Message from the Other Side

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I wrote two versions of this blog post, A and B post-op scenarios. The first one was to be posted by a friend if something went wrong during my operation, a Goodbye. The second if I came through. Morbid? I know. Not to mention bad luck even putting such a thought out into the universe. I am slightly superstitious after all.

Now since you’re reading this post it means all went well. I came out the other side of surgery, alive and intact. Well pretty much.

The day before my surgery I got the results that my previous breast biopsy was benign. Hallelujah no breast cancer. Relief set in- One procedure down, one to go, the big morning looming.

The doctor informed me recovery should be similar to my abdominal hysterectomy, maybe a little harder. Really? I can handle that, I thought to myself optimistically, trying to self soothe. And the doctor said he’d wager odds in Vegas that it was benign, so no sweat.

But to say I was scared going in would be an understatement. I knew Bosniak Class III Complex Cysts are cancerous 60% of the time. To boot, the location of my mass was anything but ideal. It sat over the blood source to the kidney so the risks were high and saving the kidney was a long shot. But we opted to give it a try, open me up from diaphragm to hip bone.

And as it turned out my 3-4 day hospital stay rolled to 10 days due to complications-excessive bleeding, and a digestive system that decided to quit. My hospitalization was long and hard, a story to recount when I’m better equipped to relive the retelling. Just not today.

Let me just say that anyone who has had the misfortune of surviving an NG tube deserves a metal. This quickly replaced the most traumatic thing I’ve had to endure in my life to date. I also have a lot to say about nurses (they’re amazing) but that’s a post of its own, as are my voluminous ideas on hospital visitation Ethics, and IV Calisthenics.  And honestly not everyone needs to know that passing gas and taking a crap may become your sole goals in life. Never imagined my existence could boil down to so little.

And on top of everything I crazily figured that during my recovery I’d have boundless energy and time to devote to writing. This turns out to be anything but the truth. In the end this entire process is much more than I expected. Recovery is slow, my mood melancholy. But being home is heavenly- My own bed, the quiet and the familiarity of my surroundings. However I find myself oddly disconnected from life and everyone around me. Not quite the inspiration zone I hoped would arrive on the other side. I wonder if this is the tunnel effect my girlfriend talked of with her cancer diagnosis. I just feel flat, numb.

See in the end it turns out my cyst was cancerous. So for three years I was walking around misdiagnosed, the possibility of cancer spreading throughout my body a looming risk. Luckily the cancer seems to have remained contained to the cyst and is now completely removed from my body (as is my left kidney in the end). Guess it is good they come in pairs.

Next week I meet with an oncologist. And even though I know they’ve done all that can be done to treat Kidney Cancer, I have lots of questions. Now begins the waiting, periodically getting scans, hoping that I do not fall inside the 5% reoccurrence rate. At least I like those odds a little better.

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