Monday, April 22, 2013

On the other side...

I woke up on Friday morning with the 3:30 alarm. I had to be at the hospital at 5 am, so I got up early to journal, to pray, to do final chores around the house.

Steve, Karen, and I left the house at 4:30 am. (Karen flew down from Connecticut to be with me over the weekend - even though NO ONE on the planet dislikes flying more than she does. She is the best nurse, friend, and companion anyone could hope for, especially at a time like this!!! I miss you already, Karen.)

We arrived at the hospital and were greeted by cheery, funny, efficient, caring, and tender staff members, volunteers, and nurses. In the pre-surgery waiting area, two nurses took my vitals, started my IV, and before they walked away, one of them asked if anyone had prayed with me before I got in there. I assured them that I had indeed been prayed over.

The surgeries went well. Both surgeons said blood loss was minimal.
They both expected that I would be heading home on Saturday.

I woke up in a large, clean, well-appointed hospital room. The nurses were gracious and gentle. Their southern accents and euphemisms made us all laugh. I've lived here for more than ten years, and I still get a good chuckle out of a heavy southern accent.

A few hours later, one of the nurses asked me what my pain level was on a scale from 1 - 10.
I told her the truth: I was experiencing no pain.
She said, "You must have a lot of people praying for you."
She had no idea how right she was.

The pain has been minimal from the very beginning.
Truly miraculously minimal pain - some achiness in my armpits,
but absolutely no pain as a result of the hysterectomy.
I haven't taken any pain meds so far today - it is nearly 2 pm as I write this.

What I thought would be the most traumatic moment turned out to be without trauma or drama whatsoever. When the nurses removed the bandages from my chest, I took a few deep breaths and looked at my newly transformed upper body. Fortunately, I had done a fair amount of research on bilateral mastectomies without reconstruction.

If you are interested in seeing images of women who have made the decision to not undergo breast reconstruction, check out: http://breastfree.org/. Go to the photographs tab and be as amazed as I was. I can assure you; the images are beautiful, tender, and not at all upsetting. After all, we are all beautiful women, with or without breasts.

I was released from the hospital at 5 pm on Saturday. It felt great to get back home, climb the stairs to my bedroom, and recover in my own bed, surrounded by my own things and my loved ones.

I am ridiculously, enormously, profoundly grateful for my recovery,
for my lack of pain, my ability to eat and sleep comfortably,
for the love, the notes, the flowers, the calls, the texts,
the messages, the meals, and the genuine concern
that continue to arrive daily.

Here I sit on the other side of the big day.
As expected, as hoped, as ceaselessly prayed for,
all is well, my friends.
All is indeed well.
Thank you for everything.
Thanks be to God.

8 comments:

SLA said...

YOU GO, GIRL!!!!!!!!

I am so, so pleased and so happy for you. Bask in the light and love of all your friends and family... and internet 'strangers' who are caring for you along this journey. And have a cupcake for me too please! :)

Hugs from Chicago,
Stephanie

Heather Alderman said...

Gail - I am so happy for you. It is indeed a miracle and you certainly deserve one. We will all keep praying and hoping for your continued speedy recovery. Love, Heather

Unknown said...

Dear Gail:

I found your blog through Momastery and have never posted, but I've prayed for you every day. Thank you for posting an update. You have been on my mind since last week. I'm so glad that your surgery went well and you are recovering.

Blessings and peace to you,
Leslie

Jan said...

So happy to hear the surgery went well, and that you're "on the other side" of that big event.

jenalan said...

ahhh I keep coming back here to 'check' on you-- yep you have people praying for you who have never seen you 'in real life' but wish you all the best!

Kate S said...

<3 you, sweetie

silky j said...

I am so happy that the surgery went well, continued prayers and many positive thoughts for you!

silky j said...
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