Recovery

Sorry to keep you hanging there, people… I did wake up! The anesthesiologist mixed a perfect cocktail for me and here I am today bloggin.’ It’s what I do. I figured you would infer that I made it safely through surgery from my previous post, you know, the one I made post-surgery, but I did get some inquiries. I assure you, my ghost did not write my last post. It was all me.

I did not intend for there to be a major cliffhanger. I believe that a cliffhanger, in that context, might indicate signs of pure evil, which I do not possess. Rather, I was so hopped up on drugs (really good ones I might add) that my blogging inspiration and motivation fizzled at the end of my surgery explanation. I told my mom that whoever invented Percocet should be granted a Nobel Peace Prize. She said maybe he should be given one in science instead. No way, that man has for sure spread peace across the world. Good for him. He should have his own holiday.

The surgery went well. I was in actual surgery for about four hours and recovery for about one. The hospital generally gives patients two hours in recovery but they said I was ready early. Figures. I have always been super punctual. I hate to disappoint.

When I first opened my eyes I remember a nurse telling me where I was, that surgery went “just fine” (whatever that means!?!), and that I was there to rest and recover. If you know me at all you can understand how simple instructions like “rest” and “recover” aren’t really my thing. I was already trying to wake up, sit up, talk, or make a new facebook friend. Basically I was dying to socialize in the recovery room. Surgery was over. Let’s party. I needed a full report on what happened in the OR for goodness sake.

After quite the battle I was sent up to my room where my family was there to greet me. I had told them numerous times before the surgery that I wanted to know as soon as possible after I woke up of any complications or problems the surgeons ran into while I was under the lights. I didn’t want to be in the dark. “No matter how hard it is to tell me,” I told them, “tell me. I can handle it.”

So, we discussed my new favorite thing—lymph nodes. Man, lymph nodes are so lame. Going into surgery we were unaware as to how far the cancer had spread. Even after several ultrasounds, MRIs, and PET scans, it was hard to know for sure. (I am already working on a machine to change all that, don’t you worry. Give it time.) There was some indication on my right side (which is where the cancer originated) that there were some inflamed lymph nodes. Also, that area of my underarm had been giving me some pain over the previous months. So it was not a big surprise when my family gave me the news that the cancer had, in fact, spread into my lymph nodes. The only problem was we weren’t sure how many lymph nodes it had gone to. Kind of a buzz kill if you ask me. With that news I went back to sleep for another hour.

The rest of my hospital stay was filled with your normal excruciating amounts of pain and details that are real boring or may scare young or male readers. I am going to sensor myself here and just say it was rough, very rough. But I did get Italian ice that my sister dutifully spoon-fed to me that I was convinced had been imported straight from Italy. I had never tasted anything better.

Now I am home. I sleep a lot. I am currently in a thick cloud of sleep and pain medication as I write this. Some tubes and drains are hanging off me and placed in “holsters” as I like to call them. Oddly, my charades of taking my imaginary shot guns out of my “holsters” like we are in a Clint Eastwood film aren’t a real hit with the fam. Weird right?! I know you are as shocked as I am. And I carry a fanny pack now with my pain pack in it. I am bringing the fanny pack back, just to let you know. It is going to BLOW UP in the fashion world. If fanny packs are on the cover of Vogue’s September issue next year, you heard it here first. And, I got a call a few days ago from my surgeon. He had good news. Out of the 17 lymph nodes pulled, only 4 had cancer. “Is this good news?” I asked my surgeon, still not fully understanding lymph nodes and their role here. “Oh yes, this is very good news,” he assured me.

Although cancer is a terrible disease I try very hard to focus on the positives I can gain out of it. Besides the good meds, the number one positive for me has been finding a part of me that I never knew existed—finding strength in myself that tells me I am going to get through this, and any of life’s other trials, just fine. I am blowing my own mind over here, people. The second item in my what-we-can-gain-from-cancer hierarchy is relationships. Cancer really gives you the opportunity and excuse to cultivate those relationships that may have faded or find new ones. When you are diagnosed your world is going to open up and you will feel very blessed. I know I do. I am literally unable to keep up with all the calls, the emails, all the messages, and gifts. But that is such a good thing. People love me! And you will find that people love you too. What a wonderful thing to discover! Having the C card has given me the ability to open the door to some relationships that probably would not have been opened for some time, if at all. Cancer essentially cuts out all that extraneous stuff that really does not matter in life and allows us to zone in on what does. I understand that no one wants to be dealt this hand. But this experience of going through cancer is powerful and can be life changing. You just need to open yourself up. I bet you will be surprised and delighted with what you find.

