It’s day three. I’m post-op, pre-shrink and peri-pain. The learning curve thus far has been sometimes entertaining, sometimes challenging, sometimes surprising and always stimulating. Just a handful of the conclusions I’ve reached since strolling into the hospital on Wednesday and waddling back out on Thursday.
1. Note to self: That which you fear the most might be inevitable. So suck it up and find the humor in whatever is required. It’s worked so far in this life, so I’m not about to start changing things now!
2. The kindness of strangers, in this case medical personnel, is a beautiful thing. Every nurse, specialist and doctor treated me (and my mom) with compassion, patience and professionalism. I’m a big fan of Central Dupage Hospital!
3. Veins deprived of liquids for more than 24 hours are as compliant as, say, middle school boys who forgot to take their Ritalin. And IV-installing nurses who declare that won’t matter are as effective as, say, skittish teachers on their first middle school job.
4. Pain is a pain.
5. The gases used to expand one’s belly for laparoscopic surgery yield the ironic result of said belly looking 8 months pregnant for a couple days after surgery. Weird. And uncomfortable. But fascinating!
6. I like hospitals that have robots deliver food after patients order off an extensive à la carte menu! The robot stopped on my floor as I was waiting for the elevator and announced “Your order has arrived” to no one in particular. A sort of catering R2D2. Me likey.
7. Lack of tact is a byproduct of being human. My sweet night-time nurse, while asking 100 questions about my medical history, asked, “Are you currently pregnant?” Uh…I just had a hysterectomy. You do the math.
8. Moms who clean up, cook and fetch without complaint are pretty cool indeed!
9. Friends. Priceless. Flowers and notes of encouragement from friends? Precious.
10. It is possible in America to have fairly major organs removed and, two days later, to eat normally, feel fairly good and walk up three flights of stairs at home. Amazing. (But I’m pacing myself—really I am!)

Two favorite moments so far: In the pre-op room, my mom had my phone…and she’s not exactly cell phone savvy. When it rang, she “did something” to it. The nurses kept on with their poking, prodding and questioning. About two minutes later, my mom held up the phone and asked, “Should I do something with this?” As it turns out, she had answered it minutes before, and a former student (and friend) who was calling had actually sat in on much of my pre-op session. The nurses got a big kick out of my mom’s embarrassment and I could hear Grayson laughing in Vancouver too! The second favorite moment happened without me, but I’m told my brother and sister-in-law had quite a time trying to explain a hysterectomy to my fourteen-year old nephew. Oh, to have heard that conversation and seen the expressions (horror? shock?) on his face! I might have popped a stitch laughing from just the thought of it! As Ingrid, my sister-in-law said, “Oy veh!”
I’m doing well. There obviously is pain associated with surgery of this sort, but I was able to take a shower this morning, and getting up and down out of my armchair is becoming less of a challenge. My night in the hospital was sleepless because my roommate was having a rough time and I was amped-up from my meds, but I’ve slept well since being home. Tomorrow, I’ll head out to the mall to walk around for a while (though ungracefully and bloatedly!). I’m told things really start to turn around after day three. Counting on it.

Medical details. The surgeon found adhesions between several internal organs and had to cut through those. One mass had started to wind around other organs—it really did need to come out! Results of biopsies should be known in a few days.
Your prayers. Your. Prayers. I have felt them in ways I can’t begin to express in words. Some of them have come from long-term friends, but others have come from strangers who stumbled across my blog or from friends who have known me for only a few months. A gentleman who has never met me fasted on the day of my surgery and so many of you paused in your busy lives to offer intercession on my behalf. I am humbled, moved and fortified by the outpouring of support from around the globe. I feel so undeserving and so blessed. Thank you.



    • nveer

    • 13 years ago

    Been following your whole experience from St. Louis. My two little foster kids, Dwayne (3) and Jessi (2), stopped and prayed for you the day before your surgery. It says where 2 or more agree in prayer….it doesn’t mention the size of those 2 or 3. We are thinking and praying for you. We will continue to follow your progress and update our prayers accordingly. We love you Michelle.

    • Liz Steggall-Lewis

    • 13 years ago

    Thinking of you and praying for you. You are an inspiration to me, as I read about how you have been trusting God again, and again and again. Those words, He giveth and giveth and giveth made me cry as I listened to you sing so beautifully in thanks to God. Your body may feel foreign and fractured but your voice is as strong and lovely as ever. Christ’s peace radiates from you. Thank you for sharing your journey with us and allowing us to glean from your wisdom, trust, and hope. Love Liz

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