Hi, it’s me again. Well, I survived lung surgery! Despite my fear, I managed to get through it. I actually loved all my caretakers on the thoracic floor (well, except one night nurse, but there is always one). Waking up with what seemed like a giant tube in my chest attached to a mysterious box that collected god knows what, a catheter, and double IVs was definitely daunting. I had told them repeatedly how much I get sick after anesthesia and they heeded that and gave me lots of premeds that thankfully prevented that from happening. Who wants to throw up with a tube in their chest and part of their lung chopped out? Am I right? I also had a pain pump that kept me very drugged and that I kept forgetting I had. I was also immediately urged to get up and walk with this monstrous cart that I pushed up and down the hall with a small flotilla holding my IVs and tubes. That was fun, not. Fortunately they allowed Tim to see me most of the day until 9:00 at night. That is always the most reassuring part, along with lots of face time with the very anxious coconuts. Once the catheter and eventually the big tube were removed, then the pain pump, Tim and I opted to leave the hospital early so I could come home and get settled with my cats in my own bed. Three days was enough. Ahhh……..
The “good” kinda news is the pathology showed it was a very early stage lung cancer (stage 1) and they got all of it–clean margins and nodes. I will be having frequent follow up with lung guy for the next six months and then regularly after that for the next 20 years–yup, he said that. He also said they wouldn’t have discovered the lung cancer so early if I wasn’t being monitored so closely at Dana Farber. He said the cause could have been second hand smoke that I inhaled a lot of as a kid and then smoking myself as a teenager. He said the damage is done and cannot be undone. Hello!
The even better part of this conversation was when the NP removed the sutures which were deep on my side. I actually cried out and yelled “oh shit” because that hurt so much. But since she removed them I have had almost immediate pain relief. It was like a miracle, after two weeks of misery and pain meds. Onward I go. About a week after surgery I posted the following on FB and I add it here because it is pretty much how I still feel two weeks later.
I’m not going to lie. It’s been a rocky few weeks, coming to accept that I don’t “just have” metastatic breast cancer and somehow, now have lung cancer. I can’t even explain that one to myself.
Recovery has been slow and painful. I’m that much older since my bilateral mastectomies and DIEP reconstruction. I don’t bounce back like I used to. I have unrealistic expectations of myself and an unwillingness to accept my physical limitations. I always have, maybe that’s how I got here.
Last year I didn’t want to hear that I had melanoma but I kind of accepted it after a life spent at the beach. This past summer I suffered through a grueling open flap nose reconstruction and staph infection. I was miserable but accepted it as my punishment for all the days spent oceanside. This however, my lung cancer, has been impossible to incorporate into my sense of self, my mental well being, my sense of place in the world.
Today I realized I don’t have to accept it. It just is. That is enough. Thank you everyone who has followed alongside me on my ridiculous trip through life. If love could cure me, I would be cured a thousand times over. Your support and encouragement has meant everything to me. Thank god for Jack.
I would add, that having MBC and now lung cancer, I very much live my life in the moment–how could I do anything else. Tomorrow isn’t promised and long range plans are out of the question. I like to be at home in my little house by the sea with Blanket and my cats and look for my tender mercies in real time.
Now, enough about me. What I really want to say is two fold: all the encouragement and support I have received has helped me immensely. I can’t express my thanks and it’s hard to articulate until you find yourself in such a helpless situation with so little to guide you in the dark parts and there are many.
Secondly, I can’t thank Tim Blanket enough for the absolutely wonderful care he provides me and his way of snuffing my anxiety. I couldn’t go through all this without him for sure. In addition to all he does at home, waiting on the queen, he now has to sit in the parking garage during my appointments and listen in on the phone. That has been really hard for both of us. I had to walk from lung guy’s office in the Palace, over to Rachel’s office in Cancer Land alone. Trust me when I tell you I list like a sailor on shore leave. Not having his hand to hold or his eye to lookout for me has been really hard, damn covid. He is one of a kind and I doubt he realizes it which is definitely a part of his magic charm.
Today is election day–I’m not going to comment on that. If you know me, you know where I stand, for kindness and goodness. I have been posting a picture a day of Jack on FB up until today. I am getting a lot of FB grief about stopping which I appreciate, but I got a really nasty comment from someone I do not know, that I was putting Jack at risk for not wearing a mask ( I blocked her). Obviously, no one’s business how I run my life, ever. So I may take a little break until we are all feeling a little safer and more secure. Please know, Jack is my everything.
My song this week is dedicated to Blanket. Has anyone ever called you sugar?
There you are, sitting in the garden
Clutching my coffee,
Calling me sugar
You called me sugar
Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself
Will it ever get better than tonight?