My Cancer Journey. Part 2: Surgery
This is part two of my cancer journey. Feel free to read Part 1 – Diagnosis and the first week
Day 7 continued
Tomorrow is surgery day. In the evening our elders came for a visit. Phil, our ward elder, read from Matthew 6:25-34. He went through TC a number of years ago, so it is a blessing to have him as our elder, as he completely understands what we are going through. We even have the same oncologist! It was a joy to hear him speak of the nearness of the presence of the Lord during the hard times of his journey.
Later, our friend Rob came by with a meal for us (Thanks Naomi). Teresa was relaxing in the bath, so Rob and I sat and chatted, and then he read from Isaiah 41.
When Rob left, I was tired. BUT…I was not permitted to eat or drink after midnight, so I stayed up reading until 11:59 just so I could eat a snack and drink a tall glass of juice.
Day 8 – Wednesday
Today is surgery day! So we shipped the kids off and then went shopping…
Yep. Shopping. Since I am still capable of lifting, we thought it would be a good idea to stock up on food stuff.
On the way Teresa stopped and picked up Tim Horton’s breakfast for herself…she is a tease! I am so hungry!
After shopping I went home and showered, and then we left for the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital at noon, and made our way to surgical admissions. The unit clerk asked if we wanted to pay extra for a private room…we were like, “Uh, this is day surgery, I am supposed to go home after it.” She looked at me, then at her papers, then at Teresa,”No, you’re being admitted…”
We resigned ourselves to being admitted, and thought it for the best – that way the kids certainly wouldn’t jump on me! After we met our surgeon, he sorted it out and said if it goes well I was going home after recovery. He said someone must have ticked the wrong box. I cracked a joke about taking the correct testicle. He then marked my thigh to make sure they took the correct one ( he was going to do that anyway.)
In OR the surgical team was playing some upbeat music, I asked a nurse if they had Erasure’s Respect – she burst out laughing. (#badscrubsjoke)
Soon I was out cold and the surgery team was performing what is known as a radical inguinal orchiectomy. One might think that the testicle is easy access, but rather than going through the scrotum, they go through the groin. This is to prevent the spread of cancer cells, as the surgeon can tie off the blood and lymph vessels prior to removal of the testicle.
After I awoke from surgery, still groggy from the anesthesia I remember a nurse asking me how my pain was on a scale of 1-10, I said 3 or 4.
She gave me an oxycodone.
I have never been high before. It was kinda fun…
I hardly remember leaving the hospital, I do vaguely remember Teresa trying to get my socks on for me. I barely remember the dinner we ate, which Rob brought over last night, and apparently I read the Bible…(I don’t remember what I read)…and Meagan prayed.
I do remember going to the bathroom after dinner and being very happy about it. You gotta pee within 8 hours of surgery or go back to the hospital to make sure there is no swelling affecting that area.
The rest of the evening is quite the blur as I also popped some T3’s (as the nurse told me I should within 4 hours after getting home). I went to bed and don’t remember falling asleep…
Day 9 – Thursday
First day post surgery. Warning – there is a fair bit of potty talk today.
330 in the morning I awoke. My bladder was completely full, and the pain meds had completely worn off. I tried to get out of bed, but couldn’t. I thought about waking Teresa, but her deep breathing was so peaceful that I couldn’t stand to wake her. So I struggled for a few minutes, until I heard her breathing change, and she jumped out of bed to help me up without me even asking.
It is humbling, to have to rely completely on someone else. Perhaps the Lord is teaching me humility. I went to the bathroom, turned on the light and stared at the toilet. I thought to myself, “How am I going to sit on you and get back up?” I somehow managed it, then popped some more T3’s for the pain, and gingerly crawled back into bed. I tell you, moving hurts right now.
I awoke at 7am and Teresa helped me out of bed and down stairs. I sat on the couch with a cup of tea. She made a delicious breakfast as you can see…
Teresa took the day off work to care for me. We shipped the kids away, so that I could rest without fear of being jumped on, or punched…or head butted down there by our two year old…
I received a call from the surgeons’s office asking how I was doing. I also received a call from a nurse who checked up on me and gave me some advice for pain management and how to watch for signs of infection etc.
After speaking with the nurse, I decided to stop taking the T3’s after only 3 doses – because I am to refrain from, “straining at stool,” and codeine is constipating. Now I am on extra strength Tylenol and Advil. It seems to work just fine, unless I cough – boy does that hurt.
I spent all morning responding to emails and messages, and I even received a real old fashioned get well card from a lovely couple from my old church in Chilliwack.
My appetite was very good, probably the best it has been since the diagnosis, I ate a lot today.
We had no visitors today, and I spent most of the day relaxing or napping.
Day 10 – Friday
Day two post surgery. First day by myself.
I awoke in a puddle of sweat. I was nervous that perhaps I had a fever and there was an infection, but Teresa assured me that I was just clammy not fevered. I did have far too many pillows and blankets on me…
I still have trouble getting out of bed by myself, but the pain is significantly decreased today.
After Teresa and the kids left for the day, I made myself breakfast..not nearly as nice as the one Teresa made yesterday…
I even ran the dishwasher today…but it was mostly loaded already. However, getting the soap from under the sink was an adventure…one which I probably should not have attempted, as I was in a fair bit of pain after it. I took some Advil and then sat on the couch and responded to some more emails and messages.
One of my concerns has been being able to have a bowel movement. Whenever I tried, I felt pain in the area, and was afraid of pushing too hard, but I managed to go today. Which is good. I never thought I would be happy about going to the bathroom. Also never thought I would blog about it…
My mom and brother Chris came for a visit today at 2pm, they had only planned on an hour visit, but at 530, when Teresa and the kids came home, we were all still deep into our conversation! At least the kids got some unexpected grandma time 🙂 During the visit my elder Phil called to see how I was doing, that was thoughtful. The kids were all hungry and cranky, which did nothing to assist my resting. My visitors left and we had dinner. After dinner we had devotions and then the family cleaned up.
It had been just over 48 hours since surgery and I was eagerly looking forward to feeling human again with a good, hot, shower. Getting the dressing off was not fun, I inspected the incision and there does not appear to be any signs of infection, which is good. I also noted that there is a fair bit of numbness on the skin below the incision and the bruising is showing up now.
The shower was heavenly.
I still have difficulty bending or picking anything off the floor…so I unceremoniously left my dirty clothes right there on the bathroom floor (sorry hun.)
After getting dressed, (getting dressed is an adventure as well!) and kissing Noah goodnight, I sat on the couch and promptly fell asleep.
Around 745 Brad and Rebecca came for a visit. It was a nice visit. When they left I was ready for bed.
I walked up the stairs, still a bit gingerly, but much quicker than when I first got home.
Sleep came quickly.
So the first steps of my treatment have been taken. It is very real right now, this cancer thing. The recovery process is not pleasant at all. But even more real is the presence of the Lord, and the tremendous amount of support Teresa and I have received from so many people from our church, our community, and from around the world. It is really overwhelming.
I love you all.
Throughout this journey of pain and suffering we look to him for strength, for comfort and and “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
The Lord is good. Jesus saves. Look to him.
Oh and guys… check your nuts.