Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My One Week Thoracotomy Badge

This is my first post op entry back at my command center (AKA the living room) so as you can gather I am home again. It was so utterly wonderful to be reunited with my daughter again who picked me up from the hospital along with her grandfather. Apparently when she was told Monday morning she was going to see mama and pappa she furiously started packing up all her things and stood by the door dressed, back pack and jacket on - ready to go. How can that kind of love not warm you heart? I just held her hand the whole car ride home as she chatted on about everything she had done and learnt. She knew mama had been at the hospital but other then that I was the same person I was 8 days earlier as far as she was concerned. Though it is really nice being at home, I am glad I was in the hospital as long as I was. Home is comforting but it is much harder to relax and take time to rest when real life surrounds you. I feel the need to go sit on the floor with my daughter and try and play with her and her toys. I feel the need to help my tired and stressed husband with the dust and mess everywhere. I feel the need to be there. Who knew it would be so hard to just lie in a bed and just rest? Who knew it would be me that would be making it the most difficult to do? And I am experiencing real capacity challenges right now that I haven´t felt since the old C´Spa days. I have nothing in the tank, I have pain, the medicine I take to make me feel better wreaks havoc on my stomach and I am just so utterly worn out. I feel so sick and literally taking a walk up the stairs is taxing. I feel like a 90 year old woman right now.

But let´s look at the positives - as my oncologist put it yesterday to me " You have earned your one week post thoracotomy badge." Geez if you would asked me a few years ago if I would ever actually use the word "thoracotomy" in loose terms, I would have told you that you were mad. But this is my life now. Luckily I have some pretty amazing people who are along for the ride right alongside me. My mother in law came up with a great metaphor (or is it an analogy?) for my journey - she said it was like I was commanding this train. There were the people who were sitting up front beside me experiencing it all first hand, those sitting behind supporting me in different ways, those outside cheering me on from afar from the platform and the people figuring out how to make the train work faster and better. The image makes total sense to me and a common comment from many readers and friends has been that many of you have felt like you were sitting right along with me on this wild ride - feeling the shock, relief, fear, hope and every other emotion on the wide spectrum that is the cancer experience. My train is running low on gas right now and adjusting to its new structural design but rest assured I will be back and running well again soon. Let´s call it a "work in progress" for right now.

I had to mention something one of my "technical support team" said to me a few days ago. This is again the same oncologist who has really gone above and beyond for me. She took time to explain everything to my brother in law last week in Canada (who he is a doctor as well) so he and my family could really understand the situation. She came to see me every day I was in the hospital and spent the time to listen and talk to me. And she made sure I had everything I needed. A few weeks back when I was ill leading up to this operation and I went to see her, worried I would be to ill to operate, she sensed my low spirits and said "We are fighting for you. You need to know that and in no way are you a lost cause." Just hearing that awoke the inner warrior in me and I felt better. Again her support shone through when after getting home on Monday and feeling lost and overwhelmed, she told me this:

"I think it is easy for us docs to forget what a priviledge it is to be trusted by people at their most vulnerable, so thank you for your trust and confidence! You´ve figured out that I don´t believe in angel therapy or magic dust by now, but statistically every doctor has a few "solskinnshistorier" (English translation - happy success stories) and I´ve decided that yours needs to be mine!"

I was so touched by this honest yet incredibly hopeful declaration from my doctor. I just don´t think you see that kind of support often and oh god do I want to be that story. The one with the happy ending that she can tell others who are afraid or need hope. It was exactly what i needed to hear. A different kind of medicine.

So for now I am trying to take the time to rest and tell myself that everything else can wait. The dust will be here when I am better and my daughter is most likely just happy being with me. I don´t need to worry about anything else but getting better right now. And my mom is arriving tonight so that will be a big help. I am looking forward to her healing soups, back massages and getting some of my favorite things from across the pond!!

I also had a dream last night and it was strange. There were so many people in it from all walks of my life - I don´t usually use names in this blog but Charlotte, Dee, Lara, Steph, Rupert, Andrew, Angela, Marissa, Crystal, Janka, Elaine, Birte, Maija, Catherine, Valerie and many many were all there. It was strange but nice and we were eating the most wonderful macaroons in the most amazing colours. Maybe it was the Oxy? Maybe it was the pain? Or maybe it was my subconscious´s way of reminding me of everyone who is sitting in the seats behind me supporting me as I try to navigate my way back to health.

Love and hugs,



  1. WELCOME HOME, OBB!! So happy to see your post! Such wonderful writing despite all you are going through. And I love your doctor's wise and compassionate comments. WOW.

    I also love your mother-in-law's analogy about you commanding the train. That is an apt description and she hit the nail on the head.

    As for your daughter, I am pretty sure she is happy just being with you. She very likely doesn't care about dust bunnies! Happy to hear your momma is coming to visit. (Perhaps she can help send those dust bunnies packing!)

    Enjoy the warmth of your family ... their love, their comfort, their cooking. Smiling and laughing with family and friends is your Rx right now. Their emotional salve will help you to rebuild your energy, and the world will begin to right itself again.

    Thinking of you and sending soft {{{hugs}}} Welcome back!

    1. Oh Renn you always write the most lovely and heartfelt comments. You are also very right but often arent we are own worst enemies? I find it so hard to take time out and I have to really be at rock bottom to finally give in to the exhaustion. Silly thinking and completely unproductive from a recovery point of you. There are always new things to learn on this cancer journey. New opportunities to be better with one self...more patient. And am already enjoying my mom´s visit - she is focused on feeding me! xxx

  2. dear OBB,

    i am so thrilled to hear your words written just as beautifully and soulfully as ever - from HOME. i can hear the joy in your voice as you describe reuniting with your darling little girl, and the dream with all your dear friends present. and what a gift your doctor has given you to express that she is so committed to you being her success story! that must have made your husband so very happy, too.

    the likening you to commanding a train - love it! such a creative way for your mother-in-law to describe the importance of everyone who cares so deeply for you, from near and afar, has a role to play in your recovery.

    and what happiness to know your mom is on her way - with goodies! and her very special mama's love for her girl.

    so, just rest and bask in all the love and care you are receiving. wear it all like a soft mantle to enfold you and protect you and help you heal. little by little you will feel more energy, just knowing you are in such good hands.

    love, and healing vibes to help you recover

    karen, TC

    1. Hi Karen, Thank you again for wonderful comments as well. Yes the reunion was wonderful and seeing her little sparkling face definitely raised my spirits. Lucky to have such an energetic cheerleader. And happy to have so much support on my train including you. It really works so well as far images go. I will try to be more patient with myself and eat as many mini eggs as I want as I find my way back to health again. xxx

  3. Toot toot! Train coming in!
    Wishing you a speedy recovery and lots of energy.Till then, enjoy your mum's visit and love.

    1. Thanks Thandi. Am working on it and happy to have family with me. Hard sometimes having them all so far away so am so lucky to have been truly adopted by my Norwegian family. x