Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Eleven Months, Three Weeks, Two Days...But Who Is Counting?

Eleven months, three weeks, and two days ago, I went into the surgery that would save and dramatically change my life.  I went in with the knowledge that during the surgery, I "might" be getting a trach put in, but really, I would only need it for a month or so, while I recovered.  Here's what I have learned about cancer:  nothing ever goes as planned.

Eleven months, three weeks, and two days ago my trach went in...and today, finally, it came out.  (I'll pause here for the applause and cheers!!!) 

I was anxious heading to the doctor today, knowing that he was going to torture scope me, and figure out if today was the day.  I had been here before.  There was that day in April when I thought it was coming out, but the decision was made to leave it in for radiation.  There was another appointment in July when I was sure he was going to take it out, but alas, I was mistaken.  And so I waited...and waited...and waited.  I followed directions and did what I was supposed to do.  And still, it stayed.  Nothing EVER goes as planned. 

Sensing my frustration a few weeks ago, my hero doctor decided to torture me in a different way and put me on Prednisone, in an attempt to get the swelling in my airway to finally, finally go away.  While the side effects of the Prednisone leave a lot to be desired (seriously...have you ever heard the molecules in your body moving?  All of them?) I can't argue with the results.  Within a few days I was eating (a little) more, tolerating the cap in my trach longer...this stuff really works!  By the end of the 15 day course of treatment, I was using the cap for a full 24 hours at a time, all day and all night.  That was the requirement for trach removal.

That brings us to today.  First the scope...big thumbs up (still a little swelling, but not enough to bother with the trach anymore) and then it took him about 5 seconds to take the darn thing out.  I had built this up in my head to be such a big moment...and it was over before I could blink!  No stitches, just a few steristrips to close up the hole (which Steve did take a picture of...however, I don't think that is a pic that will ever see the light of day!) and then he spent a few minutes showing my darling husband how to tape me up.  The whole thing was a bit anticlimactic.  Which I suppose I should be thankful for...given that there were an awful lot of really exciting but not pleasant moments this year.

I thought I would be dancing and celebrating tonight...and I am, in my head.  But the reality is, having a trach for very nearly a year means my body has some adjusting to do.   This is almost the last hurdle (feeding tube is next...) before I can really say I am done with this whole thing.  The important part, even if I'm not quite ready to celebrate it, is that I made my goal.  I was determined to get this thing out of me before I hit my one year surgery anniversary.  Eleven months, three weeks, two days...okay, so I like to cut things close!

All the complaining I did this year about my trach, I do have to give it a little credit.  It kinda sorta kept me alive during this whole ordeal.  Without it, there would have been very little breathing.  So, I guess I have to put the trach in my thankful column.  Thankful that it existed to keep me breathing, thankful that I am healthy enough to not need it anymore.  It's a win-win in my book!

One week from today, I go back to my doc so he can check to see how the hole in my neck is closing.  One week from today is the one year anniversary of my surgery.  One week from today I can check that anniversary off, mark it done and move on.  And I can delight in the return to normalcy around here (at this moment my youngest is marching around in jeans, no shirt, and one sock...yep, things are definitely getting back to normal!)  But I'm not making any big plans.  I'm going to take things one day at a time, savoring each deep breath. 

Love and sparkles (and delightful deep breaths the nontrach way!),

P.S  For those of you still cheering and can stop now!

P.P.S.  For all of my peeps who just finished Chanukah...congrats and Happy Chanukah!  I hope your candles danced brightly and you shared latkes with all those you love.  For all my peeps who are getting ready for Christmas, I wish you a peaceful, love filled holiday.  And for the peeps who celebrate something else...Happy Holidays!!!

(And for all of you who are still cheering and's okay to stop now!)


Samantha Barber said...

Woooooo! Still cheering and applauding over here!! So happy for you!

Samantha Barber said...

Woooooo! Still cheering and applauding over here!! So happy for you!