Monday, April 12, 2010

Lucky Twelve

Today is the anniversary of my colon resection. Three years ago today, I was in surgery getting seven inches of my gut cut out. It hurt, too, after I was taken off the epidural a few days later.

I know this is my anniversary because my calendar tells me so. And Bob's calendar tells him so.

Last week I was cleaning out my cubicle which had gotten completely out of control. I looked through notebooks and notes, trying to determine which to dump.

That's when I found the notes I took (in red ink because that was the pen nearest my editor's hand) when the surgeon Dr. Brems called me at my office on a Monday morning. The notes say: [Dr. Brems] large tumor--cancer. Descending colon. Thursday (the day he wanted to operate because he had a cancellation.) 4-5 days (how long I would be in the hospital.) take things out. 2 hrs. 3-4 weeks (recuperation from surgery). CAT scan need done. size of golf ball. Tuesday-outpatient 3rd floor (meet with him to discuss).

I remember the conversation, but not much else that went on that day. Kate, my colleague and friend, said she remembers the day vividly. She said we were driving in from our designers that morning and I told her I thought I had cancer. She asked me if I was a doctor, and I said I googled the symptoms, and I just knew it (according to her report). She apparently looked askance.

(Actually, I had no symptoms, but I had my first colonoscopy the week before and they discovered a mass. A mass in your colon is usually a tumor.)

Then when we got into the office I got THE CALL. She said I was crying (I thought I was pretty stoic on the phone, but apparently I cried when I told her.) She asked me if I wanted to go home and tell Bob, and I said yes. She walked me to my car, and came back up to the office. She said when she got back to the office, everybody was looking down or had their headphones on. Of course, everyone heard my conversation with the doctor; we're in cubicles. (Not known for privacy, but at least it's blatant, unlike offices, where you also have no privacy because people can hear through the walls, but you think you do.)

Then she told our executive director that we needed to figure out what to do because I was probably going to be out of the office for a few weeks.

And here I sit, pretty healthy for a decrepit 53.5-year-old. I thumb daily through the What's Your Poo Telling You calendar my sister gave me for Christmas. I'm happy, gainfully employed, and I have health insurance. Thank God.

Others are not so lucky, and I often wonder, very often, why I am so lucky. And I often pray, very often, that my luck holds out.


Marisa @ Getting Back To Basics said...

My mom died of colon cancer when she was 47 so it is never far from my mind. Last year I started what I hope to be yearly post...I call them "bum plugs" in an attempt to spread the word on the importance of early colon screening.I would love it if you could stop over for a visit at "Getting Back To Basics" and grab my "Live Your Life...Get Tested!" badge from my sidebar and add it to yours with a link to my post:

My second "Bum Plug" will be posted on April 29th.

Please help me spread awareness.

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