November 05, 2014

A Happy Conclusion

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This is a story about my rebellious body and its apparent desire to stage a full-blown mutiny as of late.
Stupid body. I'm kind of sick of it (no pun intended).
The story started here.
And (hopefully), it's finally reaching its conclusion.
So here it goes.
As many people know (especially if you read the link above), I ended up in the ER this summer, and found out that I had a tumor on the rib underneath my right shoulder blade. We had it biopsied, and the results came back "inconclusive" (of course). All they knew was that the mass was growing and that it had to come out.
After being shuffled between a couple of specialists, I was finally able to see a cardiothoracic surgeon at the end of August. Not the best of appointments, I tell ya. I left feeling pretty discouraged, and really scared. There was no way to tell if the mass was cancerous or not, and my surgeon was concerned. Not something you want to hear from your doctor, believe me! I would have to go in for surgery...and soon. Unfortunately, the school year was starting the following week, and there was no way that I could go in for surgery right away. So, my doctor let me put it off for a few weeks. Those weeks flew by, and before I knew it, I was in pre-op the day before my surgery. I thought the initial appointment was bad. It was nothing compared to this one. When your nurse tells you that you won't be able to wash your hair, use the restroom, get dressed, or shower by yourself for up to six weeks, you get a little nervous. Then, when she tells you that if this surgery doesn't go well, you'll go in for a second one where they'll crack open your sternum to remove the rest of the tumor? You cry. A lot.
So imagine my nerves when, on September 19th, I went under the knife.
Let me just tell you that nothing can prepare you for the aftereffects of major surgery. Nothing.
To put it succinctly: it sucks. Like, royally sucks.
Upon awakening, my husband informed of the good news: they were able to remove the whole lemon-sized mass. They got everything in the first shot.
But they had to remove most of rib right along with it.
Eh. Not what I wanted to hear.
I spent three fuzzy days in the ICU, and three more in the surgery wing. Chest tubes, IV's, epidurals, Percocet, a thoracentesis (you should look that one up), Dilaudid, oxygen, x-rays, blood work, breathing exercises, cat scans, get the idea. After a week of awful pain, no showers, disgusting food, and sleep that was interrupted every hour throughout the night, I was finally able to go home.
For anyone who has ever spent anytime in the hospital, you'll understand the sentiment that there is honestly no place like home. Even though I was in more pain than I had ever been in my life, couldn't move, had to sleep sitting up, and was bored out of my mind, I was happy to be home. And let me tell you, you don't realize how much someone loves you until they take care of EVERY basic human need for you, and do so willingly. My mom and my husband were my salvation. I don't know what I would have done without them in those first couple of weeks. Died, probably. Because this girl couldn't even get out of bed by herself, let alone make a sandwich.
And then, ten days after the surgery, I got the long-awaited call from my doctor.
The diagnosis?
Fibrous Dysplasia. A congenital bone disorder that often affects one bone in a person's lifetime (usually the skull or femur, so I dodged a bullet on that one).
Benign (still one of my new favorite words).
Not cancerous.
So you see, a happy ending to this not so happy story.
The Lord really does answer prayers and comforts us when we are in need. I know that for a fact.
It has now been over six weeks since my surgery, and I am finally back on my feet, back to work, and back in my right frame of mind. I'm definitely not back to full capacity, but I'm getting there and taking it one day at a time.
Now, if my body decides to go haywire on me anytime in the near future, it's going to get a stern talking-to, because I'm ready to be healthy again, and plan to stay that way for a LONG time.

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