Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Home Home Home

I made it home Saturday afternoon and am now slowly rebuilding my strength surrounded by my beloved family.

The surgery went well and without complications. We won’t know for sure until we get the pathology report but the surgeon said the feel of the tumor led him to believe there is still live cancer in the section he removed, rather than all necrosis. So that’s a bummer, and may mean more targeted radiation to the area left behind. But we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

This was one of the scarier hills I have tackled over my 5+ years with metastatic cancer. There is an awful calculus that patients go through, deciding what we would be willing to give up for more time on earth. What deficits will we accept for more days? What makes life worth living? What risks will we accept for the hope of another year?

The amazing Jason stayed by my side at the hospital, sleeping (or attempting to sleep) in a non-reclining chair, which frankly doesn’t seem possible at all. But I dearly appreciated his company as I transitioned out of the weird post-surgery twilight into the early steps of recovery.

Now that I’m home, I’m totally focused on recovery. The main things are regaining my steadiness, balance, and coordination. There are subtle changes that I’m noticing, like how my handwriting looks different, though I am very pleased to see that I can still knit. Overall, I’m having to learn to move at turtle pace, rather than my preferred lighting speed. An interesting perspective shift which is probably a good life lesson. As always, I’m not sure why I have to find such hard ways to learn these lessons.

I am looking forward to tapering off these steroids and the messed up sleep and puffiness they bring.

Check out my amazing post-surgery hairdo! My Mum spent a solid hour soaking out the glue that had held the sensors in place, and which had dried into gooey, itchy chunks. She is staying with us for a bit and her help has been invaluable (far beyond just getting glue out of my hair).

The support from folks has been absolutely vital and humbling. The meals, the puzzle books, the well-wishes and prayers. All of these have allowed me to focus on healing, knowing I have a community pitching in to help! If you still want to sign up, I’ve added a few more meal requests to the Lotsa Helping Hands site. We are the “Tomalia Support Team” and our zip code is 48104.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Batten Down the Hatches

I saw my surgeon on Monday and all systems are go for brain surgery on Thursday, October 4.

I’m oscillating between being incredibly nervous and remarkably calm.

Acute recovery will be anywhere from 2-5 days in the hospital, and he estimates 4-8 weeks of slowly rebuilding my strength. His calm demeanor is buoying my optimism; he kept saying this is straight forward and he doesn’t anticipate any problems.

In the mean time, we have been trying to get everything ready at home, for the family, the kiddos, the business. I’ve been feeling a very literal need to get my house in order to prepare for this event. As a fairly behind-the-scenes person, I feel like most of what I do is make sure things keep moving smoothly - like a player in curling, rushing about sweeping a clear path for that granite stone to get where it needs to be.

As the surgery nears and my to-do list gets shorter, the primary thing I need to do is hand over the reins to all the trusted members of my team. A strange and liberating feeling.

Many heartfelt thanks to all the people who have reached out to offer help, meals, prayers, and well wishes. My friend Meriah is organizing all of this through Lotsa Helping Hands, so if you would like to join the “Tomalia Support Team” to learn about practical ways you could help, visit the website and you can learn more (our zip code is 48104).

I will happily accept any thoughts and prayers for strength to me and my family, and for my surgeon to have steady hands and a clear mind on Thursday!