The Surgery: Part I

OK, I’m going to try to catch everyone up with a series of short posts. Sorry I didn’t do this sooner, but I’ve been spending my days watching movies and dozing through an oxycodone haze, which isn’t really conducive to writing. Oh, and I was bounced back to the hospital for a week after I was discharged from surgery. Apparently I just couldn’t get enough of the hospital.

The surgery itself went well. I didn’t sleep at all the night before because I was pretty keyed up and worried that I’d sleep through my 5 a.m. alarm. I got to the hospital and went to the surgical check-in room which was already completely filled at 5:45 a.m. Everyone seemed a bit surprised that I was there by myself, but really, there was no way I was going to make anyone hang out with me that early in the morning.

I started out with a problem that was going to become extremely common as the weeks went by — the nurse couldn’t find a vein to start the IV. My veins are small and shy and no good when it comes to being punctured. I think this might have been the nurse who commented on the fact that I have baby hands which made finding a vein even more difficult since “there isn’t any surface area” to work with. Whatever. She left the IV for the anesthesiologist who froze my hand and got an IV started in one try.

I spent a brief time under a paper blanket attached to some giant duct-like tubing that piped hot air into the blanket to warm me up. That was pretty great. Then I was wheeled to wait in the hallway outside my surgery room where I talked to a bunch of medical students and the aforementioned anesthesiologist started an IV. I remember walking into the surgical suite, getting hooked up to stuff and joking around with everyone in the room, then nothing. Then waking up with a great amount of pain.

I spent four hours in the recovery room because I was so heavily medicated that I kept falling asleep, and every time I fell asleep, I forgot to breathe more than six or eight times a minute. Not enough to fully oxygenate my blood. I finally got a handle on not falling asleep so often and cried til they sent me to my ward room. They wouldn’t let anyone come see me in the recovery room and I wanted to see someone. Just before I left, my surgeon came to see me and told me they removed everything they could see, including a piece of my sigmoid colon. They sewed the two ends together (no poop bag for me!) and declared the whole thing a success.

But all successes are qualified, etc. etc. There were spots seen on the CT scan that they couldn’t find during surgery which could mean that a) the spots on the CT scan weren’t tumors or b) the spots were so small and localized they were missed during surgery. Either is possible. The tumors that were being removed from the basin of my pelvis were tiny — about 4 mm each — but there were a lot of them so they were easy to see. A single 4 mm tumor behind my spleen might not be so visible.

That’s where I’ll leave you for today. I’ll write more about the actual hospital stay(s) later and about how I’m feeling about all this. Hint: I’m not completely thrilled with the experience, but I don’t regret it either. It’s a messy, in-betweeny kind of feeling that I’m feeling right now. I’m sure Sesame Street has a skit and song that would explain it better than I can, but I’m too lazy to spend time finding something on the YouTube.

Happy holidays, everyone.


About Alicia Louise

I'm a writer, editor, fact checker, storyteller, events organizer, chronically busy yet endlessly lazy, mildly neurotic (though I keep the neuroses well-hidden, one hopes) 32-year-old with recurrent ovarian cancer. I like people and good writing and straight talk. I have a hard time feeling sorry for people, including myself, but the people that I love, I love passionately; one may even say creepily. I try to keep that mostly to myself. I'd like to be charming, but I'm usually just a mess. I'm like a gull slamming into your windshield.
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One Response to The Surgery: Part I

  1. Elaine Hodder says:

    hello Alicia -keep smiling girl -there is a end to the tunnel -remember we are fighters -Love you –Elaine

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