For two years I put off the surgery that was necessary. I’d never had surgery before (besides a wisdom tooth extraction) and had only been under anesthesia twice- once for the dental work and once for an endoscopy because of Gastritis. I was terrified of both the surgical procedure and being knocked out, but mostly because the surgery could have a terrible outcome. I was so scared that my facial nerve could just decide it didn’t like being messed with and shut down for good, leaving half of my face paralyzed. I vowed I’d never be able to smile again because of how I would look. And as long as I didn’t have the surgery, I had my facial nerves in working order, but I also had an increased chance of my tumor becoming malignant. It was a lose/lose situation that brought me to tears over and over.
After going through PICC treatment for several months I decided it wasn’t working for me and stopped the antibiotics and had the PICC removed. A pea-sized scar remains on my right arm and reminds me of just how strong I am every time I see it for having gone through such rigorous treatment.
After stopping the antibiotics I started feeling relief. Less herxing means less sickness and I felt like it was finally time to get the job done and remove this little joy-stealer from my gland. By this time it was getting larger and more noticeable. I changed my hairstyle to hide the lump and what would soon be a very large and ugly scar.
The appointment was made. My mind was set. I wasn’t turning back. I felt like I was strong enough now, even though I was still very ill, to undergo surgery and didn’t want to prolong it anymore.
The morning of, I was really nervous. I cried on the way to the hospital because I couldn’t take a sip of water. I took my anxiety meds earlier to help me cope through the waiting process. It didn’t take long. I remember my parents walking with me into the hospital wing and signing me in. We sat down and waited in a small lobby, my parents flanking either side of me. One other person, an elderly man, was sitting on the far side of the room and I remember he was watching an old black and white western on the tv and it made me smile. Soon, my name was called and I said goodbye to my parents while I got prepped. I walked into a long room full of hospital beds and was greeted by a smiling nurse. I got changed into a hospital gown and these cute purple socks with dog paws on them that I got to keep, and was then asked a bunch of questions like “what is your name” and “what are you here for” as the man asking grinned now and again with me at the oddity but necessity of the questions. I was reminded of where I would be cut as they drew a purple line on my face from the middle of my ear down around the lobe and again curving around the large mass and down a bit further. It was about five inches long altogether.
I was tagged and put on an IV drip and compression boots were attached to my legs so I wouldn’t get blood clots. Mom came and sat beside me until it was time. My doctor arrived and peeked in to say hello before she changed from her bicycle ride to the hospital (yeah, I have a cool doctor!). My bed was then wheeled out of the long room and into a corridor where I said goodbye to my mom. That part was emotional for both of us. We both knew the outcome could be bad and I could wake up with facial paralysis. My nerves got worse as I was taken into the cold operating room. I saw my doctor and a few others getting things ready and I started to feel some real fear. Someone messed with my IV as I started to panic and instantly I felt super sleepy and comfortable. Drugs loosen the tongue and I asked if they gave me anxiety meds (obviously) and they said yes. A mask was put over my nose and mouth as someone told me to take deep breaths. The room started to fade. I was conscious for a moment more. And then everything went black.
To be continued…1