Friday, August 16, 2013

Two weeks post op- and doing well! Mother however...

Today is 2 weeks post op from my emergency surgery on 8/2 (for the full story, see my 8/7/2013 post) to remove a Fallopian tumor the size of a honeydew melon or a medium sized, fully inflated balloon, and I was released from the hospital 4 days later.

Friends stayed with my until I could be on my own, and the cards, the flowers, the fruit baskets, the other deliveries, the texts, calls and emails have been wonderful, and overwhelming in a very touching way.   The support, comments and emails from my readers has also been so appreciated.  

The first day home, I was EXHAUSTED.  But, I knew that my hoarding mother would unleash all kinds of crazy if I did not let her know I was out of the hospital.  (She had tracked me down and was calling the land line at the hospital during my stay... and I feared she might call my best friend who called her after surgery, might call my work... who knows...)

I called her.  I let her know I was home, that my good friend had picked me up, and another friend was en route... and that folks were 'sharing' time until my friend arrived from out of the area, where she would be staying for a few days.  My mother began to immediately go on about the last time she spoke to me, how bad I sounded, how the call quality was so bad, how she could not believe I had the phone up to my mouth... and on and on about nothing.  I advised her that I was quite worn out, and was going to bed.  

"Well- I need to inform you of one important thing that I did not tell you earlier before you get off here, so wait just a minute."

Make it quick.  I am fading and my incision is screaming at me at the moment.

"Remember the wind-chimes that your father's mother had?"  


"Remember the scale my mother had to weigh clothing before she put it into the washer?"

Huh?  NO!

2 more questions of that nature...

Get. To. The. Point.  I am hanging up in 90 seconds.

"Well!  Guess where all those items are!  Those wind chimes are yours, and were [buried in the garage hoard for 24 years] in some stuff here.  They are on the thieving ba$t@rd's front porch.  I can see them from here!  I could just stand and watch as someone took a meat cleaver and sliced him into ..."

I hope he enjoys them.  They were god-awful ugly and were actually a gag gift for grandma.  I don't care.  Hanging up now.  <click>

A couple days later, I was going a bit stir crazy and my friend took me to a little pizza shop just a couple of miles down the road.  It wore me out, but I was glad to get out and do something 'normal'... even something as mundane as getting a pizza.  While my friend and I were there, a co-worker texted, and asked if she could call.  Long story short, mom called my place of business, and was fishing for information.  I called her and called her out on it, and she was minimizing, evasive, and quite bluntly, full of crap.  I ended the call.  Grrrrrr.

Last Tuesday I had my first follow up with my oncologist/surgeon.  I was hoping to receive my final pathology report on my massive tumor, and get some answers on my BP bottoming out and me passing out when getting out of bed in the morning.  I had also lost 10 lbs from when I was discharged from the hospital, and was losing a pound to two pounds a day.  The following day, I would have an appointment with my primary care physician.

I continue to be one of the luckiest people on earth.  Final path report... BENIGN.  I am going to be okay.  It was reinforced at the cancer center, and at my PCP's office by the staff stopping by to give me a hug, to ask questions, and to express how incredibly lucky I was, that I beat the odds.  Without the family history and my personal health history, there was a less than 15-16% chance that my tumor could be benign.  With the other factors... it looked even more grim.  And I get that.  I understand it, and I am still processing it... and suspect I will be for a while.  The other issues should resolve in time, and I was instructed to not lose any more weight (Um... OKAY... Not trying to lose any now)... and that the BP issue may resolve, and some very likely possible causes, and one of the other likely issues may NOT resolve.  I may have to sit on the edge of the bed for 5-10 minutes from here on out so I do not pass out when my feet hit the floor.  I can deal with that...

So... I call my hoarding mother to let her know the good news.  She is not home, and she no longer allows her answering machine to pick up.  So it just rings until the mechanical voice asks for the access code.  

