06 May 2011

Day 4: The doctor's appointment, the pain pumps, and comments

I had an appointment today to get my pain pumps and dressings.  Pain pumps are these fat grenade-like balls filled with pain meds, and they are sutured into your skin and distribute medication into your incision.  Along with your drains, you carry around a pouch with your pain pumps...and as the meds are used up, the grenades become smaller.  So today the sutures came out and the tubing was pulled out of the incision....and pulled, and pulled and pulled.  It was wild...maybe 15" of tubing X 2 were removed.  Apparently, the tubes have holes in them (kind of like a tiny irrigation hose) and the tubes are laced throughout your incision to give you pain relief.  I do miss the pain relief, but I don't miss carrying them around.

My abdominal incision was unwrapped today as well.  It's healing really well, but I look like Sally from Nightmare before Christmas with a zipper of stiitches going from one hip to the other.  The drains are still doing their thing and will remain in til at least Wednesday.  The breast is bruised but healing fine.  And I'm still really sore and hurting, on pain meds, and unable to do much.

Along with all this, I wanted to write a little about comments.  I know it's really awkward when talking to someone who has cancer, or has undergone surgery because of cancer.  But as difficult as it is, it's also hard on the person.  I talk to family and friends on the phone and I get comments like, "You sound great!  You sound so energetic and happy!  I'm glad you're doing so well."  Or something like that.  I know the caller has good intention.  But the truth is, you don't feel energetic and happy.  You've had a body part that you were born with cut out of you.  It hurts to sit down, stand up, walk, lie down.  Emotionally, you have highs and lows.  You have had cancer.  Is it in the past?  Did they get it all?  Will the pathology report show more in the nodes?  Yes, there's relief because the surgery is behind you.  The worst is over.  But now there's a lot of healing to do...physically and emotionally.  So as encouraging as the comment may seem, it's really not as comforting as intended.

So what do you say?  Just ask, "how are you feeling?" And listen.  Ask if there's anything you can do?  Pick up anything from the market?  Help with anything?  And unless you're immediate family, wait a few weeks before saying you want to come over for a visit, and understand when your idea to visit isn't met with the same enthusiasm.  I know in my case, I can't even get dressed most days, let alone pick up my house.  The idea of having visitors is too much at this point.  Lastly, know that your friend loves you, and appreciates your friendship so much, but this thing that she's going through..it's not always black and white.


KiaRobin said...

Thank you for answering the question, "what do I say?" The truth is, we (the friend, family) are glad that you (the survivor)are here, this very moment, and every moment up till now, alive and breathing and being a wonderful piece of our lives. Knowing that we are all a heartbeat away from leaving this world, and being reminded of that isn't easy, for any of us to handle well. I personally send you my love, and my prayers for healing and acceptance and the strength to fight on!

Pomegranate & Eye said...

KiaRobin, thank you so much for your comment and for your support and prayers. You said it beautifully, and I hope I didn't come off at all as being unappreciative to my friends and family because that wasn't my intent at all.
Prayers, love and support and always appreciated...at any time. : )
Thank you again!

Anonymous said...

I am glad I am not the only one with scars. Mine was from an ovarian cancer scare when I was 19. The tumor was benign, but they would come back here and there. Hopefully they will stay benign. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Mk said...

Hi Anushy! I Love & think about you often. Thank you for sharing your life with us :)