that being monday. it’s late into the night, or early in the morning, depending on how you’re feeling. me, i’m feeling a bit insomniac-y. not too surprising, i’d say, given what the week holds in store.
the surgery is scheduled for friday, though i won’t know exactly what time it will take place until late thursday afternoon. last week i spent four hours in pre-surgical testing – reviewing my medical history takes an awfully long time – and the nurse practitioner warned me that recovery from bowel resection can often involve lengthy hospital stays for extended monitoring; a full week would not be unusual. that’s an awfully long time in the less-than-pleasant atmosphere of the 16th floor oncology unit, no matter how wonderful the nurses and attendants may be. and they are wonderful, kind and caring, but they still have to put me in a shared room (always a crapshoot) and give me shots of heparin to the belly at 5 am (always awful).
to add to the unpleasantness of this particular recovery, it’s likely that i’ll wake up from surgery with both a feeding tube and a catheter. they shouldn’t remain in place for more than a day post-procedure, but that doesn’t make that initial return to consciousness any less painful or uncomfortable. i’ve never had a feeding tube before, though i have suffered through a catheter. i can’t remember at the moment whether i’ve shared this story, but it’s worth repeating – after one of my many procedures, i was having terrible trouble urinating, and the nurses gave me an hour to pee or else they were going to reinsert the catheter with only a small dose of local anesthesia. how’s that for pressure? i was terrified of the possibility but struggled in vain. my parents and kathryn gathered at my bedside and began to sing songs about water. the beatles’ rain. the melodians’ rivers of babylon. did they sing row row row your boat? perhaps. i seem to remember the song that finally helped me fill that small plastic urinal was jimi hendrix’s may this be love [aka waterfall - sorry, the best clip i could find was daniel lanois' cover - still worth a listen]. hopefully i won’t need another making-water medley.
my surgeon is mostly sure that he can perform the procedure laparoscopically, though there’s a chance that my attempted bowel surgery a couple years back left behind scar tissue that could interfere. if the robots can’t find a way in, they’ll have to make a midline incision (don’t worry, the link just goes to a graph – but you can always image search it yourself if you’re feeling gruesome). i’d like to avoid the larger incision, obviously – getting opened up that way would dramatically increase my healing time as well as the amount of pain i’d suffer. when i wake up, tubed through various orifices, i’ll find out immediately what access strategy my surgical team utilized.
in the meantime, i’m doing my best to enjoy myself and stay as healthy as possible. i’ve started seeing a chiropractor whose office also offers massage and physical therapy in a single visit – even though their office is in midtown, it’s worth the trip. the physical therapy in particular is making a big difference in reducing my pain and increasing my flexibility and range of motion – the many surgeries to my left leg have made it markedly shorter than my right, causing all kinds of imbalance and pain. we’re working together to try and straighten me out again. i’ve also found an acupuncturist – i emailed him with my sob story and billy, quite generously, offered to see me for free, for as long as it’s helpful. generosity like that is so rare, and i’m incredibly touched that he is so willing to help out. if you’re looking for a brooklyn-based acupuncturist, billy is great! i doubt i’ll be able to stomach (ha!) the effort necessary for any of those treatments post-surgery, so i’ve got a busy week trying to cram it all in before friday.
my acupuncturist is not the only person for whom i am grateful – i’ve received so many heartfelt messages of support, donations and books to read and offers of visits, blenders and baby food cookbooks. kathryn found a site that automates the process of scheduling meals and visits for those in need (aka me!), and i’ll let you all know when i have it set up. i know it’s a less personal method of managing the ways that you can help, but man, you all love me so much! it’s helpful to be able to space out your support and not burden me or kathryn with constant planning. i know you all understand.
one last thing, if you’re still reading this over-long post: mother’s day has come and gone, but i want to take a quick moment to acknowledge moms. and not only my wonderful, dedicated mom, because she is the best – she’s coming to help out and hopefully get me home from the hospital after the weekend. but now, being in my early 30s, so many of my friends and peers have become mothers, and it is such a marvelous joy to see these young mothers, to celebrate with them, to be a part of their lives whenever possible. i would love to spend the summer traveling from family to family across the country – seeing beloved friends and their children i have yet to meet, dash in the tower especially; seeing godsisters and godchildren and nieces named mabel; the twins in arcata; babies in oakland, omak, charleston, austin. kathryn and i have had to delay our family planning plans; i have to be a full year free of any treatment before we think about it, and even then it’s more than likely that i’ve been sterilized by the years of chemical onslaught – i’m so grateful that my oncologist suggested a visit to a sperm bank before i started any treatment. in the meantime, it gives me such pleasure to join with you in celebrating the miracle that so many of you have brought into the world. well done, mothers of the world.