After 6 days in the hospital and yet another section of my colon snipped out, the Pathology came back and that annoying little mass buried deep in my gut is NOT Cancer. (Go ahead and put down your device and go open a bottle of champagne, before you continue)
The afternoon I found out, my surgeon had already made rounds and crossed town back to his office when he read my results. That man got back in his car and drove back to the hospital to tell me the news in person, THAT DAY, instead of making me wait until the next morning.
At this point, I would like to apologize for all snarky remarks I have ever made about health care providers to date, because that man deserved a mouth kiss!
Due to mutual wedding bands and the fact that I was sitting naked in a chair, surrounded by my Father-in-law, a nurse manager and my surgeon (more on that in a minute) we settled on a high five. Oh, and then I burst into tears.
Those tears released 4 months of fears that had been buried almost as deeply in my gut as that stubborn mass. Every time someone said the word cancer, my gut clenched, every time a commercial for cancer research crossed the screen, time stopped just long enough for a surge of panic to hit my heart like a lightening bolt. As the days passed by, consult after consult and after the second doctor suggested beginning chemotherapy preemptively when the mass could not be biopsied, my anxiety began to creep into my sleep, where my level head and positive reasoning did not stand a chance.
In the weeks preceding my surgery, I am not certain now how I functioned, I was so deep in my head that the only thing that saved me was a week long escape to my favorite place on earth with my favorite people on earth, where the waves, wind and the laughs kept my soul light.
So anyway, back to being naked...that's a hard cliffhanger to walk away from.
I am an unapologetic introvert, I like to be alone. I am an awful patient, When I am sick, I am grumpy. When I am grumpy, I want to be left alone. When someone slides a knife 9 inches down the center of my abdomen, and it hurts to breathe, I do not want to smile, I do not want to make conversation, I want to drink morphine like Kool-Aid, watch trashy television and sleep. THAT.IS.ALL.
When I checked into the hospital, they asked if I had special requests and I told them, NO VISITORS.
The day I received my results, the nurses had set me up with my bath. AKA, sat me in a chair with a basin of warm water and a clean gown. They left the room, telling me to page them when I was ready to have my back washed and get dressed. At this point, I was not to stand up at any point without a nurse present. Fast forward 10 minutes when I had done all once could do without using a core muscle. I called the nurse. 30 minutes (and a half dozen nurse calls later) I was still sitting in my chair, wet, naked and with a dirty gown draped over me when my Father-in-law popped in to check on me. SURPRISE!
I wish my story of being saved was prettier but this is about I expect at this point. Looking back on it now, as I am snuggled into a cashmere throw, sipping coffee at home, next to my husband, the only thing that stands out are the words "It's not cancer" and I can laugh at the naked memory. But in the moment, or rather the 45 moments after the 3 of them left the room, I was ready to burn the hospital to the ground, and if I could have stood up unassisted, I would have freakin done just that.
I mean, It's not like I needed to be wearing Prada with an updo when I got the news but being nestled into my hospital bed wearing 2 of those sexy yellow gowns would have been pretty amazing.
However, I am cancer free. I am 662 days Cancer FREE. So, today I am snuggled up with coffee and Lifetime movies and tomorrow... Well, I am back and I will be living life more ferociously than ever before, loving harder, pushing further and embracing this freaking gift of Life that yesterday I feared was lost.
Oh and I am going to drink wine...a lot of wine...