Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer - Day One

I guess technically, the first day of summer was yesterday. But that was my Travel and Worry Day, so it doesn't really count.

I refused to invite thoughts and concerns about today's procedure along on my trip. So when I got home, I allowed myself to think and pray extensively about it. The word cancer is just so scary, right?

Even if it IS just a small spot on the skin next to your tear duct.

Sadly, because undergoing surgery on my face wasn't enough, I came down with a horrible head cold over night. Completely congested with head and body ache.

I got up at 7, worked online for an hour, then drove myself over to the Jimmy Pattison Surgical Centre. Swiped my Care Card (originally this was cosmetic, elective surgery. I was going to have to pay for it. But then when my doctor took a closer look, he speeded up the process considerably, and just like that, it's covered) and found the elevator.

I made my way to the fourth floor, mouth breathing, because my nostrils were very plugged. Within 10 minutes I was stretched out, flat on my back, on a gurney with a mega bright light shining on my face. The surgeon came in, took a close look, explained that he was going to gouge it all out and he'd be stretching skin from the bridge of my nose to cover the gaping hole he'd leave behind. For the next year or two, I'd have a red, raised zigzag scar running from the bridge of my nose to my left tear duct.

I concentrated on not crying.

Then he took out the world's longest needles to freeze the location, One went in under my eye. One in the corner, right beside the tear duct, and the last one? From the bridge of my nose, downward towards my cheek. Yes. It hurt. ALOT.

I used up energy like crazy, determined not to cry,

"I'll be back in 10 minutes once it's good and frozen. You won't feel a thing."

The nurse, who was sitting beside me added, "You'll feel some tugging and digging and stretching and but you won't experience pain."

She then proceeded to cover my face with cloths.
"We want to cover all the non-surgical sites..."
So my eye lids were covered, my head, my cheeks, my mouth, the bottom of my nose...

Once she was done she talked about my shoes and how she loves them, then she left the room.

I tried not to cry,

I tried to breathe.

I was super congested, and laying on my back, with cloths all over my breathing holes was making me anxious.

I was not going to cry,

But shit,  I felt so alone. And sore. My head was pounding and I couldn't breathe.

With nothing to think about but the imminent slicing and dicing of my face, I started to panic about sneezing half-way through and losing an eye lid in the process.

"Do not cry. DO NOT CRY. Don't think about this. Think about something else. Anything else. Get a grip woman. THINK OF SOMETHING ELSE.

OK. My kids. God? Please be with them all this Monday. Be there, right beside them. Help them with whatever they're going through or facing right this minute. Fill the space around them with Your presence. Give them wisdom, or peace, or courage. Or whatever.

Maybe could you fill this room too?
Help me to stop freaking.
Help me to breathe.
Help me to not cry."

And then they were back.

And she was right. There was no pain, Just a lot of tugging and a dripping sensation. (That was blood.) And instruments being passed back and forth. And more pressure. And more pressure. And tugging from my nostril to my eyelid and I was just plain scared.

"God? Uh. I. I don't know. You're here right?

Our Father. Who art in heaven.
Our Father. Who art in heaven.
Our Father. Sorry. I can't remember the rest. Other than Thy will be done.


Our Father. Thy will be done. Here in this room. And over there were my kids are. And over there, where those friends are. And over there were those folks I love are. And in this room.
Thy will be done.
Our Father."

For half an hour that's all I could do. Was pray/say those words over and over again. Otherwise I would have lost it.

And then he was done.
"It went pretty well, considering. I think I got it all. I'll see you next week to talk about it."

He left the room.

The nurse who liked my shoes gave me a piece of gauze and told me apply pressure for the next half hour. But I was free to leave now. I sat up, all woozy and took in my first big breath of air.

"I'm to come back? How do I make an appointment?"

She replied, 'I put the instructions in your purse. It really will heal up fine, you know. It might take a couple years, but it will eventually be just a fine white line from your nose to your eye. The surgical tape I've put on your face is skin colored. No one will even know you've had surgery today.

Never in a million years would I have predicted that I'd post a pic of my naked face and dirty hair. 

I wandered around, trying to remember where I'd parked.
Found my truck, started it up, holding the gauze over the site, sopping up the blood.

"Do not cry. Do not cry. DO NOT CRY.
You can totally do this. Just drive home, one-eyed. You can do this."

I did do this. I drove home. Let me mom have a look at it. Then went straight to bed.
Where I have remained all day.

I will not cry until this cold is over. And then I will have a glorious melt down. I'll save it for when I can get puffy eyes and blow my nose without it interfering with the healing of my face.

(I took that pic eight hours post op. I look worse now. My eye is swollen again. And blood had seeped under the surgical tape, leaving a black mess in that area.)

But I am so very thankful. For attentive doctors. For skilled surgeons. For supportive kids who like the new bad-ass look. For friends who prayed. For an employer who is very understanding. For a God who listens. For this upcoming season of sunshine. For the way Facebook makes it easy to stay in touch. For my mom who is bringing me oranges and tylenol. For this bed. For boxes of kleenex. For a body that will eventually heal. For our medical system. For this amazing life I get to live.

If you're reading this and feel like you should pray for me, please pray also for all the other folks in our lives that are facing challenges today. People who are afraid of diagnoses. Friends that are hurting. Family members who need to feel the presence of God. Strangers who are lying on gurnies having trouble breathing. Doctors who need steady hands today. Nurses who gently ramble on about shoes. Pray for a cure for cancer, patience for those working with the elderly, and new discoveries for those in the field of medical research. May His will be done, today. Amen.


1 comment:

Tricia said...

What a Crummy way to spend your first dat back, from vacation. So sorry friend. Praying for a speedy recovery, and that you get over your cold quickly as for the scar...It cosmetics, Bye Byr Undereye The stuff is so pigmented it even covers tattoos. Their CC cream / foundation is really awesome too :)