself. I feel dizzy, disoriented, and slightly nauseous. I finally slept four straight hours last night. The only pain medicine I've been on is two Tylenols every six hours. I am unable to drive in a car for two weeks because of the blood thinning meds. I am walking around the house as much as I can. The hardest thing has been keeping Bella away and from jumping on me. She is a smart dog so she remembers what "Boo-Boo" means. We used it when my daughter had her surgery and had to be away from her. And after the first night of me saying, "Mommy has boo-boo" she is leaving me alone and letting me sleep in the spare room without banging on the door all night and crying for Mommy.

No, I'm not myself yet, but I am alive! I am thankful to be alive! I am thankful for my family...for my mother coming to me in a dream...for my gynecologist who recommended my tests...for my oncologist and surgical team...for Padre Pio and Mother Mary, and I am thankful my intuition once again led me down the road I needed to go. Don't know if I'm totally out of the woods yet, but it could have been so much worse. These past couple of months really made me realize what's important in life, and that is, life itself.

Hey, cancer, get thee behind're not getting me yet...I'm from Brooklyn...I'm a fighter, so fuck off.


  1. All just horrible except the fact that you are now healing and soon we can go hunt a ghostie!!Warm hug!!!

    1. Thanks Connie! Sorry I'm going to be missing some spooky stuff but hope to be healed by Thanksgiving'

  2. Were they able to keep from having to do a wide open cut of your belly? You sound like you are doing very well if you're up and about 5 days post op. I am very glad that you caught this so early and the prognosis is so promising. Great news indeed. I am sorry you had to go through this, though. Sending you a hug, you ol' tough Brooklyn gal, you!

    1. Thankfully no huge slice...only five entry points...bandages already off but surgi strips in place. Glad I don't have to shoot myself with needles for blood thinners.,.taking pills instead.