Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Well, It's One Way to Get a Day Off

So tomorrow I return to the hospital to have yet another tumor removed, which I'm confident will  prove as benign as the others. I've been through this particular drill many times before. The constant interviews by a seemingly endless parade of techs, nurses, anesthetists -- allergic to latex? When did you eat last? What's your name? What are you having done today? ("My hair... a trim and a hot oil treatment.") Oh, I know it's all a matter of patient safety (working as I do with actual nurses) and being sure they're cutting into the right person to remove the right thing. But after a while cracks begin to appear in my usual Zen calm and I have to work a little to remain pleasant and not cop an attitude with someone who is, after all, only doing her job, a job she probably has to do a dozen times before lunch: one sick, nervous, cranky person after another.

In the main, I don't mind it all that much. I'm out while they do what they have to do, and if I'm lucky they calm me down with a little pre-op Valium drip. It's the post-op period that sucks. There's the pain and discomfort, but I get to lounge around on the sofa, recovering, watching trash TV and eating. My boss was kind enough to tell me to take an extra day to recuperate, which means a five-day weekend.

But this time around they're going to add a little something to the procedure: after the actual resection, they're going to administer some medicine which will hopefully slow down, if not prevent, the cancer from making another appearance. It's not chemo in the usual sense -- although strictly speaking since there are chemicals going into my system to treat the cancer, it is chemotherapy. Just not the really aggressive, nasty kind that would make me sick and make my hair start to fall out, so I'd wind up shaving my head and wearing those little pillbox-style, embroidered silk hats they sell in Tibetan gift shops. (Of course, any reason to shop for accessories...)

Also this time around, I'm more acutely aware that what they're going after is cancer. I mean, the "C" word. Up to this point it hasn't had much of an impact, I guess because it's always been benign and very treatable.  A small "c" problem. But this time it's the capital "C", the version of the word that usually freaks people out.

Not that I'm freaked out, really. It's still very treatable, I'm getting the best treatment from one of Philadelphia's Top Docs, I will live to see another day and, in the end, que sera sera. As a friend of mine says. I guess this is just one of those moments when something suddenly strikes you as absolutely...real, and there's nothing you can do about it. No telling what will happen. This is to be taken seriously.

And yes -- (warning: cliche alert) -- it's important to stop and:
  • Count your blessings
  • Make the most of every day
  • Stay focused on the present
  • Get a grip on what's really important.
  • Remember that life's too short to be worried all the time.
But first, a few days on the couch, in my jammies, the cat nestled next to me. Maybe a pizza, an On-Demand Movie and --please God -- a "Dance Moms" marathon. That's what I call alternative medicine.

Wish me luck!

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