On the One Year Anniversary of My Cancer Surgery

I don’t often talk about myself on this blog, but I will today because it’s the one-year anniversary of my cancer surgery.

I am a survivor. I intend to stay that way.

On July 22, 2014, around 1pm, I arrived at Florida Hospital to prep for my surgery. I remember feeling extremely nervous, but I had confidence in my surgeon, Dr, Brudie. As I mentioned before she’s a rockstar when it comes to this kind of robotic surgery, so I knew I was in good hands.

But any medical procedure isn’t without risks, and I still had horrible memories of when I spent three weeks on a respirator in I.C.U. following a heart surgery in 2012. My friend Carol kept me company while I waited for the surgery and helped to keep my spirits up.

Then the nurse finally started giving me my I.V. drugs around 2:30pm, including a sedative, and the last thing I remember is being wheeled out of the pre-op area.

The next thing I know I’m in a curtained room, it’s dark, and I hurt like hell from my chest on down to my knees. The clock by the bed said it’s a little after 12…I guessed that meant midnight. I was mummy-wrapped into the bed, so it took me a few groggy minutes to free a arm to find the nurse call button.

She finally comes and gives me some pills, and I drift off, reawakening around 2:30am. The nurse comes in a little bit after that and says it’s time for me to get up and start walking.

What?? I just had major surgery.

And as she said that, she reached up under my gown and pulled out my catheter. YEOUCH!!! A little warning would’ve been nice. She then pulled me to sit upright and basically badgered me until I was on my feet. Her bedside manner really needed work, and she was really starting to piss me off.

I eventually trudged the 30 or so feet to the restroom and gingerly examined myself. Five small incisions on my abdomen, but I really hurt below, which I shouldn’t have. Plus I was bleeding slightly. Later in the morning when my doctor did her rounds, I discovered there was a problem getting my uterus out through the incisions, so they had to take it out the other way. That explained the pain and all the stitches.

But the good news is it looked like the cancer was all contained in what was removed. It didn’t appear to have spread to my lymph nodes – this was later confirmed in tests of 2 lymph nodes they removed during the surgery.

Because they caught it all with the surgery, I only needed radiation treatments afterwards, and not chemo.This I was very thankful for.

When all was said and done, I was in and out in about 24 hours. I went home and proceeded to sleep for about three days straight with pain killers. The worst part was standing at Walmart after leaving the hospital, waiting for them to fill my prescriptions. I was too sore to sit down on their metal bench, but barely strong enough to stand up. It seemed to take forever to get my prescriptions filled.

But here I am…one year later and five months out from my cancer-free diagnosis. This surgery saved my life, and I’m thankful for it every day.

I’m also thankful for my friends, many who are like family to me, for helping to keep my spirits up through what was one of the scariest times of my life.

One year…hard to believe…but I’m still here, and I have survived cancer, which is something my mother and father were not able to do. I still have to worry about it returning, as my types of cancer often do, but if it does, I will kick its ass again.

I am a survivor. I intend to stay that way.

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