As I lay on the operating table with the nurses and technicians bustling around me, I couldn't help but marvel at all of the resources being spent on helping me live. I thanked them all for their efforts. Then a nurse put the gas mask over my mouth and told me to breath deeply. I instinctively started in on my mantra, "I have strength, I am strength. I have peace, I am peace. I have strength, I am...".
Now that I am six days post-op, and I find myself impatient to get on with living. After months of chemotherapy and now a major surgery, most of the gears of my life have necessarily ground to a halt. I am so excited to wind them up again. I feel like a shiny pinball has rolled into position, and I'm amassing the energy to pull the spring and play the game.
Amassing the energy takes so much effort, though. My thoughts remain cloudy, perhaps yet from anesthesia, painkillers, chemotherapy, or all of the above. I am not in half as much pain as I was after my first mastectomy, but the wound is nonetheless stressful and exhausting. I cannot yet look at my new wound without getting nauseated (although everyone who has looked tells me "it looks good"--it is still a bit too purple and gruesome for my tastes). Taking a shower is my most dreaded activity, because of the effort to both hold the drainage tubes and to not look at my wound.
Ah yes, the drainage tubes. Did you know that their official name are J-P drainage tubes, or Jackson-Pratt drains? You must be one egotistical person to name these disgusting things after yourself. They collect fluid that ranges in color from red to golden yellow, and occasionally clumpy stringy bits of me collect with the fluid. They utter terrible, juicy sounds when being emptied. They are a pair of plastic testicles pinned to the inside of my shirt, flapping against my stomach when I walk and occasionally peeking out from under their hiding place. They are so, so gross. I get them removed one week from today. I'm almost halfway done with them, not that I'm counting down or anything.
My mom has been a wonderful asset this week. She is a nurse who is on a short leave-of-absence to be here with me. She is a lifesaver, doing all of the things I either can't do (such as walk the girls to school) or don't care to do (such as empty my Jackson-Pratts). I appreciate you, mom.
In addition to getting on with my own living, I am anxious to start paying back all of the kindnesses that have been shown to me throughout this cancer ordeal. I fear that my debts to the universe are getting quite large. Hopefully I will have ample time to pay them back.
ps I finally fixed the YouTube glitch and got the movie of my last chemo to upload. It's now linked properly in my Last Hard Chemo post.