Waking From Oblivion

Just before the surgery, I decide I must see my Chinese Acupuncturist. I have not seen him for a few years. He looks at my face and says “You have had a lot of stress. I can treat you for this. We can save your uterus.”  “For what ?” I ask. Startled, he looks into my eyes. He sees my fear and confusion, sees that I am determined to extract the cells gone haywire. He takes my hand, feels my pulse. “Never mind I said that. You go ahead with the surgery. You will survive this. Don’t you worry. I will give you a treatment today to make you strong. You come back again after the surgery. Don’t worry.”

The day of the surgery arrives. I dress in the requisite backward facing gown and lie waiting on a gurney. The surgeon comes to make sure I understand the imminent procedure. “As I remove the uterus, ovaries, omentum, cervix, lymph nodes, the pathologist will check them for cancer cells.” “How many lymph nodes will you take out?” “As many as I feel necessary.” I wonder how many I have, how many I can afford to lose. These worry me more than any other body part. In my private book of cancer, contaminated lymph nodes mean metastasis and metastasis means death.

The nurse inserts an IV that starts me on powerful antibiotics. The anesthesiologist patiently explains everything she will administer. The conversation is long and drawn out. The plunge into oblivion is immediate. I am vaguely aware of being rolled away. Suddenly I am being transferred from one surface to another and feel agonizing pain in my gut. “Ih huhrs! Ih huhrs!” I cry out, aware momentarily of the frustration stroke victims must feel when they cannot articulate. Then, more oblivion until I awaken in recovery.
At first I am high on all the pain medication and sedatives and am quite the chatterbox. The next day I can barely speak I am so nauseated by the slightest effort to move. But I have to hobble to the bathroom and notice that I have the first bikini shave of my lifetime!


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Cancer Frog Blog by Judith Ogus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at cancerfrogblog.randomarts.biz

4 thoughts on “Waking From Oblivion


    This is a great Blog and I enjoy seeing your skills. Creativity is healing. By the way since you are assembling data and quotes re:cancer I am remembering something a colleague of mine once said. She’s Deena Metzger, a writer and writing teacher from southern California who had breast cancer and surgery many years ago. There exists a great picture of her exhibiting her one-breasted body in a free and positive way. Her comment -if I am remembering it correctly- was: “Society is the disease. Cancer is the cure.” A unique outlook,yes?

  2. Jennifer

    I love that picture of Deena! I wanted to give it to my 85yr old mother after her mastectomy last spring, but decided she would only see the youth in it. I recently saw a picture of Deena. Maybe she would pose again now that she is no longer young?
    Much Love,

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