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  • Writer's pictureOC Warrior Queen

The Journey to Healing

I can't believe it's already been a week since the operation! Just 8 days ago, I was in an operating room, ready to have a "suspicious mass" extracted from my body.


And now, it's done! It's out! Just knowing that feels so good.


The doctors did an excellent job with stitches. I am healing well and I feel myself getting more and more of my mobility back each day!


Here's how it went.


Surgery Day

I woke up at 4:30 am on April 20th, took a shower with a special antibacterial body wash, and off we went to the hospital with my suitcase.


I had packed my suitcase as if I was going to an all-inclusive spa retreat, and well, in a way, I like to think that that's exactly what I went to do. If removing a mass from my body doesn't count as detox, what does? Am I right? Lol.


We arrived at the hospital around 6 am. Once there, I had a blood test and was then sent to the pre-op area, where I was given a gown and a hair net to wear. Très chic!


At around 8 am, my husband was told to take all of my belongings, including himself, back home and return around 1:30 pm. For some reason, we didn't realize that it was just a "drop off" and that we didn't need to bring everything in the morning.


We hugged, kissed, said "see you later" and I was wheeled away on a bed by a kind and soft-spoken attendant. I was brought to the waiting area alongside 3 other people waiting for their turn for surgery.


After maybe 20 minutes, I was brought to the door of my operating room, and waited another few minutes before meeting my anasthesiologist.


So much waiting...


I think waiting alone is probably the worst part. You have too much time on your hands to overthink, worry, and panic.


I'm so glad I was well prepared. A few nights before surgery, I had watched a tiktok of an anaesthesiologist talking about the importance of your mindset before going under general anaesthesia. He explained that people that are fearful and anxious before surgery, wake up in a similar state and have a harder time recovering, and managing pain.


Knowing this, I decided to give myself 3 simple phrases to repeat in my head whenever I had too much time on my hands.


I am calm and confident
I trust the surgeons and this surgery will be successful
I am resilient and will heal quickly

Every time I had to wait, I just said those phrases, took deep breaths and honestly, at one point I really deeply believed in what I was saying.


Once in the OR, I saw my oncologist and her team. She was ready to perform this surgery and the atmosphere in the room was positive and uplifting. It smelled like success!


She approached me, held my hand and asked: "How are you feeling right now?"


I calmly replied: "I trust you and your team. I am feeling zen."

She was quite surprised to hear me say the word zen. Who says that before a surgery? She said it was the first time someone said that to her on an OR table. I'm glad I was her first!


The last thing I remember is sitting up while they placed the epidural in my back.


Waking Up

"I'm thirsty. I'm going to throw up. I need to pee."


That's the first thing I remember saying as I was waking up, followed by someone placing ice chips in my mouth.


It was probably around 11:30 am when I started to wake up. My eyes still felt too heavy to open, and I recall nodding or shaking my head as the nurses asked me questions. And at one point, they told me to use my voice but boy was I tired. I went back to sleep.


My eyes finally opened at around 1:30 pm. The first thing I looked at was the chair in my room. I was so happy to find what I was looking for, my husband.


Relieved and happy to see him, the first word that came out of my mouth in that moment was: "Chéri!!!"



Recovery

At one point during that blurry afternoon, my oncologist came by to check in on me and to let me know how surgery went.


I was tired but felt positive and in good spirits because the fact that I was awake, talking, and simply existing was enough proof of success. I was ready to hear what happened during surgery and what was next.


Turns out the mass was a little larger than the images led to believe. It was about the size of a grapefruit! Once removed, they were able to do a quick analysis to see that, unfortunately it was in fact cancerous.


This meant that they had to perfom a complete hysterectomy, including the removal of both ovaries. Hello, surgical menopause! It's like playing a twisted game of womanhood monopoly, but you don't get to pass go and collect $200!


I could see how difficult it was for my oncologist to break this news to me. As if she had stolen something or destroyed a part of me on purpose. I felt bad that she felt bad. I am content and happy as a mom of two kids. Our family is complete, and those parts of my body served me well.


I am okay with this reality.

And, it's not like she put the cancer there herself. If anything, I am grateful to her because she took this intruder out of my body, and potentially gifted me with a chance to live cancer-free! How could I feel anything other than gratitude towards this woman?


Yes, there was collateral damage, but that's the case in any battle.


Maybe it was easy for me to accept this because for some unknown reason, I already knew deep down inside that it was cancerous and was mentally prepared to hear that everything had to be decommissioned.


So, I did what I do when I feel someone's pain or discomfort. I make them laugh. I replied with: "Well, the upside is that we won't need to worry about contraception, right?"


We both laughed and agreed that right now, my mission was to focus on healing from the surgery and rebuilding my strength.


Feeling Grateful

I was in the hospital for 4 nights and am so grateful for the hardworking women and men that choose to work as nurses and attendants for a living. It is not an easy job.


Let's just say that people in pain, can be a pain! Pain doesn't always bring out the best side of humans, but these folks have to remain professional and continue to care for complete strangers regardless of whether they are grateful or not.


I have so much respect for them and because I was in good spirits, I gave myself a mini mission to let them know how great they were any chance I got.


A little "Hey, I just wanted to say, you are doing such a good job. Thank you for taking care of me," goes a long way.


You can tell they don't often hear these words because more than once, they'd have a look of surprise on their face, as if they hadn't heard someone acknowledge them or thank them in a while. There was one nurse that even replied with, "Thank you for saying this. You have no idea how good it feels to hear this, especially because another patient just told me to get lost a few moments ago!"


It felt good to connect with these fine folks and to make them feel appreciated. It gave me a purpose beyond the healing while I was at the hospital.


In addition to the doctors and the amazing team of nurses and attendants that took care of me, I am so moved by everyone that reached out, sent well wishes, and prayed for me.


We don't realize how many lives we've touched until something like this happens, and I'm so grateful to know I didn't have to carry this burden alone. All of you were there in spirit to carry it with me, and yes it made a difference. It made it a little lighter, and it allowed me to be calm and confident. Thank you!


In 3 to 4 weeks, I will meet my oncologist once she's received the full results of the biopsy and we'll build a plan together for the next steps.


My goal right now is to focus on recovering from surgery and preparing my mind, body, and soul for whatever the next steps may be.


Thanks again for reading and for all your love and support. It means the world to me. It's my fuel.


Alvina,

OC Warrion Queen



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29 kwi 2023


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