February 13, 2012
Following the advice of her gyn oncologist, we left for surgery. We were laughing and sharing stories on the way to the hospital. I missed a turn and we ended up over 30 minutes late for the appointment! They weren’t terribly happy but it worked out well. Mom was the first scheduled surgery. Us being late meant they rushed her through her pre-op time and she didn’t have to sit around waiting and worrying about what
was happening. I prayed over her and she was gone.
I sat in the waiting area for about an hour by myself. I had taken a knitting project. The entire time I was knitting and praying over her. I just had this feeling that I was going to hear something bad. I just had a feeling.
My aunt and uncle came to wait with me. I enjoyed their company so very much. It was a blessing to sit and chat the time away. The last time Mama had surgery, I was by myself– it was awful. I decided then I would never do that alone again. This time, I’ve had so many friends reach out and ask if they could come. I’m blessed.
The entire experience took a little under 3 hours from start to recovery.
The surgeon came to talk with us and asked us to sit with him in a conference area so he could explain his findings. It all happened so suddenly- he explained he had found an additional mass the size of a golf ball in her abdomen. He basically explained this wasn’t related to her uterus, it was different. He said he would be back to talk with her that afternoon and in the morning, we would need to have a serious talk about chemotherapy.
He went on to explain that mom was not going to remember their conversation because of her sedation.
The better part of the day, they had a very hard time controlling her pain. He told me later he believed that to also be cancer related, rather than from the surgery (I’m not so sure of that now…).
He did show up later that afternoon. He discussed it with Mom but the entire time, I could see she was thinking it was in her uterus and not realizing the bigger picture.
I left late that night and Jessa stayed with her at the hospital.
The next morning, I left the house at 4 to be back at the hospital at 5 when he said he would be back to visit with her. I had many questions.
Before he came in the nurse came and removed her packing. This was a very uncomfortable experience for her. I was glad it was out and thought it might actually make her more comfortable.
When he arrived, he pulled a chair over to her bedside. He asked her how she was doing and if she remembered the discussions they had the day before.
She said she did, but I was so thankful when he decided to go over everything again. I had many questions. The one that stands out most was “if you didn’t do lab work, how do you know this is actually cancer?”. His explanation was that after finding the mass, they decided to keep my mom sedated long enough to send it to the lab with one question- is this cancer, yes or no. The answer came back yes.
The following is a portion of the email I sent out that afternoon:
February 14, 2013
We’re leaving the hospital today. Mama is distant and unhappy.
The doctor came in today. She’s not as medicated. He explained again that there was this mass in the of her abdomen. “It wasn’t part of the uterus. That means the cancer has traveled. Unfortunately, this means you have stage 4 cancer.”, he said.
She sat quietly. I had told her all of this over and over as she asked the day before, she was so heavily medicated. At one time she did say, “I’m going to lose my hair”.