The eleven days leading from my diagnosis to my cancer surgery were filled with activity: working, doing laundry, cleaning the house, cooking meals, seeing my therapist, talking to various friends and family members and trying to keep myself together (that was pretty much a full time job for a while there). I was busy all the time although I felt I was just going through the motions.
As the day of my surgery drew closer the weather looked as if it would be pretty bad. I became extremely worried about getting to the hospital on time for my surgery (we live about 30 minutes away). When an ice storm was predicted we decided we would stay in a hotel in Charlotte that is just a few miles from the hospital. My surgery time was moved from 12:30 p.m. to 10:30 a.m., which was just fine with me. The sooner the better! We dropped the dog off at a friend’s house and drove into the city in a light ice storm. Neither one of us gave a thought to bringing any food with us but there was a lovely (and expensive) restaurant above the hotel. The waiter was personable and chatty and said, “I just love talking about food!” but we weren’t interested. I’m sure he wondered what our story was, as pretty much everyone else there was celebrating the bad weather and having a great time. W and I were eating and staring out the window and making a little conversation. I couldn’t manage coffee or dessert (if I can’t eat dessert something is very wrong!).
The last hotel we’d been in before this was in Spain. The rooms there are much smaller. The room at this hotel had a long hallway that looked like a bowling alley! We kept laughing about how three year old grandson C would love to run up and down the hall and play with a plastic bowling set there. The room had a really nice view and was very comfortable but we weren’t really in the mood to enjoy it. The ice was still coming down but we were safe and sound in the hotel. I had to take a five minute shower with a special antibacterial soap and then we settled down to sleep. I wasn’t sure I would sleep much at all but I did.
The next morning I had to take another five minute antibacterial shower and we packed up our stuff and headed out. There was quite a lot of ice on the sidewalks and roads but very few people or cars. The valet got our car for us and we got underway. I was glad there was so little traffic. W is good at driving in adverse conditions and we had no problems. I was just relieved to get to the hospital safely and on time.
My kids, mom and brother had all planned to come to the hospital but the weather was too dicey for everyone except our son, who spent the night at our house. He arrived in plenty of time to see me and I also got to get a message to R letting her know I was doing fine. At one point I cried a little from worry about what the doctor would find and the nurse thought I was afraid of the surgery and reassured me they would take good care of me. I was never worried about that. I’ve been at this hospital before and they are wonderful.
When my surgeon/oncologist came in I told her “a lot of people are praying for you today.” I don’t know what her religious beliefs are but I told her anyway. She said she was glad. We talked a little more about the surgery and I asked about a colon resection, because I didn’t have to do any nasty bowel prep. She explained that it’s much easier to clean up solid waste than liquid (sorry if that’s TMI), so they don’t ask for bowel prep anymore. She also said she didn’t expect to have to do a colon resection.
W and M and I held hands and prayed before I went to surgery. I was so glad they were together. It would have been a really long wait for W alone. He and our son are close and I know M’s presence meant a lot to him.