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15 thoughts on “Recovery

  1. Abby, I’m sitting here smiling as I think about you with your “good stuff” meds, your holsters, and very intact, wonderful sense of humor. I’m also aware that about 1 in 8 of us female-types will find ourselves going through the very thing you are going through. But while it may not be cancer, I know that 100% of us will face our own life changing crisis at least once. As I pray for you each day, I will also be praying that God will give me the kind of grace and joy and peace He has given you whenever I am faced with painful challenge, whatever that may be. Thank you, again, for being open and sharing.

  2. Hey Abby,
    Thought I’d let you know you’ve been in my thoughts and prayers a lot lately. I know we haven’t talked much at all for years but there was a point in my life, whether or not it was all healthy…lol, when you were pretty much the most important person in my world. (Sidenote: My girlfriend pulled out my SVA yearbooks a few months back and one of the first things she said was, “Oh my god! Who’s Abby?”) And you probably don’t know this but you helped me get through some pretty rough times with my fam. So when I heard about your unexpected procurement of the C-Card it took me back. I really wanted to say something meaningful and I couldn’t. I still can’t. So, I just decided to tell you I’m thinkin about you and praying hard for you. The positive attitude portrayed in your blog is inspiring and I know many others will find the same inspiration. Also, your pink background is probably the best “Breast Cancer Awareness” add ever. If I sit and read an entire post at once and then turn my head away, my whole world stays pink for about 5 minutes!
    Stay Strong!
    Tim

  3. So glad to read your new post and get to know the amazing and wonderful girl you are. I love your positive attitude and again your delightful way of describing what to others would be a tragedy or something similar but not to beautiful Abby. We have thank the Lord for being with you during the surgery and continue to pray for your complete recovery. We send our love and gentle hugs and kisses. Grandma Olga.

  4. Abby, even going through all you have and are, you are truly inspirational and keping your sense of humor. Keep it up! You are in God’s hands. I appreciate your sharing through this process I know it can’t be easy. Keep it up. God bless!

  5. If I may add one other item to your list of cancer gifts. It completely destroys the fear of aging. When I hear women my age bitch and moan about getting older I want to grab them and shake them and yell “Are you crazy do you have any idea how many women would just love to be your age?” Every year that we live is a very precious gift from God and complaining is way beyond ungrateful. So unless Jesus comes before then which I really believe will happen here’s to Abby’s 90th birthday party! You go girl!

  6. When I saw that you had written I was so happy to know that you felt like writing for one and that you still had a sense of humor for another. I’m sorry that you have been in so much pain, but I’m glad that you are getting better each day. I’m still praying for you and love you! God has blessed you with quite a number of gifts….having a gift for writing for sure and you have a way of making everyone around you feel better.

  7. I am very excited about the return of the fanny pack. I was so in style for a few years there and then, oops, I still had/have a fanny pack and they weren’t in style. Thanks for your contribution to style as it SHOULD be! And thanks, too, for your wildly talented writing and humor along with enough intellect and truth to make us all tame down and ramp up on the gratitude part! Blessings in whatever form I can send them!

  8. Hi Abby,

    Glad you are home and in recovery mode! Your words in your blogs are an inspiration to all. You are a wonderful writer. Sending prayers your way!!

    Angie

  9. Abby,
    One of your sister’s friends forwarded me your blog, and I, in turn, have forwarded it to my family. You have made us laugh and cry – sometimes at the same time, and we are all routing for you. Without even know it, you are forming new relationships-albeit virtually-all across the country 🙂

    Best of luck on a speedy recovery!

  10. Abby girl – you are a wonder! I’m so sorry you have to face all this but I know you are giving strength to so many by sharing your experience. I add my prayers to everyone else’s for healing and rapid recovery. We are now sister survivors and you are not alone. I just want to let you know it’s not only OK, but NORMAL to have some “down” days too. Trust your emotions and allow your family and friends to help. They NEED and want to help you! Gentle hugs and daily prayers to you.
    Judy

  11. I will be watching the covers of Vogue….I am so glad that they found you a “drug of choice” – something that would at least take the edge off….keep writing.. It’s good for all of us.

  12. A sense of humor is a wonderful aid to surviving the dark moments. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your journey with us. You are certainly doing a public service by making this real for each of us reading your wonderful blog entries.

    Love and hugs to you.

  13. You are a gifted writer! Remember, I am a gratefully retired English teacher so that is an educated evaluation!! Thank you for sharing the journey. Wish we could share the pain. Love and prayers.

  14. Dear sweet Abby:
    You are in my thoughts and prayers constantly. So very sorry to hear of all you are having to deal with. Keep up your good spirits and continue to smile and stay positive! I understand how writing can be helpful and you do it so well. Keep up the blog and know that prayers are continuing to go up every day for your complete recovery.

    Love and Hugs!

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