One of the reasons I decided to drive cross country to Chicago last week... I'm facing serious surgery. I wanted to indulge myself with a little adventure. Might be the last time in my life that I'm physically capable.
I made it to 66 in very good health, so I'm lucky.
Today will be purge day. I'll be downing a solution of MiraLAX and water until I poop out my guts. Can't eat. Can't drink coffee. I'm restricted to clear liquids.
I learned from experience when Myrna was in the hospital that surgeons are far too impressed with their skills and tend to always predict positive results, so I'm skeptical of my own surgeon. What can I do? I don't have the knowledge to really evaluate his diagnosis. I've been through three doctors, all of whom disagree to some extent about possible treatment.
Oncologists tend to be much more blunt than surgeons, but I'm not yet at the stage of needing an oncologist. When Myrna was dying from cancer, we shopped around for an oncologist who was willing to treat her. The first was a woman who told us bluntly that Myrna would die in a few months and that the best we could do was to make her comfortable.
In desperation, we worked our way through several oncologists until we found one who promised to cure her, at least temporarily. That only led to what the surgeon described as "butchery." I had to pull the plug. The oncologist, who had been charging the insurance company $750 for each visit to Myrna's room, was furious.
Am I afraid? Worried?
Yes. I'd like to live long enough to see my grandkids reach adulthood. I don't know if I want to live with a colostomy bag, if it comes to that. My mother is almost 90. I just visited her in Illinois. She wishes that her doctor would recommend the colostomy bag no matter whether she has cancer. She's fed up with old age induced incontinence.
Yesterday at Mass, my priest anointed my hands and forehead and prayed for my recovery. I don't know whether that helps.
I retired four years ago, even though I could have continued working, to focus on doing the things I enjoy and to contemplate my mortality and my relationship with God. I've enjoyed this long period of rest and reflection, and I'd like for it to continue.
Only six weeks ago, I went through two surgeries for kidney stones. So, I know the drill. No much drama, really. You go to sleep and then you wake up, and somebody tells you the results. That's about it.
Both the diagnosis and outcome of my physical problems are unknown. CAT scans taken during my hospitalization for kidney stones revealed some abnormality in my appendix. All three doctors I've consulted disagree on what that abnormality might be. Everything from a cyst to a tumor.
So, my surgery could just be an appendectomy, or it could be major resection of the bowel. Won't know what happened until I wake up.