I called her a couple of days later.  She had a litany of physical emergencies that had to be dealt with NOW!!! And were in the defcon range of mortality... for her.  A toothache from a loose filling... Suspicion that normal questions asked of her by the radiologist prior to her MRI were harbingers that she has a serious tumor too!  And the like.  The thing that sent this call off the reservation was she asked what I had posted on Facebook about this, as the neighbor 'down back' had called her from vacation and had asked if I was okay.  

"Well... I did not not know what you put on your Facebook thing so I just said that you had some sort of cyst and had it removed and things were okay now."  I advised her she could have just told her, it was not a secret... "Well-she hardly ever calls here and ..."  Never mind that.  I got my results back.  Final path was good.  And I need to go.  <click>

She cannot stop herself.  It always has to be about her, and nothing exists in this universe except as a supporting role in her life.  The neighbor called me.  She was concerned, and I told her the 'Cliff Notes' deal and she was horrified.  She was pissed that my hoarding mother made it sound like I had a skin cyst or something minimal removed, instead of major, major surgery.  She was frustrated at her secretiveness, and her inability to reach out and to seek support for herself.  She was also frustrated that my mother simply could not be a mother.  Could not come to help, could not focus on what I needed... just could not get out of her own way... or away from the hoard.

We had a lovely conversation, and the neighbor mentioned that my mother had went to the garage, was churning and fell.  She did not have any details, but mother had been referring to it somewhat obtusely yet dramatically.  I know that I am going to get whaled with it soon.

Again, I am so sorry that her life is so full of resentment, unhappiness, and lost opportunity that she cannot engage in anything other than her soul sucking narcissism.  I am 2 weeks into what will be at least 8 weeks of recovery.  And this has not been an easy one thus far, although I am doing very well, and will happily take what I get.  My recovery is not linear, and it sometimes is a large step forward, a half step back, an another step to the side, and forward again.  I am just so happy I am not:

  • Dealing with a cancer diagnosis
  • Dealing with radiation or chemo
  • Dealing with a diagnosis with a very poor viability 5 years out
  • Dealing with a colostomy and even more physical limitation and disfigurement
I am thrilled I am going to be OKAY.  Lisabeth now has a bit of a 'Frankenbelly' and I am grateful to that belly, and will give it the respect due it.  I am so happy my life is not transversed by a diagnosis 'before and after'.  

But- maybe there is a 'before and after' here.  I was in the center of the tornado, confronted by my worst fears for myself.  Hurting those I love by being sick, serious/terminal illness, disfigurement, leaving this earth and leaving my elderly cat and my 'tweak' cat, losing my career... losing everything I had spent a lifetime working towards that I used to define ME.  I again have had what is important, forcefully shown to me by threat of losing it all.  

Some of my friends refer to me as 'unbreakable' due to the things that happen, and that I often overcome to be in a better position.  I have laughingly referred to myself as more of a cat... (I will spare you the Maggie the Cat quote from 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' with Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor) and with some of the experiences posited I have used up about 5 of my 9 lives.  

I think this last challenge may have used lives number 6, 7, and 8.  I just might be on life number 9.  And I want it to be full, meaningful, and real.  I want to be happy.  I want to be able to be vulnerable when I need to.  I want to be brave when I need to... Not just because I have nothing else but that to give at the moment...  And you know what else I want? 

To do everything in my power to make this life COUNT.  

I am going to take the recovery time to heal my body, and not just the 8 or 9 inch mid line incision.  I also want to heal my core of ME.  

To be continued...


  1. Very glad to hear your incredible diagnosis. I hope you find a way to keep your mother at bay while you recover.

  2. Down here in Texas we are rooting for ya! keep it up!

  3. TC- Thank you so much. I am keeping her on a very long stick... only speaking to her maybe every third day if I have too. I am feeling better and better, and minimizing contact with her has (sadly) helped my stress level, which I know also impacts my healing.

    Lisa- Thank you! I need all the rooting I can get! And I am doing well. It is a bit hard to take things easy, but if I over-do I am pretty much down for a day or two, so I am gradually increasing my activity, walking, etc. One day at a time, and each day is better than the last.