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For first time readers...my journey begins here: THE VERY FIRST BLOG POST (CC1)

Meaning of life

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." ~ Pablo Picasso

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Cancer Chronicles 5

March 28, 2007

I'm waiting in the airport terminal, across from me sits a young couple both reading self help books, intently determined to learn and improve their lives. We are virtually alone in the waiting area as we are early for our flight. She's reading, "How To Get What You Want, When You Want It," and he's reading, "How To Negotiate More Effectively." I find this to be hysterically funny as I think to myself, "Marital problems! DIVORCED IN LESS THAN A YEAR!" I start to laugh out loud as the young lady tips her book and peers over its top at me. I have no excuse for the laughter, there's nobody sitting next to me to blame. She thinks I'm crazy! Oh well. it's still funny to me!

Well my tonsillectomy was yesterday. It was decided at the last minute that both tonsils would be removed. No big deal. I arrived at 6:30 AM and ushered into a prep area. A nurse’s aid arrives bearing gifts. I’m given a cap and gown and compression socks. Humm…must be graduation! She gives me a moment to change and into the bed I jump to prepare for this journey. The nurse’s aid asks a series of questions to assure she has the correct patient. Your name? I answer with my name. Your patient number? I give my patient number. And what procedure are you here for today? And I answer, “Breast augmentation!” Where did that come from??? I get kinda silly when I get nervous sometimes! As she bursts into laughter she says, “I can see you’re going to be a handful this morning!”

Then the OR nurse arrives, same drill, same answers, same laughter. Then a 3rd person arrives and I can’t recall what she was for. Then finally the anesthesiologist arrives. I give the same answers as I’m on a roll feeling like quite the comic. But when I answer, “Breast augmentation,” the room is silent. He looks me square in the eye with a very stern scowl, tilts his glasses to the edge of his nose and says, “And what else?” At that point none of us could stop laughing.

An IV was set into my arm. Drip, drip, drip, and I was fast asleep. I only remember somebody saying, “Here we go,” as we left the prep area for the OR. I remember nothing else. I never even saw my surgeon! For all I know the hospital’s janitor could have performed the operation in a broom closet!

I was in recovery by 10:30. I’m not sure how long the operation took. I was told one hour. I awoke talking normal with minor throat irritation. The nurse explained that with Dr. Clayman being one of the best surgeons in the country, that should have been expected.

I stayed up all night with one of the night nurses in my private observation room along with another woman that had a breast removed yesterday. She was clutching a pillow and pacing the hall, so I invited her in for a bonding session. My pain meds tend to keep me awake. I'm just wired backwards I guess.

I can't explain the love that flows through this place. It's honestly overwhelming, every story more interesting and more unbelievable. Miracles do happen. This is truly the Twilight Zone. You touch people and they begin to tell you there most intimate life stories. My night nurse just ended relationship with a man she was engaged to. She had so many questions and told me I helped her with some things she just couldn't get answered. I find, in an odd way, I feel needed as much as I need. It's never "all about me" here. It's wonderful.

In the morning I'm given breakfast. The food at the hospital by the way is awesome. I've seen a lot of hospital menus because of my mother’s many visits and I have to say she got screwed. This morning I had egg, bacon, and cheese crepes, with fresh fruit, yogurt, and hot tea, along with some awesome pain meds.

After my night of observation I head back to my hotel for a bit more recovery. I was given a hotel room free this trip. I called the American Cancer Society and befriended the lady that answered the phone. Her husband had my same team of doctors here in Houston. He died several years ago prompting her go back to school so she could support her 3 kids. She now works for ACS and wishes to seek employment at MD Anderson. It seems the love comes from the fact that almost all of the employees have been personally affected by cancer in some way. My surgeon is a cancer survivor himself. I spoke with her for 3 hours and she found me accommodations that were donated by a local hotel, The Grand Plaza, including a free breakfast and I'm not talking rolls and coffee. The chef came out and made me an omelet for breakfast, right before my eyes!

The tonsils are being sent out for biopsy to be frozen sectioned???? This apparently gives better pathology results than if the biopsy was done during surgery. I'm learning a lot, yet I know nothing. Very humbling. When the reports come back I will have a better idea if I should follow radiation or continue with a surgical resolve for the tongue. Meanwhile it grows along the side of my tongue and it is due a name soon. Submit your ideas!!!

Thank you for your interest, kindness, and love!!!

Peace B

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Words To Live By:

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others." -Mahatma Gandhi