My surgery was completed five days ago on Groundhog Day. I never was sure what one does to celebrate Groundhog Day, so I guess having surgery is as good a celebration as any. I just hope I don’t have to relive it day after day like Phil does in the movie.
Day Five post-surgery is bearable. Days One and Two really weren’t. The worst thing was not being able to find a comfortable position for sleeping. The next worst things are the surgical drains that have become like new appendages. Gross little appendages that dangle out of my side like useless rubbery limbs.
I have an appointment tomorrow with my surgeon, and I’m hoping the drains will be removed. Until then, they’re tucked away in secret pockets inside my new camisole’s Velcro depths. Not exactly haute couture, but it definitely serves its purpose.
I thought I would be sad losing a body part, but the main thing that I feel now seems to be guilt. I keep thinking that if I had only been more vigilant, or gone to see the doctor sooner, or eaten more vegetables, or taken more vitamins. Who knows? I’ve scrutinized every possible mistake and misstep for the past decade, trying to figure out where I went wrong. This is, I know, a fruitless exercise, as I think it’s very rare that anyone knows for certain where his cancer came from. How could you know? We bathe ourselves (sometimes literally) in carcinogens, eating, drinking, and breathing them. How could we pick out a single culprit? Quite likely it wasn’t one thing that caused cancer to form, just as it’s not likely that one act of mine would have prevented it. There are way too many variables in something like cancer to pin it down so tidily.
But nonetheless I feel guilty for not knowing that this was happening to me, for not paying attention to every excruciating detail of my physiology. Mea culpa . And I’m not even Catholic. I’ve made so many mistakes in my life; it only seems reasonable that this is another one.
I used to have a dream that I had forgotten to do something and, as a result of my forgetfulness, I was doomed. Did my unconscious mind know that something malevolent was growing inside me? Maybe this is going too far with dream analysis, but I’ve not had the dream lately. Maybe my subconscious is saying, Finally! You realized that creepy thing was colonizing your body and you took action. ‘Bout time. Or something like that.
I guess I should just be happy that the tumor is gone, although I probably shouldn’t count my chickens until I’ve seen the doctor tomorrow, to learn the results of the pathology report. It’s possible that I could need more surgery if the tumor margins aren’t clear.
This may sound morbid, but I wish I could save my tumor, maybe put it in a jar of formaldehyde (a carcinogen, so my tumor would likely feel at home), and look at it. If I could envision it outside of my body, a separated thing from the rest of me, maybe I could be comfortable with the idea of it being gone. As it is, I’ve never seen it. I have no material proof of its existence or non-existence. I don’t think my doctors are concocting an elaborate scam to bilk my insurance company out of great gobs of money (or do I?), but I had no symptoms of being sick, no indication of anything being wrong, only a feeling of firmness in one breast. If I could only see the tumor, be able to point to it and say, Foiled again, Snidely Whiplash!, (or maybe something that doesn’t make me sound quite so old), I think I would sleep better at night.
But that’s impossible. They’ve already cut the little bugger up and analyzed his very essence. I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with whatever news comes of this dissection. I’m hopeful that it will be a bit of good news finally.
Until then, I have to suffer through the post-surgery blues. Guess I’d better get my harmonica out. It might be a long night.