I have mixed feelings and thoughts, having had the cancerous tumor removed.
1. Hooray the cancer is gone! And I survived the first 48 hours with the pain in my body and not waking up from anesthesia well (as usual).
2. The left side of my face is disfigured and will take months to return to normal. There is swelling and a loooooong dimple along my left jawline. Stitches came out on Monday which helped the visual, but now the wound is more visible, which may or may not be better than seeing the steri-strips.
3. The lower lip on the left side became Very Weak as a result of the surgery (the tumor was wrapped around that nerve). I can smile, though the lip will touch my teeth. I can talk, but the lip often gets in the way of teeth and I sound like I have a lisp. I can eat, but the left side with the lip doesn’t open enough, which keeps the right side held back. Soft foods still work best.
4. I’m taking care of myself by not going back to work too soon. I’m noting the fatigue and pain and making realistic choices. I just had major surgery! For cancer! Take the break to rest, heal and move forward. I’m giving myself a lot of credit for this!
5. A very odd side-effect of the anesthesia or the pain med is that I have been unable to write or type coherently. My speech seems ok. But when trying to write, the wrong word comes out and in the wrong place in the sentence and misspelled beyond imagination (even autocorrect can’t suggest anything). I think this has mostly passed by today.
The bipolar mood disorder has not played a significant role in this last week and a half, Thank Goodness! I’ve had some suicidal thoughts that were more compelling than they have been other days (they show up every day at this point). And while I don’t feel a hope for the future, I don’t feel the complete desolation that encourages suicidal thoughts or actions. When this bout with cancer surgery is over, I’d like to return to the “going-through-the-motions-everyday” hope. The kind that just gets you through a day even without the ability to actually look ahead.
The pain I’m in isn’t helping my mood, nor is the chronic pain of my back exacerbated by the position while in surgery for 7.5 hours. Still hurting in neck, shoulders and arms. Incision still hurts, though less on pain med (which makes me fall asleep at drop of a hat), all of which keeps me from driving or working. I guess I’ll be ready to work once I’m off the pain meds!
Meantime, I’m doing my best to keep from thinking I’m worthless.