Monday, January 12, 2009

Surgery Update

We met with the surgeon today and he referred me to a specialist in Wichita. The surgeon here says this ovarian mass is "very suspicious" for cancer because it's solid and has finger-like projections. He wants to send me to a gynecological oncologist in Wichita. There are two. I'm seeing the one who's the head of the department Thursday morning.

I'm going to the appointment with my bags packed, ready to go to the hospital. They didn't tell me to do that, and I doubt it will be that fast, but I'm going prepared just in case they can get me in right away. This thing has to come out of me. As soon as possible. I'm in enough pain today I finally broke down and took one of heavy duty pain pills. It hasn't kicked in yet, but I'm sure it will soon.

I'm hoping for the best. There is no evidence this has spread so even if it is cancer it's possible it can just be surgically removed and I'll have a complete cure.

It's also still very possible it is benign. They cannot tell without surgery.

The doctor today said that he wanted to refer me to a specialist so that just in case it's cancer the operation is being done by someone who does it all the time, instead of him, who does it maybe twice a year.

Of course, having the surgery done in Wichita isn't as convenient, and people won't be able to pop in and visit, and this is scary information, but it's probably all for the best. The larger hospital is also just more equipped to deal with my size. So, it looks like it will be happening at Wesley in Wichita but I don't yet know when.

I'm starting to feel like I need a little graphic for these posts like the news stations do... "Ovary Update... Day 5."  Apologies to my male readers - if I have any left at this point.
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George Bailey

Greg said the nicest thing to me yesterday as we were leaving Roy's and I was commenting that so many folks have been so concerned about the upcoming surgery. He said, "Well, you're George Bailey. People care about you."

I love "It's a Wonderful Life" and George Bailey is one of my heroes, so that was so sweet of him to say.

I have to say that I've been incredibly touched by the outpouring of support from people. People offering to let me come stay at their homes to recuperate, making offers to do anything at all that I need - housework, errands, whatever. And the offer of many prayers, for which I'm very grateful.

I've heard from blog readers, casual acquaintances, and friends I haven't seen in years. My family has been great. Numerous friends have made genuine offers of help. It's so very comforting to think so many are sending good energy my way, and are concerned for my well-being.

I feel so fortunate to have Greg with me. He has been wonderful through this whole process, and will stay with me at home for a few days after the surgery. He's going with me to talk to the surgeon tomorrow afternoon. I'll know then when the surgery will be.

Greg is going to keep this blog updated throughout the surgery. So, you'll be able to follow along - literally step by step. Every time the doctor lets Greg know anything he will let you know. So, you will know the details of the surgery before I do.

Aside from hoping it's benign, and all the other problems of money, time, etc. I've mentioned, I'm concerned about pain. I know that probably seems really stupid given all the other, far more important, things I could be worried about. But, I think those life and death - and quality of life - questions are just too big for me to think about. I cannot let myself be occupied with them, so I'm worried about how much pain I'll be in. It's something I can resolve by telling myself millions of people before me have managed it and so can I.

I don't handle pain well. But, I don't handle this not knowing what kind of day I'm going to have well either. Today I was in a little bit of pain that went on for about six hours. Then, about 5:30 this afternoon I leaned back in my chair and it just quit. Instantly. And I've felt normal since then. It lends credence to my doctor's thought that this mass may shift and press on a nerve at times. Obviously, I can't keep living like this, either, so it has to come out. And when it comes out I'll have the answers to those much bigger questions, too.

I hope, like George Bailey, I have a guardian angel or two watching out for me. I'm not sure if Clarence is available these days or not.
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