The days leading up to my cancer surgery and the day of my surgery were so surreal.
My soul sister, Laurie, and her husband Barry, flew in from Ontario the day before my surgery. We went out for dinner and, like all great enduring friendships, it was like I had seen just them yesterday. We had a wonderful time, as if they were here on holidays.
I must have already begun to disconnect from my body because everything was dreamy and in slow motion. I wasn’t really processing that I was having surgery the next day.
I still felt calm the day of the surgery. However, I also felt disconnected, like I was floating. Barry dropped Laurie and I off at the hospital and off he went to pick up my mom. She had decided that she wanted to be at the hospital for me as well.
Laurie and I visited until my mom and Barry returned. We talked about anything and everything except the big elephant in the room. It seemed like a long endless wait for surgery.
Finally, the nurse arrived and I was being wheeled down to surgery, only to wait again. Everything seemed so casual and impersonal. I was left in the hallway with the laundry. Are you kidding me?!
I am thinking, okay people. I am going to be permanently disfigured and this is the best you can do?!
Then I was told I had to walk in to the surgery room. What?! That’s right people. I was expected to get off the stretcher and walk in to the surgery room! I kid you not.
I felt like – Dead Woman Walking. The surgical room seemed so far away. All sound seemed to fade away. Then, there was the surgical bed in front of me looking like the cross of Christ or worse, like an execution table. My feet felt like lead. This is really happening, I said to myself.
People were running around getting ready for my surgery. This little voice inside me was screaming, “Don’t you see me?! I am right here. My life will never be the same. My body will never be the same. I am a person. See me!”
Are all anesthesiologists rude? Maybe they sniff too much of their own gas. Today, they were as rude as they get. Gee, that really helps. Don’t you see me as a person? You see, suddenly, with the stress of it all, I had to go pee. And that really inconvenienced the anesthesiologist.
My nurses were great, as always. My surgeon was uber confident and attentive, for which I was grateful. It prevented me from having a meltdown.
The next thing I know, I am waking up in recovery! Cold, so cold. I couldn’t stop shaking! The nurses piled blanket after blanket on me yet nothing was helping. They finally rigged up a tent around me and blew warm air in to the tent.
I ended up staying in recovery for several hours, which was hard on my family and friends because no one was telling them whether there were complications and I was still in surgery, or whether I was in recovery. They were quite relieved to see me wheeled back in to my room.
But I still couldn’t stop shaking. The nurse said it was probably shock and that quite often, whatever the patient was feeling before their surgery, those feelings resume as soon as the patient wakes up.
Maybe it is time that surgical procedures changed. A meditation and or relaxation session could be initiated prior to the surgery. It would certainly improve the surgery, the recovery, and especially the healing. Just saying.
Get this. My surgery was day surgery. I was sent home as soon as my shaking stopped. I kid you not! What would I have done if I didn’t have my family and friends to care for me?!
Over the next week, my dear dear friend Laurie took such good care of me. And her husband Barry took care of all of us. I am so humbled and grateful for their love and support.
The week flew by! Maybe because I was so high. Maybe because there was crisis after crisis. I had a reaction to the bandages and my breast blistered severely which required a trip to emergency. It has been over a year since my surgery and my breast tissue has still not returned to its normal colour from the blisters. My dog, my dear sweet Odin, became suddenly sick and did not recover. Shortly after Laurie and Barry returned to Ontario, my Odin passed away. The loss of Odin was harder and more emotional for me than the loss of part of my breast.
What have I learned?
Sometimes, being disconnected is a good thing!
Friendships, true friendships, are priceless.
I discovered that I am much stronger than I give myself credit for.
I have learned that how I look physically does not define who I am.
I have learned that I am truly blessed.
I have learning the true meaning of abundance.