Today I saw my reconstructive surgeon for a follow up after my surgery on December 20th. That was three surgeries ago. Yup, that’s right, I had three surgeries in eleven days. First my reconstructive surgery which removed the long lasting hematoma, excess skin and had a mound revision….followed by emergency surgery to remove gall stones lodged in a duct that ran to my liver and then finally the removal of my gall bladder entirely.
It has been a challenging holiday season to say the least.
Today, when I met with my surgeon, I was first greeted by one of his interns. He came in full of smiles and energy ready to take on the world. He introduced himself and then proceeded to review my chart.
“Hmmm. Oh dear. Oh that’s too bad!” were uttered as he read over my chart.
“I see you’ve had a rough time of it. New Year’s in hospital, that’s unfortunate.”
Unfortunate, yes, that’s exactly what it was. I explained what had happened. How I had been rushed by ambulance to the hospital where I spent four nights and five days dealing with the onslaught of pain brought on by an acute gall bladder attack. I told him how that episode affected the incisions from the surgery I had had previously and how basically….I AM WORN OUT!!!!!
“What pain medication are you taking?” he asked.
“Nothing at present. I don’t like taking meds unless I absolutely have to.”
“Patti, if you want to heal, you can’t do that if you’re suffering. You don’t have to take a lot, but you should take something. You are not doing your body any favours by suffering.”
Suffering. That is exactly what I’ve been doing. Between the incisions from the reconstructive surgery and the incisions of the gall bladder removal, my body looks like the board game “Operation” with holes and bandages and open wounds.
He wrote up a prescription for me and then proceeded to pull and tug and snip sutures while I bit my lip and tried not to flinch.
When he finished he left while I waited for my surgeon to come for his followup exam.
Dr. A arrived, eating food that he always says “sorry Patti, just eating my breakfast.” It doesn’t matter what time of day I see him…he’s always eating his breakfast. Today was at 4pm.
He did a quick exam, commented that my mounds are still uneven, told me he could fix that later and then pulled out his phone to show me the video he did of part of my surgery. There I was…or at least part of me was, sliced open on an operating table while my surgeon narrated to all watching and listening what he was doing. It was surreal. I was watching a surgery. My surgery. I recognized parts of me, a few familiar freckles, but the body that lay on the table was a stranger to me. So still. Unmoving…except for the blood that ran down my sides.
“I would like to post this on my Instagram account if you don’t mind. Can I get your permission to do so?”
Wow, when did surgeons start to post on Instagram? I said, sure. Why not. I mean, no one will know it’s me anyway. Hell, maybe my surgery footage will start trending and my “mounds” will give the Kardashians a run for their money!
The New Year has certainly started out with a bang. It’s not the way I envisioned starting the year or the decade but it IS a start. This month will be a time of healing. A time to reflect on the past year and a time to plan for the future. I have several more doctors appointments this week and next, but am hoping that by the end of the month, I will be ready and able to face the year stronger and better than ever.
How’s the New Year treating me so far? Ask me in a week or so.
President of As You Like It Marketing & Communications Inc. Award winning speaker and author. Breast cancer fighter and blogger. I’m sharing my journey…the good, the bad and the ugly. Hoping to help anyone else that has been touched by breast cancer be it you or someone you know or love.