I checked into the hospital at 5:45am on May 23rd. I sat in the waiting room with my husband and my parents, and other patients and their families. A lot of people were holding hands, quietly talking. You could tell who were the patients by the looks on their faces. Fear. Uncertainty. Sadness. It was eerie that a room with so many people in it could be so quiet.
I was called in the first group to be taken to prepare for surgery. They took me to a room that had many beds in it, each separated by a privacy curtain. There I changed into a hospital gown and then proceeded to lock myself in the bathroom for several minutes. I didn’t need to use the bathroom, I just needed to feel some level of control. I took a few trips to the bathroom just to feel that I could control something. Just to be able to lock a door between me and what was coming. Even if just for 3 minutes. But I knew I couldn’t hide forever. Not if I wanted to live. If I wanted to live, I had to risk dying. The cancer could not stay.
The nurse started my IV, and began giving me medicines. This one is for nausea, to help you not feel sick when you come out of anesthesia. This one is an antibiotic. This other one is also an antibiotic. This one is to help you relax. That one is an amnesiac, so you will forget all the horrible things we’re about to do to you.
I spoke with my surgeon, Dr. Sherman. I asked him if he slept well. He did. I had prayed that he would be well rested and have a good night. Then the anesthesiologist came. At first I was a little alarmed because he appeared to be very young. For some reason he reminded me a lot of my little brother. That actually helped me feel better. And I thought, if he is young, then he is trained on the most current technology and knowledge. Maybe in some cases that is better than experience. I’m glad that my surgeon has a lot of experience.
The nurse gave me the amnesiac and asked if I wanted the chaplain. I did. But it was too early. He wasn’t there. Instead she let both my husband and my mother come in. She was only supposed to let one person in, and they had to hide behind the curtain so the other patients wouldn’t see that she bent the rules for me. They prayed with me.
After a little time I was wheeled out. I remember entering the operating room. There were around 6 people in there, all in scrubs. I didn’t recognize anyone. Maybe it was the medicine, or maybe because they had face masks on. I knew one of them had to be my surgeon and the other the anesthesiologist. Hanging from the ceiling where these three round things with lights clustered in them. To the right of me were several flat panel monitors, showing color bars (like color tests you would see on TV years ago when the station would turn off for the night). There was a table on the left side of the room with a radio on it. It was playing a song “Marry that girl”. I thought it looked more like a party room than an operating room. I laughed so hard and said “Hey, they played this song at my wedding party!” and the doctor next to me said “Do you want us to dance?” and I said “YES!” He laughed and said “You won’t remember this anyway” and they started dancing. I said “But I WANT to remember this!!”
That’s the only thing I remember. I don’t remember them knocking me out. I don’t remember anything after saying that. That was my last memory. The next thing I knew was pain.
In the recovery room I could hear a lot of other people. It sounded like other patients, and nurses. I couldn’t open my eyes. Pain. So much pain. I couldn’t speak. I could only moan. So I moaned. I remember a nurse asking me if I was in pain. I still couldn’t open my eyes or speak. So I just moaned again. She gave me something for pain. I don’t remember much from the recovery room.
They wheeled me into the hospital room. My mom told me I just kept looking around and saying “I’m alive. I’m alive.” as they brought me into the room.
Praise God. I’m alive.