Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fighting cancer isn't sexy - Part 4 - Are you kidding me?


The days went by. My liver surgery date was getting closer. I was very scared, anxious and so looking forward to getting it done. My mind went through all the possibilities. I was upbeat, but terrified. Finally the day arrived.

I went to the hospital accompanied by my Mother and my sisters. I sat through the paperwork and we were directed to the family waiting area. We waited there for a couple of hours and I watched "Doctor Who" and "New Girl" on my tablet to keep from climbing the walls. I was scared, forbidden from eating and had a toothache. I was a little grumpy, but so pleased to be there.

We got the word that they were ready for me. We were escorted to the pre-op area & I was given a sexy hospital Johnny. "Do I leave my underwear on?" I asked the nurse. "NAKED! NAKED!" she yelled at me. Yes, another woman who wanted me naked. Happens all the time.....Ok, maybe not.

So I was naked, in my Johnny & ready. My sister took the picture at the top of this post & I was ready. A nice nurse came over and started asking me the questions I was used to. "Birthdate? Allergies? Pain?...." I mentioned that I had no pain, but I did have a toothache for the last two days. That stopped her dead in her tracks. My surgeon came over at that very moment and shook my hand. "I'm all warmed up!" he said. Then the nurse told him about my toothache.

I like my liver surgeon quite a bit. I like him even more now because of what he did next. The next 20 minutes were very hard for me. He calmly told me that the pain in my tooth was a possible sign of an infection. If I did have an infection, that would mean that I have "bad" bacteria in my tooth. The surgery was going to be a big one. I would be putting myself at risk if I went through with the surgery with the toothache. There was a chance that the surgery site could get infected from the tooth infection due to the surgery. A big chance? No, but there was a chance. If my liver got infected, it could be fatal.

I told the surgeon to go ahead with the surgery. I was there. I was done waiting. I NEEDED to get this done.
 I couldn't wait any more. Looking back now, I know that I was light headed from not eating and in pain from the toothache. I wasn't in the best state of mind.

The surgeon kept talking to me. He didn't say I was crazy for wanting to do the surgery. He didn't tell me that it was my call, he'd do anything I wanted. He just kept talking calmly & with confidence. He eventually won me over. He did it without arguing or making me feel bad. He made me feel like it was my decision and that I was making the right one.

I got dressed in a daze and my sister called my dentist. My dentist was able to fit me in right away. The four of us went straight to my dentist's office. Yes, I am a grown man who went to the dentist with his mother and two sisters. That was a first! I hadn't been to the dentist in the past year because I had been so sick with cancer treatments/operations. I was examined and it looked like I did have an infected area between my tooth and my gum. She worked on it, numbed me up and prescribed antibiotics.

I went home, sat in a chair and cried with a swollen mouth. I was so emotional. I couldn't believe that I was home and not getting my surgery. I felt awful. I realized that I had probably made the right decision. I did have an infected tooth. I would be crazy for going ahead with the surgery. But my insides were crushed.

The last few days have been emotionally tough. I kept imagining at what point I would be in my recovery if I had gone through with the operation. I got used to the idea that I would have a new surgery date. And then yesterday, I witnessed the horrible Boston Marathon bombing on TV. It put things into perspective for me. A little 8 year old boy was killed. Two brothers both lost a leg as they stood next to each other at the marathon. So many people bloodied and hurt. The hospital I would have been operated at was on the news constantly. I imagined all the poor people getting operated on in the trauma area. Awful. Those poor people and their families. I have awful cancer, but I am 44. I am not a 8 year old boy killed by a madman. I cried for his family. I felt lucky to be alive.

I go back to the dentist today. I have a new date for surgery in a few weeks. The wait seems like forever. But they want me to finish the antibiotics and then give it another 5 days to be pain free and be given the all clear from the dentist. The next few weeks are going to be tough. I hate waiting. But I feel confident that I have made the right choice. I love my surgeon for being such a great man & handling me with such grace. I love my dentist for taking care of me right away and treating me so well. I love you all for your Twitter & Facebook messages, your texts, e-mails and phone calls.

Thank you Martha, Melody, Renee, Tracy Anne, Aly and yes JOE O'LEARY!!! (There, I said your name Joe) The six of you have helped me so much with words of encouragement, jokes and love.

Thank you Julie Benz and Rich Orosco, your phone call came at a time when I really needed it!
Thanks Bianca Kajlich and Kristen Johnston and the rest of you lovely folks for always being there!!

I'm a lucky guy. I love you all. I fight on.

(And oh ya, if you are going to get surgery & have a toothache, GET IT CHECKED!!!!)

Links:
Fighting Cancer Isn't Sexy Part 1
Fighting Cancer Isn't Sexy Part 2
Fighting Cancer Isn't Sexy Part 3


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

No. It ain't sexy; nor does it play fair. Just remember that darn tooth probably saved your life. Be patient and remember EVEYTHING happens for a reason. I mean...how could you make it to survivor status if you die from an infection. Trust in your doctor and ALWAYS listen to your body.
Sending love, hugs and encouragement,
Shawn Korman

Anonymous said...

Correction* EVERYTHING!!!!

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