Archive for the ‘{12} January Updates’ Category

Tuesday Surgery

January 6, 2009

Well, my long awaited second surgery is all set for tomorrow and I look forward to this being behind me soon.  We’ll check into the hospital at 6:30am, surgery at 8:00am and then I’ll stay over for one night.  The surgery is relatively quick; about 45 minutes for each surgeon; General Surgeon and Plastic Surgeon.  I’ve been fielding wonderful calls all day, full of super-duper well-wishes and I feel all of the love and thoughts from all of you.  Each person has asked me how I’m doing, feeling, etc and all I can say is I’m feeling fine; just doing normal everyday things.

What is protocol before surgery anyway?  A hike to a vista point to watch the sunset?  Well, it rained today so I threw in another load of laundry and ate a cookie.  Write in a diary?  I sat at the computer searching for nonsense items on Ebay.   But, what I will do is send up a few more prayers to join yours and I know all will go well.  I’ll be talking to you as soon as I feel up for it!

Taken Dec. 30th at a friend’s wedding.

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Heart Pillows

January 1, 2009

There was a whirlwind of doctor appointments the day after my diagnosis, yet in the midst of that day I was given a small gift of love in the form of a pink heart pillow.

The pillow was among about a dozen other heart pillows, heaped up high in a wicker basket sitting in the corner of Vicki’s office (the Breast Care Coordinator at Kaiser).   The pillows are made by volunteers; volunteers that I envision to be white haired grandma types who have long since given up their time for a paying job, but still love to keep their fingers and minds busy by stitching together these pillows, probably while watching Wheel of Fortune or some midday craft show on HGTV.

And let me come back to Vicki, because just offering up her title does little to describe her calm demeanor and the care in her eyes.  When sitting in exam rooms waiting to see Doctor A, B or C, there’s always that sense of another patient waiting to be seen, but the moment we step into Vicki’s office our time is her time, however long that may be. So when we were considering our health care path, Vicki was one of the factors that heavily tilted our decision. Yes, the skill and expertise of the surgeon was important, however the scalpel is only a small part of the healing puzzle.

Back to the pillow.

So, as I picked out my heart pillow she explained that some (patients) find these comforting; some take them into surgery and it offers them a sense of peace during all of the scary moments.  I had my doubts that a funny looking pink pillow could offer that to me but I accepted her gift graciously trying to shroud my doubt with a smile.

As we made our way through the hospital corridors onto the next appointment in Radiology I felt a swirl of emotions while holding this bright pink pillow.  It seemed like a giant flashing sign saying “look at me, I just got a cancer pillow” would have been more subtle, yet I also thought that I should hold it with honor and pride and not try to stuff it into my already bulging tote.

Well, as Vicki knew, this pink pillow has become my little friend.  When all precious objects like my wedding rings had to be removed and when loved ones had to sit in the waiting room with stained old magazines, my pillow was permitted to follow.  I hugged it, cried into it, and even now after 5 weeks, I hold it tight to my chest as I sleep at night, sometimes to prop up my arm just a touch.

My story now leads to my photo.  My silly bright pink pillow, now worn and pilled, inspired me to make heart pillows, to pass onto those brave women who will be sitting in Vicki’s office in the coming days, probably clutching the hand of a loved one in one hand and a wet tissue and heart pillow in the other.

Postscript.  It’s a bit daunting to see a mound of heart pillows knowing that they are waiting for some unsuspecting woman who is going about her day today and then tomorrow or the next, her life will change.  I asked Vicki how many she gives out in a week.  It can range she said, but sometimes it can be as much as six.  Her answer made me sad.

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