Yesterday’s surgery went very well and I am glad to be home! The morning started at 3:30 a.m. as we had a 5 a.m. arrival time in surgery. Of course, as the saying goes, “hurry up and WAIT!” Tim and I sat in a waiting room for nearly 2 hours before they brought me up to anesthesia. A wonderful doctor who understood my concerns for starting an IV in my chemo-wrecked veins, did a great job using a child-sized IV. She said the drugs they use could have damaged my port so she couldn’t use that, but she did numb my hand first so it wasn’t so bad. She was also very compassionate about me not wanting to remove my scarf and provided me with a double surgical cap to wear instead. I know I shouldn’t have cared that I be in surgery with my head uncovered, but I did, and she didn’t make me feel silly at all.
I was given a sedative, then a nerve block in my back so that they wouldn’t have to use as much general anesthesia, making recovery a lot easier. I drifted off into la-la land and woke up in recovery 2 hours later. I stayed there for 2 hours and then went to a private room for the rest of the day. The most pain I had while in the hospital was a headache and back pain from the injection of the block. The pain in my chest didn’t start until I went home, but I am taking a strong pain narcotic for that. The nurses expected that I would stay overnight, but Tim and I were ready to leave and get home and get some sleep. When we got home we were greeted by all of these beautiful flower / rose bouquets! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
One of my nurses was Stella, a Nigerian woman, had also been my nurse last October after surgery. She is a beautiful woman with very, very short hair and a gleaming smile. When I told her that she had been my nurse before, and that I thought she was such an angel, and that the months following that experience were really tough (going through chemo and losing my hair), I said to her “I have a little more hair than you now, see?”, and I pulled back my scarf. She then told me that one year ago her husband died, and that in her African culture a widow is to shave her head while in mourning for one year, and so she did. I was speechless. Here I have been mourning the loss of my hair for all these months and yet this woman has suffered a far greater loss than I have, yet she willingly shaved hers all off! She was still so beautiful to me because of her spirit.
Tears started to fill my eyes as we talked and she reminded me that God is good and has carried us both through some very rough times. In her Muslim homeland she has many friends who have told her she must denounce her Western Christian beliefs, yet she refuses. She told me that she will never, ever turn away from the Jesus who has saved her soul and has conquered death. It is her hope and her faith that have seen her through this terrible time in her life and she knows she will one day see her husband again because of this hope! Meeting Stella was one of God’s ways to show me that short hair is a badge of courage, and doesn’t have to be something to despise. I can only hope that my face and spirit will shine like her’s as I forge on through this fight!