Cancer is Crap: Surprise Surgery

June 23, 2009 1:41 PM

Last Thursday I got a call from my surgeon’s secretary who told me that they wanted to try “something else” before surgery & to come in Monday for another kind of biopsy.

So yesterday my husband and I went to the hospital for the biopsy and were totally blindsided when they ended up doing the surgery instead.

Surgery – like public speaking, marriage proposals or math tests – is one of those things I do better at if I’m mentally prepared. I wasn’t, and it didn’t go so well. They operated on me under local anesthetic, which meant I could feel them digging around in this hole in my neck and every time they went deeper I’d feel pain and they’d have to add more freezing. It went on and on, and I would have given anything to have had my husband beside me, but in hindsight it was probably better that he wasn’t. There’s nothing like an emotionally jacked-up and acutely protective Frenchman to throw a surgeon off his game.

After it was all over I asked them to show me the lymph node. It was a little, cute, pink, not-gross, totally innocuous-looking, pea-sized thing. I’ve never hated the sight of something so much in my life. I had the overwhelming urge to smash it with the nearest smashing-tool (those can be hard to find in an operating room) but I knew that it needed to be sent away and carved up and analyzed or we’ll never have peace of mind. So I refrained from Jack Rubying the little @*#$.

On the way home I took the prescribed doses of Ativan and Advil and we stopped for some spicy Salvadorian tacos & sugary Mexican pop. (This combination, it turns out, is an excellent remedy for shock. Keep it in mind should you ever find yourself having just gone through more than an hour of someone digging around in your neck while you’re wide awake.) By the time we got home and my mom arrived with our daughter in tow I had stopped shaking and was feeling pretty “normal.”

Today I feel sore, exhausted and emotional, and like I need to hit someone, (probably the surgeon’s secretary who should have prepared me for the possibility of surgery.)

We could be waiting up to 10 days for results. So the waiting game continues, and it’s excruciating, yes.

But on the upside this could still be nothing more than a bump (lump) in the road

— and if things get too heady I know the Salvadorian taco place is within walking distance.

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