It is amazing the hoops your mind can put you through. I was terrified of the July surgery, scared shitless to be in such a dependent position again. And, that is the key to the whole thing. Last year's in-patient hospital experience was horrible, and I wasn't able to get beyond that. But, this time, there were a lot of people that stepped up to the plate and showed me just how wonderful people actually are.
Once out of surgery and in ICU, a male nurse was kind, thoughtful, empathic and vigilant of what I was feeling. He took great care of me and I began to relax. I was on morphine again, and it didn't take long before I became extremely paranoid, disconnected and terrified. I couldn't find reality. I couldn't anchor myself in time. When I started to freak out, the nurse quickly got on the phone with one of my doctors and had the pain meds changed over to a synthetic version of morphine. He also set things up so that I was somewhat shielded from the antics of the nurse in charge during the day, the only person that reminded me of my previous hospital stay.
Another ICU nurse, a young, beautiful woman, was able to sense things before she even reached my bedside. I could watch her eyes assess everything from the machines, my body language, my facial expressions and knew how I felt before asking. Above and beyond her nursing duties, she'd talk with me, wash me up, and always found a way to increase my comfort, no matter what. She glowed. She was pregnant with her first child and happy beyond belief.
A first year resident was assigned to my team of doctors, and she was great. We talked a lot. She said that she took her power as a doctor to heart and had a woman bring in a dog for me to pet and be with. When she did that, I wrote on the white board "thank you for all you've done for me."
When I went back for my follow-up appointment, another of the surgeons came in the room and hugged me. The lead surgeon said that of all the samples he took during the surgery, none came back cancerous. He couldn't get to the tumor itself though, he said because of "all the mess in there." He is still thinking that it's possible that this isn't cancer, and my next step is to go to medical oncology to see if chemo will shrink things down enough to get a biopsy or just make this whole thing go away.
Everywhere I turned during the whole ordeal was positive people, people who thought nothing of doing what it took to take care of me emotionally as well as physically. There is hope, real hope, real possibilities, and all because of people who truly cared about the job they were doing.
I am set free.