Friday, August 10, 2012

Blood, sweat and tears

Yesterday I had the Mohs surgery for the skin cancer on my neck.

The appointment was at 8 a.m. in Boston, so Joe drove me to Margaret's Wednesday afternoon and I spent the night. Margaret drove me downtown yesterday and then Joe picked me up at Dana-Farber, where I had a checkup in the afternoon.

Margaret surprised me with an early birthday party, complete with cake, candles, singing and a present. I was getting a little nervous about the next day, and it was the perfect antidote.

The procedure went well; the doctor got clean margins in the first pass. A nurse patched me up, gave me a bag of gauze pads and supplies for keeping the site clean, and told me a little oozing was normal.

I walked a couple of blocks to get the shuttle from Mass. General to Brigham and Women's and after a short ride set out to walk the few blocks to  Dana-Farber. It was then that I felt something dripping down my neck. I reached up and, looking at my hand, saw blood. I put a gauze pad on and applied pressure, but the blood came right through. I've been pretty stoic about a lot that has happened to me, but this was just too much. The tears started flowing along with the blood. Blood, sweat and tears on Boston streets.

When I got to Dana-Farber and handed my ID card to the check-in person, she didn't blink an eye at the blood. I guess she had seen worse. I walked the short distance to phlebotomy and asked to see a nurse. One came out in a few minutes and took me in. She said the bleeding had basically stopped but added more gauze. Then the phlebotomist cleaned me up like I was a little child. That made me feel better.

All my counts were good, but at 125 and 5'8", I'm still too thin. Such a problem, I know. They want me to try extra-hard to eat high calorie foods. I'm also supposed to keep a calorie log and send it to them. I saw Dr. Alyea and Melissa. They asked me if I was depressed, since weight loss can be a sign of depression. I said I'm depressed now while my injuries keep me from tennis and running. But I felt good back in April when the weight loss started.

With the wad of gauze on my neck, I didn't think I looked very good, so I was happy to hear Dr. Alyea say I look "Fan-tastic."

Meanwhile, on the way home as the numbing medication wore off on my neck, the site of the surgery started to hurt like hell. I guess that's to be expected when you have a little hole in your neck. I didn't have any pain medication with me, and once again, stoicism went out the window. I whimpered like the dog until I got home and took an oxycodone.


Saul Wisnia said...

I'm so sorry you had such a rough day, Ronni, but am glad it sounded like it ended OK. EAT EAT EAT!

We have to make time to get together soon. I'm starting up my 2004 book and would love to talk more about the important role the Red Sox played in your life that year. I hope you are not counting on them too much this year -- although tonight was pretty good! :)

Joanna said...

Here's to getting back to tennis a.s.a.p. It will be the best medicine for you in the world! You are so strong and so fit considering all you have gone through.

Anonymous said...

Stoic is an understatement! Tears are okay. You are amazing! You give me courage.
keep eating chocolate cake and ice cream and learn to put cream in your coffee.I wish I could give you 15 of my extra pounds!
love you, Betsy

Robin said...

Sounds like quite the day! Wishing you a speedy recovery!

PJ said...

I've left numerous surgeries with blood on me. One time, after wisdom teeth removal, I went home and looked in the mirror to see how swollen I was, and my face was covered with dried blood. No wonder people were looking at me funny.

Nelle said...

Ronni you are very stoic but we all have our moments where we feel that we are overwhelmed. Glad it's over and I hope you heal fast.

Unknown said...

Seems like you had an enormous day. you have to eat more than you usually do to get back in shape. There are food that's high in calorie and is claimed to be an alternative medicine for cancer patients which you can try. Be well!!!