― Annie Proulx
Inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. This became my mantra as I approached the unknown of the operating room and what my surgery could potentially have in store for me. My readers know my story, and thus I am writing to let them know that my first surgery is over, completed, successful and happily behind me.
The thoughts that raced through my head were varied as May 6th approached. I wondered what type of pain I would have, what emotions would overcome my spirit, what it felt like to say goodbye to loved ones prior to my surgery. I wondered if I would wake up and feel different, would my body feel like an alien invasion had occurred. Would I look different.
The thought of being entirely under and not aware of anything was a thought that lingered. There was something about not having control of my body whatsoever that bothered me. I couldn't stand up straight or fix my hair or any of the things we all do for the sake of vanity. I was stripped of clothing, jewelry, makeup, body lotion and deodorant. All of the things we mask or adorn our body with. The accessories that give a subtle description of what we care about, how we represent ourselves, they were all gone.
I half joked with my boyfriend that when I wake up, he better have my "Bag". This was the same "Bag" that I insisted on putting by my bed when I delivered Christopher and Giavanna. The contents were so simple yet I know if I were stranded on a desert island, these items would be on my essential list.
Vitamin C lip balm in Cherry
A small Mirror
While this list seems minimal and unimportant, they simply happen to be the things that get me through hours of waiting, anticipation of the unknown and give me comfort while all the other items of familiarity have been removed or forbidden.
The half joke, was not a joke at all even though I presented it as one. The insistence of this request made it obvious that this was a meaningful request. So as I waited for a long period to be wheeled into the operating room, my Vitamin C lip balm became my coveted item.
As I waited, I smile often and was rather calm. I was friendly with the five or so nurses that each came in to do a different preparatory. I answered the same line of questions each time they came near me- Do you have any allergies? What medications are you currently taking? What type of surgery are you having?
When my doctor came in I knew it was showtime. His calm, serious and warm nature all contributed to the calm and serenity that surrounded me.
I was not nervous, I was ready and I had prepared mentally for this surgery in a variety of ways. I was anxious to have it over with for the obvious reasons. As I was rolled into the operating room the freezing temperature was exhilarating to me.
The nurses all wanted to cover me in blankets and laughed as most people hated the chill in the air. I found it quite refreshing. I was in owe of the operating room, the sterility of it and size along with the equipment impressed me. I looked around happy to finally be in there and the last thing I remember was watching a scrub nurse put on his surgical gown. I wondered what his role was in all of this as he averted making eye contact with me.
When I woke up in the recovery room I was in significant pain. I was truly hurting and was very vocal about seeking relief. Within thirty minutes I was comfortable with pain but tolerant pain as I reunited with my boyfriend and was calmed by his warm hand on my face. His presence and involvement throughout this journey has warmed my soul and confirmed our love for each other, yet again.
I was walking within three hours of my surgery and I am now 12 days out from May 6th. Im not in pain, Im allowed to drive and I truly feel very good. My doctor was amazing in his skill, warmth and continued concern, and he made this journey tolerable and pleasant. I will always remember this and cherish the care that was given to me by all who assisted him.
I am lucky, I am blessed and I am grateful for all the people who have shown their concern in every way. It has moved me and given me the continued confidence and strength to press on toward my next journey in August. My gratitude to all who have helped me, Christopher and Giavanna during this period is too great to express. I will however continue to try. xo