One year ago today. I thought I was having a seemly benign tumor being removed. I did have some doubts.
Surgery was successful.
So, I found out two weeks later, that this surgery actually involved removing a sarcoma. This sarcoma was a cancer of the connective tissue, or soft tissue sarcoma. There ones that are more severe than this in comparison. It may not even come back, but reassurance is hard when dealing with a rare cancer like this one.
Especially, five years after another rare tumor was removed. The case is still open on that one. Doctors here (locally) may think differently but then again they have outdated information still being taught. Not to be too harsh, you really can’t stay on top of everything. I am thankful for the medical care here locally. But it helps when I advocate and tell them about pheochromocytoma. Still rare and misdiagnosed.
It, has been an experience definitely. I am glad where I am today. All things have prepared me for where I am now. I can only go forward from here.
In moving forward, I’ve already planned to do another 5k in November. Even though I’ve said this before, running in a 5k never crossed my mind until the end of last year.
- I run because of the sarcoma diagnosis.
- Running is healthy and good for you.
- I’ve learned that I feel great after I run.
Don’t know what the rest of this year will bring. I am ready. And by God’s grace I am still here.
[NOTE: I put this post on hold from 8/3/2014, and just now got back to it on 8/9/2014]
Well, it seems the past several months have been a blur. I just came to that realization early this morning (5:30) and thus the feel to write this down(6am ~).
It may even go further back. But I know even though I am experienced, having been through more than someone should have to go through dealing with surgeries from a young age.
It is a lot for a five year old to start off with a major surgery. I don’t recall how long the surgery lasted. I remember bits and pieces of being in the hospital before the surgery and recovery afterwards. I remember the initial blood draw before the first surgery. Then possibly two – three hours later, they wanted to draw more blood. I was not happy of course, having to go through that whole ordeal again so soon. That day I learned about my holding my breath during the blood draw so it wouldn’t hurt. Well, that’s what I was told but most likely used to distract me from the needle going into my vein. But truth be told, I’ve held my breath every time since then, which is too many to count. And I don’t recall anytime hurting using this technique. So, I think it works.
Next, I remember seeing the ceiling and going through a few double doors as I am pushed on the bed on the way to surgery. When I was recovering in the hospital, the only thing I do remember is playing this video game in the hospital with my mom. This will sound old but it I think it was pong or variant of that. It an actual table based version of the game and you are looking down upon it. She had me walk back and forth after each game or so, to the other side. Each step did hurt as expected but I had to learn to walk with this new device (Harrington rod) in my back. And since no physical therapist was there to actually help. We were left to do this on our own. Of course there was a lot of recovery time back at home, but I don’t remember that. But those are the memories of my first surgery.
It got easier with each surgery, to accept and go on. I did have to learn to walk again with each surgery. Here is another reflection of the time on one of my surgeries, when I did not want to drink the horrible tasting medicine used to relax me before surgery. It was a small ordeal, and I went into the bathroom after drinking the small cup. It left a awful aftertaste, and I tried to get rid of that taste the best I could. The thing is you are not allowed to eat or drink any liquid after midnight, so water was not allowed to wash away the taste. I was already nervous about the surgery, and telling a child you need to drink this to feel better. It does not equate with them especially allowing the taste to linger while waiting to be rolled away. One tidbit I found out later that I could take a shot instead of drinking the liquid.
Well, when the next surgery rolled around. The nurse came over after I was checked in and waiting on the bed in the at Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital in Atlanta(Where all my spinal surgeries were performed) She then had with her this all to familiar yellowish orange liquid. I told I didn’t want to drink that and rather have the shot. She was quite surprised. It was the best feeling ever not having to drink the medicine. Shots I can take, I don’t like drinking medicine before surgery.
— I’ll save more for another post.
But back to the main point. Even after all those surgeries, and removal of the pheochromocytoma. It still does not prepare you for finally hearing this tumor is not benign and it is a sarcoma(cancer). It still fundamentally changes you. This time was different. I’m not sure how distance I’ve been this past year in communication or going on with life. Just taking each day as it comes. I’ve realized I may have ignored and not talked to people when around them. There could possibly be mixed emotions or feelings stemming from this lack of communication. Even though I don’t say much on what is going inside, there is more there than you realize. Probably a lot built up over the years. I am not the best communicator. It is hard to move on when you don’t know how long your life will be in the next few years.
I understand that most people don’t have to think or should they have to about death. The truth is you really don’t know. But when issues like this arise. You do think about it. It can’t be ignored.
You also do not know the Lord’s plan for your life.
I know I’m in a better position having been through these previous medical issues. Basically by going through each surgery, and being here today. It has prepared me for any upcoming trial. All I have to do is think back in amazement, how I have come this far. I know God has a plan for my life. I can clearly see has He watched over and protected me. Even though I don’t know why I have to face these trials. Everything else is small potatoes in comparison. I know that what I face is even smaller than others.
Life can easily pass you by if you are going too fast. I too need to slow down. Mistakes happen but you grow from that. You never know of that missed opportunity if you don’t take it now. I’ve learned from this past year, you need to do what makes you feel better. It makes all difference.