Sunday, August 08, 2010

48 hours ago

48 hours ago I was deeply asleep, while my surgeon probed my pelvis.  He found that both of my ovaries needed to be removed; we knew the right one was going but the left was questionable.  He could tell by the sight of it that both had been invaded by renal cell carcinoma... so while that was not good news, it was far better than if they'd found ovarian cancer.  Two primary cancers is something I don't need in my life!  I have a hard time fitting one primary into my busy schedule.  So, 48 hours ago I was a woman with eggs, old as they were, still inside me; now I am in menopause.  But the removal of the cancer is far better - I wasn't really using the eggs anyhow.  The hormones produced by the ovaries I will miss, but that can't be helped.  Hopefully my transition into post-menopause land won't be harder on my family, friends and coworkers than in will be on me.

48 hours ago I had hope that all viewable cancer inside me would be removed in my surgery.  However that wasn't meant to be.  The one mass away from the pelvis seems have to communed with my colon, so the surgeon chose not to remove it.  Removing it would have meant converting to an open procedure which would have a longer recovery time, thereby delaying the start of drug therapy.  My sweet sweet husband, after talking with the surgeon, immediately called my oncologist to make an appointment to talk about systemic (drug) therapy.  We'll see him on Friday, the 13th... hopefully not an omen of a date!

48 hours ago I assumed I'd be spending the night at the Hotel Cleveland Clinic; something I hate doing but knew was a necessity.  It was hard on the girls when I told them I'd have to spend the night in the hospital, so we'd be apart two nights.  But I told them that they could come with Daddy to pick me up, a small consolation but one that helped a bit.  When I was in the PACU (post anesthesia care unit or what we used to know as recovery room) I started to find out that maybe this wasn't the plan.  I asked the nurse when I would see my family, since I expected them to come into PACU to see me.  She told me that once they moved me to the outpatient area, I would get to see them.  Outpatient area... huh?  Sure enough... after I'd been in PACU about an hour and a half, and my pain was under control, I was sent down to the same area I'd been in for pre-op... in fact only 3 rooms over from where I'd been just about 7 hours earlier.  I was told by the nurse that once I was able to get up and use the bathroom, that if I wanted to go home, I could.  I did have the option to stay overnight if I wanted to or felt that I needed to.  I had actually convinced myself that an overnight stay would be okay, so that I would have the use of the moving bed and bed rail to get in and out of the bed that first night.  But on the other hand, I would likely have the leg compression cuffs on, and an IV attached, which would mean I would still need assistance to use the bathroom.  And the hospital is noisy and hot, and you never know who your roommate will be.  So I chose to go home.

48 hours ago my girls thought they wouldn't see me until Saturday.  Jim had called the day camp after surgery to let everyone know I was okay.  On Carly's side the teacher relayed the message to her, which helped her feel better because "I was worried about you all day, Mama".  My poor baby... On the 'big kids' side of the building, the teacher let Rebecca talk to Jim.  He explained that Mom "might" come home on Friday or on Saturday, but that he would be the one picking her and her sister up that afternoon.   Jim and I left the hospital around 3pm, after I had done the requisite peeing, gotten dressed, and received a dose of percocet for the road.  We stopped for a small bite at McDonalds, dropped of my prescription, and went to pick up the girls.  I of course stayed in the car.  Rebecca about flew out the door of the school and into the car, where she lapsed into a stunned, happy silence.  Carly was equally happy to see me.  After that, we stopped at my sister's house (less than 2 miles away) to pick up the girls' overnight things, then to the pharmacy for my drugs, and were still home by 5 pm.  So in less than 12 hours we were back home.  Amazing.

48 hours later, I am sore, but the medication is very helpful.  When awake, I feel good, very much like myself.  I am napping more, and having the longest, weirdest dreams... fortunately not a bizarre as the ones I had during my IL-2 treatments.  Friday night I slept in a recliner in the living room, with Rebecca in the room with me in case I needed help.  Last night I slept in my own bed, and was able to sleep on my sides; what bliss.  After the nephrectomy it was a good 3 weeks before I could do that, and I never properly appreciated how good it feels to sleep in bed until then.  I have been good about taking it easy, though last night before I went upstairs I felt compelled to empty the dishwasher.  Hm, maybe this surgery will turn me more domestic?  Wouldn't that be nice!  After I see Dr. Rini on the 13th, I'll have my follow up with Dr. Drake on the 23rd, which is Jim's and my anniversary.  Hopefully at that point I'll be feeling well enough to go back to work.  I will not push myself back too soon, but on the other hand, if I can do it, I'm not going to laze around the house for extra weeks of leave.  We just can't afford that, since my short term disability pay is only 70%of my pay.  But it will all work out, because it always does.  I plan to remain here to pester my loved ones for quite some time still.


sherri said...

I'm so glad you're home early and recovery is going well. PVs for the upcoming treatment talk.

Anne said...

Hey Liz, I love reading your blogs. You are always on my mind and after Tuesday I will also appreciate instant menopause. Sending much love and prayers your way.

minnie said...

Hail the conquering hero!!! So glad you could make it home so soon and there is I believe no better place on earth in which to recover than your own dear bed, sweet dreams and don't overdo the Domestic goddess thing:-)

ThreeGreenGirls said...

"stunned, happy silence." before you know it, that will be you, as you watch the girls hit all those wonderful milestones as they grow up!! i am in awe of your strength, humor and positivity.

Dennis Pyritz, RN said...

Great blog! Good luck with your fight. I have added you to my 900 Cancer Blogs list at Being Cancer Network ( When you are feeling better please consider adding me to your blogroll. Take care, Dennis

Kenneth said...

sometimes smiling is hard-and laughing harder-but battle on we must

Barbara said... are amazing!