Aggressive Brightsiding - Surgery Edition

I had my surgery yesterday and now I'm home resting. I'm feeling pretty low so here is some aggressive brightsiding to try to lift my mood. 

- Heated blankets. I don't know why I love these so much but whenever I'm in the hospital, I make it my mission to have a constant rotation of heated blankets. They're just plain flannel sheets that are folded and stacked in a blanket oven but I freaking love them so much. After my surgery I had the chills and one of the recovery nurses stacked six heated blankets on top of me. It was bliss (apart from all the pain and bleeding).

- I did not have a single panic attack. Not when I went under and not when I came out. It was actually the smoothest general anesthetic I've ever had.

- It only took two tries to get my IV in. I have rolly veins. I don't actually know what that means but it usually takes 3-4 attempts to get an IV going (my record is five. Shout out to the paramedic trainee who will probably never forget me and my rolly, gushy veins.) Yesterday the nurse got my IV in on her second attempt and I didn't even get woozy.  

- After my IV was placed, Shawn sat with me for about half an hour while we waited for the operating room to be ready. Our parking expired, and we were told I'd be heading in in the next five minutes, so I told Shawn to go. And then there was another delay and I waited 45 minutes by myself. Normally this would be the perfect time for an anxiety spiral of doom but instead I tried some of the coping techniques my therapist has been working on with me. I was anxious but did not panic. I was able to identify my anxious thoughts and calm myself. It was so gratifying to see my hard work paying off.

- One of the recovery nurses was a goddamn hoot. She's been a nurse for 48 years. She retired years ago but is called in for casual work when there's a shortage. She gives not a solitary fuck. Y'all, she was amazing. She gave the patients identifying nicknames, which is probably something nurses do when talking amongst themselves, but she referred to us openly as "frozen guy," "throat bleeder," and "little lamb," etc. (I was little lamb or lambikins. I don't know why.) While reviewing my discharge info with us, she told Shawn to "take matters into his own hands" when going over sex restrictions.

 - We are surrounded by love and support. It has been a huge comfort to know how wide our circle of support is. I am basically one step up from useless right now but my people have stepped up to handle it. It is a huge weight off my mind to know that we've got oodles of backup. 

 

A List of Very Good Things

  • On Friday night Shawn played a gig with his funk cover band and his mom came over to babysit the kids so I could go. It was a great night. The band sounded amazing, the vibe of the venue was weird but in a good way, and the friends who joined us made me laugh so hard I cried multiple times. It was exactly what I needed.
  • On Saturday, my parents, sisters, and all the niblings came over for a pizza party. It was chaotic. It was noisy. It was messy. It was perfect. I didn't tell Grady his cousins were coming over until they surprised him by walking through the door. Poppy was jazzed to have five extra kids in the house to watch her antics. I needed a nap after they all left but it put a huge smile on my face for the rest of the weekend. 
  • Tulips. It freaking snowed on Saturday. Spring is nowhere near. But the tulips are out, spreading joy with little bursts of happy colour. Tulips are one of my favourite flowers because they mean winter is almost over. I can't explain the joy I feel when I see the first tulips of the season.
  • Canadian health care. It's not perfect and I know we pay a bunch of tax so it's not technically "free" but last week I: took Poppy to the allergist for allergy testing, took Grady to the ultrasound lab for a kidney/bladder ultrasound, had pre-surgery bloodwork done at the hospital lab, and tomorrow I am having surgery. This is costing us $0 out of pocket. I am so grateful to live in a place with universal healthcare. I have been a mess for weeks, worrying about various components of my family's health. I can't imagine adding a financial component on top of everything else.
  • These cookies. I don't often make peanut butter cookies because of Poppy's allergies but a friend mentioned this recipe yesterday and it sounded so good I had to give it a try. I inhaled three cookies as soon as they came out of the oven and I'm taking the rest to work today so they're not in my house around Pops. Do yourself a favour and make a double batch.
  • Over the last few weeks, people have reached out to me and my family to offer support, encouragement, meals, distraction, childcare, and more. I am so grateful for my village (both in real life and online). I can't adequately express how much it means to me that people are willing to be there for me and for my family. I haven't always been great at responding (sometimes I've already explained my surgery three times that day and I just can't do it again) but I've read every message and am holding them all in my heart. My surgery is tomorrow and try as I might, I can't make time stand still. If you can spare some good thoughts tomorrow late morning, I'm happily accepting all love, light, and good vibes. 

A List of Things That Scare Me

  • General Anaesthesia. This will be the sixth time in five years I am put under general anaesthesia. I hate it. My body fights going under. I have woken up screaming. I have woken up vomiting. I have woken up being restrained by nurses because I was trying to claw my way out of the bed. I am disturbed by the thought of being put under again (and that doesn't even touch on all the "put under and never woke up" story arcs on medical dramas).
  • The surgery itself. Things go wrong. Bleeding happens. Infection happens. Bad things can happen when you are cut open.
  • The results. I've been told the mass growing on my ovary has about a 2% chance of being malignant. Which is a very small chance, I know. But it took six months to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer and during that six months I was told by many medical professionals I had a 5-10% chance of actually having cancer. Spoiler alert: I had cancer. I find no comfort in numbers right now.
  • The weather. Y'all, it has been a long, hard winter. And even as we stumble toward spring, the weather forecast is calling for more snow this weekend. I don't want to miss summer. If something goes wrong with this surgery, my last glimpse of the outdoors cannot be another grey, dreary winter day.
  • My babies. This is the big one. The hardest one. I don't know what's worse: knowing that if something goes wrong with the surgery it will mess Grady up something fierce, or knowing that if something goes wrong with the surgery Poppy won't remember me. It's uncomfortable to talk about, and to be completely honest I don't want to talk about it with anyone who is not my therapist, but writing is a form of therapy for me so here I am. I am really scared that something is going to go wrong with my surgery and I am going to miss out on watching my babies grow up. They're the coolest humans I know and I want to hang out with them for as long as I can. I'm scared I won't get that opportunity.  

One more week of feelings vomit, lovelies. I apologize in advance. Thanks for being here. 

Dates

I was supposed to have surgery today but a few weeks ago the date was changed to late April, and then it was changed again to late March. My anxiety is...not so great right now. 

I don't know how to explain it to Grady. Poppy is delightfully oblivious. And I'm stuck in a bit of a doom spiral, fluctuating between breezy and terrified, fine one minute and crying the next.  

It's kind of a weird place to be. I try not to wish time away but this next week cannot be over soon enough.