A nurse came through the curtain with a clinking bag of sterile supplies and asked me the same question everyone has asked me since I arrived: " How are you?" I answered the way most people want me to: "I'm fine." I wiped the wetness off of my cheeks and put on my "brave" face. Usually that's enough to make most people disappear back to the other side of the curtain, but not this woman. "You cry if you want to, feel down if you that's how you feel. You can't stop those feelings, just let them out. You are going to be OK. I know because I've been there myself. Then she asked me: "Are you a believer?" I answered "Yes, I believe in G.d." She wasted no time in gathering me up tightly in her arms and she started praying over me. She prayed for me, she prayed for my health, she prayed for my husband and asked the Lord to give him strength. She petitioned G.d with a strong almost ferocious voice as she made her belief manifest, and then she asked me to state what G.d has already done for me, she asked for a statement of faith. I answered "I am healed." "And so it is." says she. Those strong loving arms loosened, she stood up and left. I was weeping and my husband was crying, but they were tears of relief. I had staked my claim on a full recovery, and I was no longer afraid.
Very soon after that I got my shot of Versed and began my trip to the OR, I remember nothing for the next 5 hours.
I woke in searing pain. "Wake up now, you are in the recovery room, the surgery is over." I couldn't open my eyes for the life of me. The nurses were talking about people they don't like, where they had dinner last night, talking to each other like two High School girls, incessantly and with complete absorption in each other. I felt like someone who didn't belong in their clique. I took a difficult breath and said through my raw throat: "pain." My nurse answered back "we'll get you something soon." and went back to her real job, which is to speak to the other nurses about their personal business. "Pain." She ignored me, I am guessing that transitioning people out of surgery must be very boring for her, we must be so tiresome with our catheters and requests for pain medication. Just demanding shapes under warming blankets asking for stuff.
Eventually I was handed a button I could press every 6 minutes for pain and was rolled to my room. That button was my best friend. My mother-in-law told me when the allotted time had passed and I pushed that button like a cat jumps on a bird. Morphine is my friend, I forget all about the teenagers in recovery, my world is that button in my right hand. All my strength and attention is on crawling out of this crater of agony.
Eventually I am the victor. My pain is managed and all I feel now is relief. This part is over, I never have to do this again, the margins are clean, we must wait for the sentinel node biopsy to come back next week. I am optimistic, because I already claimed my healing. Amen.