When Michael and I first met with my surgeon, he warned me that for “4-6 weeks” after surgery I would be “as tired, if not more,” than I was after chemo ended.
Nonsense, I thought. Nothing could possibly make me that tired again, barring another attack of chemical warfare.
Boy was I wrong.
The night of surgery, I was so looped from the anesthesia that my oncologist, who had come by to visit, sat on my bed with me for 15 minutes, playing me Mozart and stroking my head because I was so panicked about what the biopsy would show and didn’t have the will or strength to calm myself down.
The day after surgery, I laid in bed and could barely talk. Literally. I was so hazy that I don’t remember if my husband had meetings or not or if the nurse came in (I’m sure they did). They tell me that it was because the anesthesia still hadn’t completely worn off, but, honestly, not much was different three days later. By then I was off anesthesia, but on various painkillers. Writing blog posts those days was entertaining, not least of which was because my eyes doubled everything. I’ve been on opiates before, but this was the first time that I could barely read.
They wanted me walking for half an hour every day. Doesn’t seem like much, I know, but I could barely make it for three laps of the floor. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed and sleep.
They thought they would solve some of this by giving me a blood transfusion (counts were low), but I went home feeling much the same way.
It was in this shuffling haze that my oncologist and I had the following text conversation on the afternoon of my discharge, four days after surgery:
“Starbucks? I have good news…….want to meet close to 8?”
“Thought – why don’t I just come over? Can’t make you walk to Starbucks!” Our Starbucks is around the corner, but I was so grateful that I wouldn’t have to move I could have cried.
Michael and I spent the dinner hour tense. There is no other way to describe it. I was holding myself and my sanity together with sheer will; I had run out of all other forms of coping. All I could do was just be okay with the idea that this was probably going to be bad news. In my exhausted and guarded mind, “good news” meant “no radiation before stem cell transplant, and we might be able to delay long enough to harvest some eggs.”
She showed up at our house with a shit-eating grin just spread across her face. I was already so stretched that I could only just look at her, completely blank. Michael was a few feet behind me.
“You’re fine. You’re completely fine. The biopsy showed no evidence of anything.”
I burst into tears and hugged the closest person to me, in this case, my oncologist, still standing there in her puffy winter coat. She hugged me back, and then eventually turned me around and sent me into the arms of my husband.