Thursday, June 21, 2012

Spa, surgery and treatment! Oh my!

Had my first massage, first surgery, another treatment and it's not even the weekend yet! I've been busy, busy, busy. :)

Time to rewind! Sooo, Monday I left to go to Spa Gregories in Newport Beach for that non-profit event held for select cancer patients in Orange County to get a free massage, facial or pedicure I had mentioned in my last post. The group that puts it on is called Greet the Day, and it's seriously such a fabulous thing. There are so many good people left in the world.

Although I left early so I could make it on time, I got lost trying to find the place. Not nearly as lost as I became when I was trying to find my way back home though (I borrowed the hubby's GPS and it died while I was getting my massage), haha. Oh well! They were very nice about it when I showed up, and thankfully, I was only running behind by like 15 minutes. They led me to the changing room, gave me my locker and robe. Snarky! Erm, well. To me, it seemed fancy as I'm kind of a spa-newbie.

After changing, I was taken to the "quiet room". A dimly lit, intentionally relaxation-inducing room with cushy seating. Here there were 7 other women chatting amongst themselves. Many of which were either bald or wearing headscarves, beanies, etc. These were my other cancer-fighting sisters! It was so odd for me to cruise around 1.) wearing just a robe and  2.) donning my bald head in all its domey, hairless glory in front of strangers. Lol

We went around the room and did mini introductions. Something I'm never fond of. Everyone here had been through and/or was going through a lot currently. I was the youngest in the group, once again. Not that that makes my plight all that different. Simply means people generally feel more sympathetic towards me. I appreciate the sympathy, but really, no matter the age, cancer is terrible. I feel awful that ANYONE has to experience it, whether they're 6 or 60 - it sucks. I hope to see the end of it in my lifetime, but I'd be astonished if they even get close to finding a cure within the next 100 years.

Sorry! That crazy Anj and her ramblings! Got a little off track there. ;3  So after the intros, we were led through a mental imaging relaxation exercise, and then we were each taken back for our spa treat! My massage therapist was sooo incredibly kind and understanding. She knew I was a massage-virgin, and explained everything to me before and as she went along. I felt so light and stress free after she was finished. And God bless all of the massage therapists, event organizers, etc. who were there doing this stuff for us. They were there doing it all free of charge, and we were told not to try to give any gratuity; that they would not accept it.

We were then given a light lunch and had some time to socialize. I did make at least one friend! Her name's Jennifer, and she was in the younger group of us cancer patients who were present. She's nearing the end of her journey battling colon cancer (So happy for her! She will soon be able to put herself in the survivor category! Such a blessing!). She's so, so sweet and strong. I guess you have to be something of a fighter to get through this sort of thing though. I look forward to getting to know her better. :)

I was so grateful for that relaxing day because my nerves were on all kinds of edge for Tuesday. I had never had any sort of surgery or been given anesthesia before that. I knew it was a minor and necessary procedure, but that didn't stop me from being crazy scared! I did well up until I was about to go in. A few things saved my sanity though! Having Jason there reassuring me and trying to make me smile, Christ (duh!), and Susann dropped by for a visit with a little gift in hand! She's such a sweetheart!!

Next thing I knew, I was given whatever made me ready to go night-night and I was being wheeled in for my surgery. The last thing I recall is having an oxygen mask put on my face. They had told me it was only a twilight sleep, and I wasn't put fully under, but I didn't wake up once. PTL! I was scared I would wake up... or  that I might feel something. You know. All those legitimate yet absolutely ridiculous fears someone facing surgery has.

Did any of that happen? Of course effing not! In fact, my surgeon told the hubby that I snored through it. Lol! Yeah, pretty embarrassing really. I'm not even a snorer! No really, I'm not! I swear! Haha.

I groggily awoke as I was wheeled into the recovery room. I had a wicked sore throat, and vaguely remember having the x-ray tech making me sit up to put something behind my back. Apparently he was taking this image to make sure that my port was in the proper place and that my lung hadn't been punctured. Lovely, huh?? I wasn't allowed to drink anything before my surgery, which I hadn't had anything to eat or drink since 10pm the night before, and I needed to wait until they got this x-ray back before I could have something. It came back eventually that it was all clear. I had some cranberry juice, saltines and a Percocet. Jason was given my prescription for 'em, and then they wheeled me out to the curb and he picked me up.

Almost forgot! I had my need for that port put in reaffirmed the day of the procedure when the nurse could not get a vein for my IV after 3 attempts. Anesthesiologist got it though! 

My new buddy Jennifer had warned me about feeling like a horse had kicked me in the chest when you get your port-a-cath placed, but I didn't know how accurate that was until the next day! So glad to have those pain meds. Besides the soreness, the area has a general tightness. I keep reminding myself that it's because I have this foreign object living inside me now. It'd be weird if it felt no different! I'm sure I'll get used to it. It'll probably be in there for something like a year, so it's got to become second nature sooner or later.

And here it is! Not much to look at when it's hidden under that bandage... but it's just an ugly bunch of steristrips over my stitched up incision anyway.

Honestly, I know in my heart that God allowed me to/had me go through this so I would not be as anxious when it comes time for my big surgery. I've had my spiritual faith covered, and now I have matching faith in the process and in my surgeon as well now.

My thoughts on it aside from being painful and uncomfortable thus far? It's freaking amazing. I'm so glad I have it! Getting my IV set up for my infusion this morning was a breeze. It hurt more when the nurse was pressing around on the port trying to find out where to insert it; I couldn't tell when she put in the needle. This port thing rocks! Plus, doesn't this totally qualify me as being part robot or something cool like that? ^_~

Speaking of my treatment today... well, not a lot to say! Painless and easy! Muuuuuch improved over last time. And now we're officially in the single digits for number of chemo treatments left. Woot!

Look Ma, no hands! Chemo #7 - 3/12 of Taxol.

Side effects have been mild. I'm sure the accumulation may begin to suck when I'm halfway through, but maybe not? Hot flashes are still my biggest pain in the side. I've also about lost all of my eyelashes and eyebrows. I wasn't able to avoid that "sickly cancer patient" look completely, dang it! I did for a while though.  >:D

And that about does it for this one! Next week will be a lot less eventful, and as I always say, at this point? I'm okay with that! Normal is not all that bad of a thing. I welcome it these days.

Thanks for the continued prayers, support and love! Oh yeah, and for reading along! While it is MY fight, I'm glad to have you all along with me in spirit. God bless and take care!

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."  Proverbs 16:9


  1. your strength amazes me. I just wanted you to know I read all your posts and I think about you all the time! Hope we can talk soon! <3 Jenn

  2. Hey you! Can I just say....YOU ROCK! Despite the expected nervousness, it seems you handled everything ah-mazing. It helps we have strong faith, an amazing group of supporters, and most importantly, God on our side. Hope to see you in support group tonight....I can show you my "utters" (aka drains) from my surgery. :)

    Gentle Hugs!