I left the hospital on a Thursday and I knew my pathology reports would be in on Friday. You would expect to be told, but my surgeon said he wanted me to spend the next two weeks focusing on healing and recovery and not on the results of everything they removed from me.
We thought that odd, but once we realized how steep a climb recovery was going to be, we understood his logic. I needed to focus on getting better, not on what might happen 3 months from now. And little did I expect recovery take as much effort as it did. It really was my full time job and left me with little ability to do much else. It left my Type A personality desperate for my Type B personality to return from whatever vacation it was on.
The pain went in stages and at times was unreal. Nothing like I expected and it took far longer for me to recover than I assumed. I thought it would be quick and easy since I had bounced back from my c-sections with the greatest of ease. I would have never guessed that 3 weeks after surgery, I'd still be moving slow and setting alarms as reminders to take my pain meds.
Before my 2 week post-op could even arrive, I was back in the surgeon's office with an infection. I was amazed at the pain I was feeling on my right side, specifically where the camera port incision was made. It was just a little one inch incision, but the night before I was in tears over the pain it was causing. I didn't think that could be normal considering I was over a week post-op and my other, much larger incision wasn't giving me nearly the grief.
The following morning I finally decided to peel back the tiny piece of surgical tape and the oozing I felt explained it all. Back to the doctor we went and I prepared myself for the pain I'd expect as they "cleaned it out." I left their office with an open wound and within 24 hours it looked well on its way to healing. In all my vanity, I thought an infected wound would make for a nasty scar, but they assured me it wouldn't. The judges are still out.
A week later I was back and the surgeon removed the tape over my belly button. There she was, a flat, tight slit. There was still some swelling to go down, but I had a 3 inch incision straddling by new and improved belly button. Once the big reveal was over, it was time to go over results.
I'll admit that Kyle and I were expecting better news. Though we'd slightly prepared for the worst, I think we honestly thought it wouldn't be that bad. He started to explain how they stage cancer and I half listened. I'd done my reading and I understood what he was talking about. I knew exactly where this was going when he said of the 20+ lymph nodes they removed, 14 came back as positive for cancer. That took my breath away before he officially said Stage III.
We knew he would be removing all the lymph nodes connected to my sigmoid colon just as a precaution. And to now know that a majority of them contained cancer was shocking. I wonder if he had already known this after looking at the CT scan, but didn't want to tell us until he actual confirmation from pathology reports.
I pulled ranks and kept my emotions in check while we discussed the next steps, chemo, another colonoscopy, another post-op appointment, future appointments and care, etc. I made it all the way to the truck before I finally broke down. I was scared and shocked and couldn't believe how sick my body had gotten while I had no clue. I am young and healthy and this isn't suppose to happen to me.
I once again spent another 24 hours in tears. It was another 24 hours of being afraid of the unknown. It was another 24 hours of wondering how disrupted our lives were going to be because of cancer. It was another 24 hours of wondering what my future was going to look like.
Up until this point we'd kept the cancer news somewhat under wraps. We weren't trying to keep it a secret or keep people out of our business. It had only been a few weeks that we ourselves had known, and so much had happened in such a short amount of time. We were still trying to process it ourselves, so "going public" hadn't really been an option. We had so many unanswered questions and now we were finally getting answers.
Now was the time to shout it from the roof tops. Now was the time to let everyone know. We were going to need all the help, support, prayers, encouragement and love we could get. I thought I was just going to go for a quick jog around the block, but now I realized I was about to run a marathon and would need all the running buddies I could find. I, a proud and stubborn do-it-myself type, could not do this myself. Surgery and recovery had knocked me on my butt enough to put me in a very humble place. I knew chemo was going to take my body to its lowest and weakest possible place and I would not be able to do-it-myself.
My name is Sarah, and I'm a recovering self-sufficient, stubborn, never ask for help, do-it-myselfer!