Funny Pictures

Susy tells me that she and my other sisters, Ralph, and my mother all went up to the chapel to pray during the morning.  That was touching for me, but I was saddened by the thought of their turmoil.  Mariano stayed behind.  Mariano is not that religious, but I imagine he stayed in the waiting room in case any one came out with information on the surgery.

Did the surgeon feel he should go out to see them following the investigation, to provide some assurance?  He must have realized how traumatizing the waiting was for the family.  Perhaps he really didn’t have the time to think about that, and time passed quickly for him.  Considering all he had on his plate during that time, I suppose the success of the operation was his first priority.

Lisa tells me they kept watching everyone who came out from the operating area, wondering whether my family would be approached.  They knew it would be devastating news if the surgeon came out early.  By noon, they were more relaxed, but still worried about the outcome.

Following several hours of anticipation, the surgeon emerged in his scrubs.  He approached Mariano, carrying a notepad and pen.  He loved to draw pictures.  For the layman, it was the only way to describe what he does.

My family surrounded him, watching and listening, as the surgeon provided details of the successful operation.  He explained that tumours were all over the bottom of the stomach as well – which we hadn’t known previously – so he had to remove the stomach in its entirety, as well as about one-third of the esophagus.  Only one cut on the front torso had to be made.  The initial plan to cut in the back as well was no longer necessary.  I was under the knife for eight hours, including the investigation time.


Following several months of abandoning my calcium, only in the last few days have I noticed much less pain at the site.  Maybe this medication was causing all the discomfort, but I’ll continue to monitor it.  I’ll also have to learn whether coffee is another culprit, but it isn’t clear yet.

I don’t think I’ll advance my appointment with the endocrinologist.  Any deficiency will show up in the bone scan I’m expected to pass before I see him next year.  The time off will determine its need.

Have an amazing day!  Patricia

My Mind At Rest

The thoughts that went through my mind that morning were few.  Clearly, I was anxious to know whether my tumours were operable.  Would I bleed to death before learning the severity of the cancer?  I would love to have watched from a balcony – like we’ve seen on television.

Everyone in the room was extremely friendly, but only a select few spoke to me.  It was very organized and calm.  On my right, I could see a table covered in blue sheets – like the one we see on movie sets.  It held many instruments; and probably included the scalpel that would slice me open along my belly.  It was just as well I couldn’t see details;  everyone’s hair and face was covered up in hospital gear.

One, tw… and I’m out.  My job was done.  The rest was up to the surgeon and his team.  I wonder at what point he walked in.  Were there casual exchanges among him and the staff?  Anyone crack a joke?  He knew what he had to do;  and it would be a long day for him.  Was he worried he would be too tired to do the investigation and the operation on the same day?  He’s obviously done this before;  otherwise, he would not have agreed to both procedures on the same day.  Did he have too much coffee, in an attempt to stay alert the entire day?  Will his hands be shaky?  I had full faith in his professionalism.

My niece, Claudia, then in University, stayed home that day with a good friend of my mother’s, to take care of Isabella.  My husband, mother, sisters, and oldest brother-in-law, Ralph – who’s more like the brother I never had – passed the time impatiently in the waiting room for any sign of hope.

We had been told that the longer they were left to wait, the better the news could be.  My surgeon explained that, once he completed the physical investigation – which would take three or four hours, he would only put me through the risky surgery, if he knew he could remove all the cancer.  He told my family that if he didn’t come out by noon, that meant he would be able to do the surgery.  My sister, Mary, explains that they were panicking, hoping he wouldn’t come out and say, “there is nothing we could do.”


Glad you continue to read.  Hope you’re finding even a little hope in my experience.


Passing Blurred Lines

The next morning, the last time I would feel hunger for a very long time, they rolled me down to the operating room in the basement of the hospital.  They told me to leave my prescription glasses in my room, so they would not be lost.  The entire ride was blurry, to say the least.  My myopia and almost blind left eye prevented me from seeing even the face of the man above me that took me who-knows-where.  Even though I should be used to the lack of vision, it makes me uncomfortable outside of my own environment.  I don’t know who’s looking at or addressing me, so I seem standoffish or just rude.  I usually follow the voice, and no details can be made out.  At home, I know where everything is, so it’s easier to get around, even in the dark.

In what I could see, once the attendant stopped rolling me around, was a small hallway, likely near the operating room.  He told me my family was here to wish me well, but then I had to get prepped next door.

You could tell my mother’s fear from her repeated kisses, and her unwillingness to let go of my hand.  “I’ll be okay.  I love you.”

Then I was brought into the large operating room.  It was cold and bright, busy with nurses preparing equipment and medical tools, and the anesthesiologist approaching me to explain her procedure.

“Good morning.  I am Doctor…”  She asked me to confirm my name.

Remembering my knee surgery, I laughed when the anesthesiologist told me to begin counting to one hundred.  I barely recall saying number three.  As my eyes shut, I entered a tranquility that lasted mere seconds;  and I was whisked away to sleep.  Or was that the medication making me feel amazing?  Pray for me.


Be well,