Our new landlord, Ty, got us settled in our new home. Here is a cozy little shot of our entryway. We finally got to sleep around 1:00 am.
We had to be up to make a 7:00 am appointment the next morning so we began Day 1 with a very short night of sleep. Words are hard to come by to explain the day, but here are a few glimpses for you.
Here I am putting on my "early morning" brave face before meeting with the anesthesiologist. We learned a lot in this appointment as he took an full hour explaining the entire process from his perspective. I found this all to be so helpful. (Blessing #2) One of the main things he said is that they may keep me under anesthetic or at least sedation with a breathing tube for the first day or so after surgery. This will be for my own good to give my body more healing time before I have to wake up, and also to make sure I don't start messing with any of their handiwork without thinking about it (due to the pain meds and residual sedation in my body).
We left the anesthesiology appointment at 9:30, which meant we'd already missed 2 other appointments on our schedule. But we moved on to meet my gynecological oncologist (gyn-onc). We'll call him Dr L to keep things simple. Here I am in the waiting room before his appointment.
One thing to point out from this meeting is that I will most likely be in ICU for at least 24 hours after surgery so they can keep a very close eye on me. I will be allowed visitors some, but noone can stay with me at night. Once I am in a regular hospital room they encourage people to spend the night with me to watch for anything abnormal or concerning. I will not be able to eat or drink for the first week. All nourishment will be handling through the IV. There will be a tube draining my stomach so that all the work they've done in the intestines will have time to heal. Once I begin eating it will be very gentle foods like jello and broth. I will also have a drain tube for my reconstructive surgery 5-7 days. My husband is so encouraging through all of these appointments and never leaves my side. I just adore him.
After meeting with Dr L's team (including another gyn-onc that will help with the surgery, who we'll call Dr C) we moved down to get blood work, urine samples, an EKG and chest x-rays. All this showed that I am healthy enough for the surgery. While getting ready for the chest x-ray I looked at myself in the mirror and saw how ridiculous I looked with my shoes and hospital gown. I thought I'd capture it for a laugh so here you go!
I was getting so tired at this point. My head was spinning with everything I'd learned. I really just wanted to go home and put my head under a pillow, but we still had more to do. I'd missed another appointment because Dr L kept us so long. It was 2:15 and we were getting very tired emotionally and physically.
However, we rushed to the PET scan appointment for our 2:30 check in and they had a lobby full of at least 60 people. We finally found a seat where we could put our feet up and I thought to myself this looks so much better. Like things are right in the world even. (Blessing #4 - I still had a small sense of humor)
They were so far behind that my I didn't get called back for over an hour after my appointment. It gave us a little time to just sit and process all that we had learned and been through already. It was a lot for me, but also for my sweet husband. The Doctors have been very supportive of him as well asking if he's okay and if he has support coming for the surgery, etc. I'm so thankful that his family and mine will be coming.
By the time the PET was over I walked out to a mostly empty lobby at 6:00 PM. We had been at the clinic for 11 hours and due to the scan I had not been able to eat for 9 hours. Honestly, I just felt miserable. I'm not sure if I am just tense all day listening to these doctors, but I've ended both days with a horrible headache and I cannot take anything for it because of the upcoming surgery.
Day 2 included lots of make up appointments we'd missed Day 1. We met with a psychologist, with a research project specialist (which enlisted me for a 10 year research program) a Wound Ostomy Nurse who marked where my ostomies will go, and Dr L to go over my surgery forms in details with all the risks and the one sole benifit.....Life! I signed consent and Billy signed as the witness. It was a heavy hearted day.
Thank you all for praying and encouraging. I may not always get time to reply, but I am trying to keep up with the posts and texts and emails. You all are amazing me with the amount of support you have shown. Thank you so much for loving us through this next journey. (Blessing #5)
And although I don't have the words for Day 2 yet there is one part I do want to share.
My PET scan came back showing clear. This seems confusing, but this is a very good thing because they see no reason to abort the surgery at this point. They can proceed based on what they have felt, seen and biopsied. (Blessing #6)