I’ll admit I underestimated the power punch of surgery’s right hook. I’ll admit trying to go back to work the second day after surgery wasn’t my best idea followed only by driving home from the office that day when it was hard to focus on breathing. Not my brightest, most shining moments, but then again, I intended to charge at cancer full force, not shadow boxing or dodging punches.
However, when post-surgery pain brought me to tears and sent me to the emergency room, I conceded. After yet another round of tests – I think I’ve gone through almost every scan available and thank my engineering friends at GE for their fine, stellar work – blood clot, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism and other scary post-op problems were ruled out and I went home to my pain prescription. All illusions of bouncing back from surgery quickly disappeared and I humbly surrendered to my humanity with the explanation for the pain coming as over-compensating since it was on the opposite side from the surgical site. I still question how much the anesthesia messed with me, since I am a light-weight with any drugs, and the toll laying still on that hard table for an hour took on my body.
What matters though, is recovery and that is where I focused my attention, accepting my role as patient and realizing daytime naps would no longer be a desire but a requirement. I’m not a still person. Slowing down, let alone stopping, is a challenge. Yet, illness has a way of changing one’s perspective drastically. Pain has a way of refocusing one’s attention.
When the surgeon, Dr. Bartos called though, my focus shifted as I listened to the biopsy results from surgery. Out of 25 lymph nodes removed, only one contained melanoma – that one just kept getting bigger. In amazement, I envisioned that one, strong node, taking on the punch of death, protecting everything around it. I raised my eyes and said a prayer of thanks.
What this means in regards to further treatment, I won’t know until I see the oncologist, Dr. Hake, again, but I am continue to be hopeful. Even if treatment is recommended, I have been blessed beyond measure by God’s grace (through some tough nodes). In this round, with the expertise and skill of Dr. Bartos, we delivered a knock-out punch to melanoma. As soon as I get rid of this post-op pain and am back to normal I will dance around the ring holding my shiny, championship belt.