I’ll start with the bad news which was that I, a relatively young, otherwise healthy never smoker, had been diagnosed with lung cancer. So, still reeling from being told of this devastating diagnosis, I found myself in a hospital being prepped for a lung resection. The days between learning that I had lung cancer and the operation were and still are a blur. All I remember is going through the motions of those days as if I were in quicksand. The “good” news was that it was operable. So on September 1, 2005, 11 years ago today, I had my upper left lung lobe removed because there was a small cancerous tumor in it. In medical terms it was classified as 2A. There also was a lymph node involved, and it along with 15 others were removed as well which resulted in me having clean margins. (The surgeon delivered this news as if I won the lottery. He was so happy, and it was good news. My lungs are still cancer free. My lung cancer prefers to live in my liver.)
I don’t remember much about my stay in the hospital as I recovered from the surgery. I do however, remember the chest tube. The horrific chest tube. Now, the chest tube was inserted when I was anesthetized and I didn’t even know it was there until it was time to have it removed. Now that I remember! The nurse stopped my morphine drip, said she would be right back, left the room and then didn’t come right back. During that time, the pain gradually got worse and worse. Now I’m pretty tough, but I had dissolved into a mess and was writhing in pain by the time the nurse returned. My poor mother was doing her best to comfort me, but the pain was excruciating. I love nurses, but not that one! She got distracted and forgot about me!
Finally I got home to my own bed. It felt so good! My parents were staying with me during that time, and things were going very well until I had to get up that night to use the restroom. During the day, I had help to get up. After all, I had a fresh incision in my upper left chest which was very sore. But it was the middle of the night and everyone was asleep. I tried and tried to get out of bed, but I couldn’t. I called out for help, but no one heard me. I ended up lying there laughing at how ridiculous the situation was and laughing made it hurt worse. I finally managed to roll myself out of bed. Oh, the things one remembers.
I guess technically this is the 11th anniversary of my lung resection which was days after my diagnosis, and I guess it warrants recognition. I don’t view it as celebratory though. What I do celebrate is the extra time it has afforded me, how it has made me grateful for all that I have, how I’ve learned to stop sweating the small stuff, and how much more I cherish my time with my children and grandchildren.
Remember……Someday is Now