Sharing the trial and error learned lessons of a MS spouse caregiver / carer about family, home care, and transition to the care facility era from 23 years of living with Multiple Sclerosis as a family ... a ‘warts and all’ picture of living with MS.
Bless the surgeon’s hand. Comfort all who wait for news.”
Though ‘all who wait’ was still only our
daughter, we were committed to our conspiracy of silence until after surgery. The
evening before was spent as any caregiving evening as an outing with Patti
unaware of either diagnosis or pending surgery.
Finally it was time to attack the cancer. In
almost 4 hrs of surgery I behaved myself under anesthesia and surgeon performed
a wide wedge resection of the lung lobe removing cancer and surrounding tissue,
spreading the ribs, and going into the lung lobe to get the lymph nodes.
Awakening in ICU, I actually felt great – no
pain at all! “It’s the epidural” explained my nurse.
My epidural was my BFF for two more days of
pain free recovery. My only previous association with epidural was Patti’s birth
of Megan but I have no problem endorsing, ‘real men get an epidural’. I was
even able to walk around ICU within an hour of awakening.
On the third morning (first without epidural
and I felt like I had been run over by a truck) and St. Patrick’s Day morn’
surgeon stopped by to say good bye, he was sending me home and by the way
biopsies were back – all the lymph nodes and surrounding tissue from wedge
tested negative for cancer. Yabadabadoo!
3 and a half days earlier I had transfered
Patti from her wheelchair to her bed and wished her good night a MS spouse
caregiver (maybe a quarter million of us) now I walked out defined by ‘surviorship’,
one of more than 10 million cancer survivors in the United States.
Though honestly, most important to me was that
I was able to complete all my ‘activities of daily living’ by myself while
recovering at home for the next month and should be back to full abilities then.
Yes I have some restrictions on lifting for now
but thankfully our daughter is at home.
into the void, she had picked up Patti from her care facility and had her home
for a family outing, one week to the day since our pre-surgery outing.
(PS The pictured painting "Rays of Hope" , is a tribute by Karen Bennett to her aunt Ruth, who kept hope alive while watching, caring for, and losing her husband and only child to cancer. 2012 Expressions of Hope Calendar, March) Patrick Leer