Day 90: Cancer bags filled with treasure

Image4:15 am…The alarm goes off.  It’s time to get up and get ready to head to the hospital.  I’m not nervous or scared or anxious…I’m in protection mode…survival mode…numb to emotions so I can present a happy, strong face to my mom and Tom.

4:46 am…I’m a minute late walking out of my room…the parents are in the car waiting.  Always prompt…always.

5:10 am…We start the patient check-in process and find some comfy chairs to sit in.  This is where we’ll set up camp for the day…home base while we wait.  It’s actually pretty nice.  White noise pumped in…5 foot fish tanks everywhere…lots of window…and lots of people of all ages here for the same purpose…to remove tumors.  Cancer is big business.

5:23 am…She’s checked in and heading back to start prepping for surgery.  The surgery is scheduled for 7:00 and should take appropriately 4 hours.  I guess it’s time to settle into a good book.  I’m hungry, but if I eat breakfast this early, I’ll end up eating 7 meals today.  Emotional eating in full effect!

5:50 am…I get to spend some time with mom in her “cap and gown”.  I can’t tell if she’s nervous.  We’re probably both putting on masks to try and protect the other.  Look at us…being big girls.

6:10 am…Consent form review with the RN. The operating room is booked for 9 hours…just in case.  We’ll get updates every 2 hours starting at 10.

6:15 am…Back out to the waiting room so Tom can spend the last 45 minutes with her before they take her back to the OR.  Can’t imagine what he’s feeling.  Maybe like me…he’s just numb.

7:15 am…Tom and I venture off to find coffee (Starbucks in the hospital – boom!) and breakfast.  We figured Mom was under and wouldn’t know we were eating.  Poor thing couldn’t eat or drink after midnight.

10:10 am…Our first update of the morning.  Another “in your face real moment” when the nurse walks in to give you the news…like you see on Grey’s Anatomy…but you realize you aren’t in a TV show.  Ovaries are out and they are working to remove the other affected areas.  Vitals are strong and she’s reacting well to the anesthesia.  Next update at noon.

12:00 pm…Still waiting for an update.  As I look around the waiting area — which is comprised of about 10 or so smaller waiting areas with about 10-15 chairs of varying comfort — I notice a shift.  There’s lots of quiet, happy chatter.  I see smiles…people listening to music…reading books…playing with children.  I realize it’s because we’ve adjusted to our realities.  This morning we were all scared.  Probably feeling the energies of our loved ones as they were preparing for surgeries.  Now, we’ve each gotten an update and this is our world for the next 4-9 hours.  We are humans and we have the choice to suffer or soar.  I’m happy to see so many taking flight.

12:10 pm…The next update from Nurse Kim…the first doctor is still working and the doctor that will work on the liver is preparing to be up next.  Probably two more hours before they will begin the close.  Vitals still strong.  Time to go eat (again).

12:40 pm…Got a surprise update from the surgeon….removed a tumor in some fat near the liver but other than that, the liver looked good and is intact. Gall bladder looked fine so they left it. Did biopsies from the lymph nodes around the gall bladder, tho, to be sure. Should be another hour or two to close. Said this was incredibly straightforward given the situation. (And we even managed to scarf down some chick fil-a….despite their ideology, they do make a bitching chicken sandwich)

2:10 pm…Another update…they’ve started to close.  The plastic surgeon wasn’t needed.  We should hear from the doctor soon.

I just noticed all the white shopping bags.  No one has gone to the mall.  It’s standard issue cancer bags to put your loved ones belongings in while they are in surgery.  Every family has one and lugs it around like it’s treasure….cancer bags filled with treasure.

2:35 pm…We met with the primary surgeon. Mom is out of surgeon and in recovery.  Everything went as well as could be expected.  Now we focus on the healing process and then more chemo.  The news couldn’t have been better…and then I felt the gasp…tears right there…I managed to choke them back.  My body signaling relief from the stress…and the fear I didn’t want to acknowledge.  She’s going to be ok…everything is going to be ok.

3:28 pm…I’m momentarily overcome with the power of prayer…love and light…Beamers…manifesters.  So many amazing ways to send intentions…ask for help…heal.  I’m so very fortunate to have people of varying beliefs in my life…to help my mom.  #overwhelmed

4:38 pm…We finally get to go back and see her.  Besides bitching about being thirsty and hungry…which she’s totally entitled to do…she’s in good spirits. Poking fun and laughing.  Her blood pressure was low due to the amount of blood loss so they will monitor her tonight…but other than that, she was a champ.  We got to tell her the news about how well the surgery went and I could see the relief come over her face…no different than when it washed over us after talking to the doctor.  I think everyone is going to sleep a little better tonight.

7:00 pm…I’m back at my room…the whole day seems surreal.  Yes, my mom has cancer…yes, she just had a 7 hour surgery to remove the tumors…yes, we’re in Houston…yes, it looks like she’s going to be ok…yes, this is too much for my brain to process right now.  Much love to everyone that has supported my mom and me, especially the Witches (Yinny, Moon Pie, Kilo, and Princess Grace), the Shamans, Mr. Universe, Man of the Year, Big Daddy, and Eli’s Mom.  Whether you all know it or not, I needed you…and you were there…because that’s what friends do.  Namaste

 

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