Sometimes it is best to laugh and joke about a situation when attempting to describe it. I trust my audience having said that. I’ve never spent a lot of time in this blog lying to people so I figure I won’t now. I have only the most wry sort of humor to apply today so maybe I’ll ditch the notion.
I’ve been gone from this site and from many other places because I had cancer. What sounded so simple at the onset of dealing with it – in the small personal mental world which constitutes all we know about illness, infirmity and diseases – expands a bit when it meets reality. Ha ha, it expands a lot. It is The Bomb.
The results of a colonoscopy which I reluctantly attended showed the cancer in true living color along the inside of my colon. While the doctor mentioned it was visible in the polyp whose photo I still have, he did not mention the set of fears all physicians carry when they deal with this dreaded disease. I only found that out later.
I scheduled surgery like a champion on an early October Friday morning as my brother Tom dumped me at the hospital door in downtown Louisville at 6:30 – which brings us to now.
Dr. Rodriguez is fairly certain he got 100% of the deed accomplished. There has not been a remote glimmer to testify otherwise and that is one hell of a good thing, I mean, there is no better thing. In the process, I got cut up and hacked on pretty substantially. This implies the next phase we “Cancer survivors” face following successful treatment:
The rehabilitation I am currently undergoing is agonizingly slow. I am using a walker and being moderately successful. The pain has greatly subsided but I now face an appalling and utterly scary scenario: I am totally weak. I still have a little pump that removes fluids from my “wound” (gaping surgical hole) which is a 24/7 appliance. I also have “a bag” for poopin’. I am saving a vast fortune on toilet paper I guess, lol. But I am describing your standard average severe surgery survivor as well. What I found out as time has transpired was the extent of the surgery. (He removed 22 Lymph Nodes as he was mucking around in there, assuaging his own paranoia concerning the typical hiding places of the virus when given the opportunity.)
So here I am! I am and will remain cigarette-free after having dealt with its ravages in my lungs soon after surgery during my stay in the hospital. There was this indescribable Hell which lasted a week as I have to relearn how to breathe. In other words, I was in terrible condition as I went in. That, my friends, is not only humiliating but scary. The entire event, of course, is trying desperately hard to prescribe a lifestyle change or 2 – and they will occur, trust me.
The pain medicine has ranged from Morphine to Oxy – something made me goofy and yet showed me the wisdom of those dispensing the pills: Pain can also be an obstacle. Relieve it and feel better. But I not only have cloudy memories and an aversion to planning and looking forward, it made writing simply impossible.
The primary rehab has been completed with some success. I am home and have nurses visit basically 4-5 times a week. This will be the case as long as I have holes in me.
The physical part is current. I still have pain but I can barely separate it from weakness. A Better description has me unable to function without a walker or wheel chair, so I am still pretty messed up. But the clouds actually do seem to part in small ways, daily, letting in some sun on my wounded spirit. My trainers are happy with progress so far and the doc is delighted about my prognosis. He is the first person to whom I have ever owed my life.
I experienced an outpouring of social kindness which has humbled me even more. So many friends from so many places have expressed themselves selflessly about pulling for me, offering me solace, material things, and being as obvious as they could about just how much they would hate seeing me go away for good. It is a beautiful experience in the end, considering this side of the situation. I cry a bit more often now, lol, and it frankly bothers me less.
So that’s what’s been going on. It’s 3 AM on a Saturday night and I had to wake up to adjust some of this “gear” 😉 Truth is accomplishing this writing may be the best news of all, depending on what it looks like when I read it again tomorrow. Sometimes it is wise to wait.
Nahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Love to all and may your days be filled with Peace, children and the smell and vibrance which life can offer. It is good day to be alive, trust me on this. 😉
Well, you have glimpsed into the abyss again, sweet Steve.
My thoughts are with you for a full recovery. I am stumbling on cancer things frequently like the old cars I bought that I thought had vanished from the road…I did one of those government initiative postal specimen things arriving everyone over 60’s doorstep …and low and behold an abnormal result so doing another, and another if this one is clear etc. I’m stocking up with ma veggie protein powders and goodness knows what..in case. I think you summed it up my dear:
‘ What sounded so simple at the onset of dealing with it – in the small personal mental world which constitutes all we know about illness, infirmity and diseases – expands a bit when it meets reality. Ha ha, it expands a lot. It is The Bomb.’
Only you have been bombed and survived xox
What you wrote was perfect Steve…it makes me so very happy to see you improving…I have missed you on fb…glad you were able to finally feel like blogging…until then, we had to guess how you are doing…what you wrote, let us know…healing love and light coming your way…
As usual, interesting stuff. Sometimes it’s difficult to share what’s going on, but this can’t be anything but good for you, can it? You are such a public person in a lot of ways and writing has always seemed to be an outlet for your creative energies and as a connection to folks that are like minded or simply interested in sharing the smallest of commonality. Write as much as you can. I’m happy to see that cancer won’t take away your strengths, mainly your fingertips hitting the keyboard!
Helen, my best advice as an admitted amateur, is to attend to these things sooner rather than later. I’m being a bit of a wuss, describing my discomfort and fears over a mere 2 months time. Recouping is the thing – there is little pain during the real work. After that, it gets personal, lol. I so appreciate your energy, your selflessness in addressing me and your work – I want to be kept in your loop as well.
Thanks Freddy and Faye. You’re the cream of the crop!
It is a joy for all of us who think so highly of you to hear about your progress. I think we surprise even ourselves by the amount of courage we can muster when we’re faced with these challenges.
Bless you, Sandy.