Friday, December 11, 2009

Here I go again...

Today's the day. I've got a few short hours before they start surgery. I'm not so afraid of the surgery itself. I'll be asleep and when I wake up, it will be over. Recovery I can handle - even with all of the tubes and stuff. The two things I am most afraid of right now are the insertion of the epidural and the intubation.

I have had bad experiences with both of these - traumatic I would even say. I wasn't "asleep" enough, so could feel and remember the attempts by anesthesiologists to do these, which were unsuccessful until they gave me more sleepy medicine. Unfortunately, I have to be somewhat awake to have these done as I am (surprise, surprise) not an easy patient to put these things into. I have to be intubated in the non-traditional method and the epidural was very difficult to place, even for the veteran anesthesiologist.

Once I get past the part where I fall asleep, being at the hospital (while it can be a terribly lonely place, despite all of the hourly visits from nurses and blood suckers), is really the least of my worries right now.

The surgery itself does not seem highly invasive from the perspective of my organs. Mostly it seems like the surgeon will just be roaming around in my chest looking for and removing lymph nodes. Even though he has to open my back up again and spread my ribs, my lungs won't need to exit my body like last time, so that is good.

Above all, I want to be better. I want to be free from cancer and Cushing's. I know there is no other way to get better without this surgery. This is that "next step" on my list. Over the last year, I've constantly been asking what that next step is - tests, procedures, surgeries... After this? Treatment to ensure this won't happen again. Radiation.

Last night (the Final Supper, so to speak) my daughter handed me a large manila envelope at dinner. We were at a little Italian restaurant downtown with my mother and husband. As I opened the envelop, my husband gently laid a hanky on the table in front of me. I knew exactly what was inside when I saw various colors of construction paper folded in half. There had to be at least 50 cards and notes in there. They were to myself and my daughter from her 5th grade class. I read through each and every one, then passed them around the table. We laughed and cried at the thoughtfulness and caring words the students wrote.

I am going to have my daughter bring these cards and notes to the hospital tomorrow and tape them up in my room. They are an inspiration to me. Some of the notes should be sent to Jay Leno my mother said, because kids just speak their mind. Most said they hoped I "survived" and that "surgery is scary" but to not "freak out" because "they're pros." Other kids wrote supporting notes to my daughter to let her know they would be there for her, some "understanding what she is going through." Each student wrote two notes, one to her and one to me (Mrs. Rasmussen).

After this is all over, I believe a visit to her class to show them I am okay is necessary. I want them to know that their thoughts and prayers (as many stated in their notes were taking place) worked and that they should never give up on those things. Another inspiration to "survive."

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