Thursday, June 07, 2012

A Groggy But Happy Health Update

Hello everyone!

Monday I had surgery for my benign tumor, and I'm happy to report it was successful. Doubly successful, in fact, as when the doctors got inside they found two benign tumors instead of one! I'm fairly certain that the jabby tumor giving me so much pain is gone. There's still some pain there, but it's different and less, and hopefully a sign of healing.

It was a heck of a day. 7:30am my doctor called to request we get one more pill at the pharmacy before the surgery. Meanwhile Matt, who was driving us to the hospital, woke to find his condo building surrounded by police officers with rifles. He called their dispatch and explained the situation, and they let him pass. Only about ten minutes behind schedule, Matt picked us up and we dashed to the pharmacy for last-minute-special-pill.

Remember when pharmacists were endearing old men with white mustaches, and not snarky Hipsters killing time until their band gets signed?

"How should I take this pill?" I asked the young man in the lab coat.
"I dunno. Just do what you need to do," He replied with the kind of casual shrug you'd rather people handling medicine not use.
I tried again, "I mean, does it need to be taken with food? Or is just water okay? I'm on my way to surgery and I'm fasting--"
He shifted his shrug to the opposite wall. "The sticker should say."
"Good Talk." I heard my friend Tim say in my head, but I just took the white bag with a forced grin and got out of there.

"Did he proceed to tell you that the music industry is bullshit?" Ryan asked as we all piled back into the car. He continued to make fun of Hipster pharmacist as we left Everett.

We got to the hospital, signed in, and settled down in the waiting room. Ryan and Matt began to scan the hallway for "two 80 year old men who look just like them" to convince me it was 2062 when I woke up.

"Or we could have really long beards." Ryan said.
Matt, an avid cosplayer, smiled and said, "I have all the stuff to make beards in my car. It takes about an hour. We could do this."

The nurses came for me, and talked me through all the questions and preparations before surgery. Ryan went with me, held my hand, and generally kept me from tying the sheets together to escape out a hospital window. My anesthesiologist was from New Hampshire, and we enjoyed discussing everything we all missed about New England as he hooked me up to the IV. (No surprise, thunderstorms and Dunkin Donuts ranked high(. Ryan and I hugged one more time, and the nurse told Ryan when they would call and where I would be after surgery. Then she walked me into the operating room.

Now, I've had this operation before, but the first time I was much more ill and was wheeled into the operating room already unconscious. Entering it this time on my own and seeing all the machines, nurses, bright lights, tubes, wires, and beepy things was enough to make me want to break free and seriously Cowardly-Lion-it down the hall and out the nearest window.

My doctor, who is really wonderful, may have sensed this, and laid her hand on my shoulder kindly. She reassured me as they got me onto the table and laid me down. Around there is when the film in my memory cuts out.

When the operation was over, my doctor called Ryan and told him where I would be. The nurses said he couldn't see me because the waiting area in recovery was full--But they never counted on how much Metal Gear Solid Ryan and Matt have played.

"Matt," Ryan said. "I think I'm going on a sneaking mission."
"Oh yeah?" Matt replied. They synched their cellphones to the same frequency, (not a real thing) and proceeded to exchange secret messages (ie Metal Gear Solid references) as Ryan snuck off to find the area the nurses had told him I would be sent after surgery.

From my point of view, I woke up to a warm, fuzzy sea of grey and a friendly, quiet voice asking, "Are you still queasy? Or is that better?"

"That's better," I answered feebly. Had I been queasy? Well, I wasn't now, so that was better. My eyes were impossible to open and I couldn't really move much. There was this awesome machine squeezing my legs and letting go, over and over. Everything was disconnected thoughts and sounds, like a dream sequence from 'Rosemary's Baby' without any of the horror.

I fell asleep again and woke to brighter lights, and a voice saying, "Oh, she has pink hair. Look." I didn't know yet, but I was wrapped up in a cocoon of white blankets and a new nurse had just removed the little hood over my head. As my eyes shut this time, I caught a blurry glimpse of an impossibly tall figure in a black shirt, and knew Ryan was near.

His mission had gone well. Ryan arrived in recovery to find the waiting area empty and the nurses only too happy to direct him to my area. He sat down just before I was wheeled in, and was with me when I finally really woke up.

Hiding out in our bedroom early that morning, taking pictures.
Like all insufferable and pretentious artsy people,
I find taking pictures comforting.

One of the pictures I snapped, looking a lot like my Mom
with no contacts or make up.

My brave face: I snapped a photo of Ryan trying
to make me leave. I think he's literally saying
"Stop taking pictures and get in the car, weirdo--"

Before the operation. True story, those clothes
are super comfortable.

After the operation: I would not stop talking like E.T.
Jokes included requests to phone home.

I felt a lot like E.T. and began making a lot of E.T. related puns. Ryan explained they'd found two tumors, and that the operation had been very quick. The nurses gave me graham crackers and cranberry juice, and after I could stand and walk, it was time to get dressed and go home.

The past few days I've just been in bed sleeping off medication and resting. I've read some wonderful books, watched some ridiculous tv (Netflix added the last seasons of Jem just in time for my recovery, thank you Lord) and been well tended to by my husband and our cats. I apologize if any of this is rambling or strange, I'm still not quite 100%. I am loads better than I was on Monday or Tuesday, though, and felt it was a good time for an update.

I've been spending a lot of time with these guys.

Elvis has not left my side. (That's him on the bookcase
beside our bed, ready to spring into action if I run out of soup).

Awesome books our friend Stephen lent me, I highly recommend both!

My plan for the next few days.

Thank you so much for all of your words of encouragement and kindness, I know I've already said thank you, but they still mean a great deal to me. :) It's hard going through something like this so far away from home, our good friends out here and the kind words telephoned, emailed, texted, and posted have made it much easier. I'm looking forward to being myself again, sans tumors!

The first message I saw on my phone was this picture from Amy, with the words:
"Thor wishes you Godspeed in smiting your tumor! Also he got you these flowers!"


  1. Very glad to hear it was a success and the recovery goes well! You should stake up what they removed out front, as an example to the rest.

    1. Hahaha!! Thank you, and I love that idea. "Here is the fate that awaits you, bold tumors!"


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