Waking Up

I became aware of the horribly bright fluorescent lights as I regained consciousness. I saw my dad first – a blurry version of my dad. I looked past him to the clock on the wall. 9pm and change. Wait, could that be right? They took me in at 2-something…that’s way too long.

“Is that clock right?”
“Was it benign?”
“Can I still have babies?”

These were the three questions I remember asking immediately upon waking up. I also remember my dad giving me an affirmative answer to each one- which shouldn’t have made sense.

Before going in for surgery, I was told that if my tumor was benign, the procedure would take about an hour or 90 minutes. If they found cancer or if there were complications – longer. I had been out for over 7 hours.

Upon hearing the answers I wanted to hear, I started to take stock of how I physically felt. My body didn’t feel like my own. I felt broken. My midsection felt like it had been run over by a semi truck. A nurse suddenly appeared at my side and shoved a button in my hand. She told me to push the button when I felt pain. I pushed it right away and kept pushing it every time I remembered to, which felt like long intervals since I kept drifting in and out of consciousness. I was later told that I pushed that damn thing every 2 minutes or so. No amount of pushing that button could have taken the pain away.

I felt so numb. Blindingly so. After my parents left the room, my boyfriend at the time was allowed to stay. At one point I looked up at him and it looked like he was crying. I asked him if he was and I honestly don’t remember his answer. I just wanted to go back to sleep. I wanted to wake up once it was all over.

I pushed the button.

The next morning my surgeon came to see me. He told me that they found some borderline malignant tumors. Malignant. Plural. With an ‘s.’ This information barely registered. It had completely engulfed my left ovary but I got to keep my right one.

What?
Say again, please?
But my dad said…
…do I have to do radiation? Chemo?

No. Those treatments won’t work on your kind of tumors. Besides, we think we got them all, and now we just wait and see.

WAIT AND SEE?! My brain was screaming but my face stayed blank.
Apparently now my job was just to focus on getting better.

Let me get this straight. You rip me open, take out pieces of me, then run me over with a truck and tell me medicine won’t work for me, and now it’s my job to get better? I thought that was yours. You broke me. Now someone put me back together.

I pushed the button again and everything got blurry.

That was exactly 10 years ago today. I just sat down to write and this just kinda came out, wasn’t really planned. It feels good to write about this, so bear with me because y’all might see more of these.

In other news, I turned 30 yesterday and I think I felt all the feelings. All of them. I got drunk on wine with friends and we went bowling. The best part- costumes were required. I brought back the 80s like it was my job. In preparation, I plugged in my crimping iron that I hadn’t used since the 90s, and it promptly began to smoke. Once the putrid smell of burning plastic subsided and got me sufficiently high, I used it on my hair and the results were hecka rad. I even unearthed my old slap bracelets and those plastic thingies one used to clip the bottom of one’s oversized shirt off to the side. Mini skirt, tights, leg warmers, oh my!

I suppose after all this I should post some pictures. Stay tuned, my little psychos.

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27 responses

  1. Oh. The painful memories. :o( I was happy to read about it. It also got me teary. I remember waiting for news on the other side of the continent. I am so incredibly glad that you beat that cancer. You’re such a warrior. (and remember, i want to be on your team in the case of a zombie takes over the world type of fight) Happy 10 years cancer-free and again, happy birthday my dear old friend! ;o)

  2. Really moving, powerful writing! Puts things in perspective, when you face something like this, for sure. The birthday bit pulled me out of it, but I know this must have been a very dark and difficult time in your life. How wonderful to be celebrating 30. When you look back, 30 must have a whole new meaning? Perspective baby.

  3. Goodness. I’m always the one crying at the edge of the hospital bed (though never for cancer). I never thought of what it would be like to be the one in the bed. Sending you virtual hugs and very happy thoughts that you are 10 years cancer-free! Wishing you the awesomest thirties that ever thirtied.

  4. Happy belated birthday! There is no better way to start your 30s than with the smell of burning plastic. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m so glad you’re on this planet. You’re one of the very bestest bloggers I know.

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