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Four Glitches & A Tumor ~ Part 2 October 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, Life Balance.
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Continued from Four Glitches & A Tumor . . .

Two months later, I arrived in pre-op for surgery at 5 a.m., wearing a green hospital gown. Despite the early hour, I was peaceful and chipper . . . even without my customary cup of coffee.

The nurses urged me to focus on the serious nature of coming events. “We need you to read this Release carefully. It addresses the risks of surgery.”

I nodded. “I know all about the risks. I’m a medical malpractice attorney.”

“Really? And you’re not worried?”

“Nope.” Then I gave them my best grin. “If I’m going to die, I’m going to die laughing.”

Cheshire_Cat_Tenniel

After deciding I hadn’t left my marbles at home on the bedside table, they had me sign the requisite forms and continued to prep me for surgery.

Glitch #3: Picture a tree with a single trunk and many branches. Most parotid gland tumors are located at the base of the trunk, along a major branch of the facial nerves, making it fairly straightforward to excise the tumor without damaging the nerves. With a well-placed tumor, surgery lasts 1-2 hours. My surgery lasted 6 hours because the tumor was hanging around the branches of smaller facial nerves.

The surgeon (for whom we had waited patiently) worked patiently on his patient patient.

Due to his care and concern, I am not a drooler. I emerged from surgery with all facial nerves intact. He even did a fat graft to pad my face to ensure it would not look lopsided. He was worth the wait.

But the waiting wasn’t over yet.

Glitch #4: Once out of Recovery, my surgeon admitted me to the Intensive Care Unit. The next day, after restless morphine-induced sleep, I asked about the tumor. “Was it benign?”

“I don’t know.”

“What? You don’t have the pathologist’s report yet?”

“I have his report. But you had an atypical tumor. Given the unique cell make-up, the pathology department’s not sure whether it’s benign or malignant. They’ve sent your slides to teaching hospitals around the country for additional input.”

“My tumor’s on tour?”

He grinned. “Yup. It’s gonna be a star.”

After 3 days in the ICU, I went home.  No report.

A week later, I went to the surgeon’s office for follow-up.  Still nothing. “Once they reach consensus, I’ll let you know.”

Two months later he called with a verdict worth waiting for . . . Benign!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Concludes tomorrow with . . . Even The Grin Of An Ordinary Guru

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Comments»

1. ashokbhatia - October 22, 2014

Congratulations. Handling it with aplomb and easy disdain and then finding it to be benign!

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

“Benign” has to be one of the sweetest sounding words in the English language. :mrgreen:

ashokbhatia - October 22, 2014

True!

2. suzicate - October 22, 2014

Glad all turned out well. You handled it like a trooper. I love your inner peace in action!

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Thanks, Suzi. This tumor helped me realize the value of Inner Peace. The lump appeared near the beginning of my spiritual quest ~> as we moved along the path from diagnosis to “clean bill of health,” it felt a bit like following a trail of breadcrumbs.

3. Silver in the Barn - October 22, 2014

OMG!! The Waiting!! The Torture!! Of course you can’t have a simple, straightforward tumor. Oh no, it needs to have a mind of its own and want to go on tour! A typically atypically good post though, Nancy.

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

I expect I would have had a harder time dealing with the cards you and Jen were dealt ~> I had no pain or physical limitations messing with my external landscape which left me free to focus on my internal landscape. But what valuable lessons we learn from our challenges!

I learned to: (1) be patient, (2) allow life to unfold, (3) maintain a sense of humor, and (4) pull any “worry weeds” that pop up.

Silver in the Barn - October 22, 2014

All vital to get through any of life’s crises. The gardener in me likes your “worry weeds” analogy very much.

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

We don’t need any weeds choking the life from our gardens!

4. Val Boyko - October 22, 2014

Yeah! Love happy endings … even if delayed …
Humor and patience are life savers 🙂
Val x

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Yes! Humor, patience, and Scottish pragmatism. Best of luck to your mum as she starts chemo today for the remnants of her less-than-benign parotid gland tumor.

5. Four Glitches & A Tumor | Spirit Lights The Way - October 22, 2014

[…] To be continued tomorrow . . . Four Glitches & A Tumor ~ Part 2. […]

6. Becky - October 22, 2014

I had a somewhat similar experience a few years ago with a stomach tumor. Thankfully, we only had to wait a week for the good news. Two months I would have been a mess! Glad it had a happy ending.

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Glad you got good news too, Becky. Dealing with this tumor and its attendant delays (5 mos. from start to finish) taught me to be patient and allow life to unfold ~> it is possible to be happy and live well in the midst of uncertainty.

A valuable skill since NOTHING is certain.

7. NancyTex - October 22, 2014

Nice display of humour, patience and grace! Kudos to you, the most patient of patients.

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Except for the one bad day at the start (when BFF encouraged me to snap out of it), the rest of the experience was an exercise in patience and mindfulness. Learning to stay in the moment and NOT try to drive past my headlights. A valuable skill.

8. Jill Weatherholt - October 22, 2014

“My tumor’s on tour?” That question is classic Nancy! 🙂
So happy to hear you got a good report…slow in coming, but good.

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

My surgeon was awesome ~> skilled, patient, fantastic bedside manner, and a great sense of humor. He encouraged me to take life lightly. And he was right ~ my tumor did become a star, written up in medical journals as a unique aberration. :mrgreen:

Jill Weatherholt - October 22, 2014

Surgeon’s like that are rare…so happy you found him. 🙂

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

The first surgeon we saw was a complete DRIP. So we went surgeon shopping and found Dr. Haydn.

9. katecrimmins - October 22, 2014

I love good news but of course we kind of knew that it had to be good since you are still around!

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Yeah . . . talk about spoiling the punchline! 😛

Most times we can’t see the future. It’s obscured by mist. That allows us to choose whether we are going to envision the BEST or the WORST. Opting to see brighter horizons makes us happier right here and now.

10. clarbojahn - October 22, 2014

So glad the news was worth waiting for. I admire your sense of humor and ability to keep it intact even in the face of adversity. A true trooper.. 🙂

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Thanks, Clar. The tumor was a pivot point. Before it, I didn’t feel “at peace” unless all my ducks were in a row ~ like that was ever going to happen. The tumor taught me to “go with the flow.”

A sense of humor is Valuable ~ it can keep us afloat even in the stormiest of seas.

11. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - October 22, 2014

Okay, that’s kinda cool that your tumor went on tour! 🙂 But man, even knowing you survive I’m totally dying for the conclusion!

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Haha! I’m giving you an opportunity to practice patience. 😛

In any event, the end is never the end ~ the horizon shifts as we do.

12. livelytwist - October 22, 2014

I held my breath as I read. I so wanted the outcome to be good. I am happy that the operation was successful and you can share your glitches with us and make us laugh. Your tumour went on a tour? Well, well, you’re a star! 🙂

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Thanks, Timi.

As a child, I dreamed of being a “rock star” ~ I guess that dream came true since the tumor was a tiny rock, a marble.

Pays to be specific when we dream. 😛

13. JOriginal Muse - October 22, 2014

I held my breath, too, and I’m not the fastest reader… gasping…! Let me get this straight…. So, the tumor turned out to be one of your missing marbles…? Whew…! 😉

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Exactly! And I thought I just had a screw loose! :/

JOriginal Muse - October 22, 2014

Ha, ha…! If you did, I’m sure the surgeon would have tightened it while in there 😉

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Yes! He’d tidy up the loose ends (where I was unraveling).

14. Katherine Gordy Levine - October 22, 2014

My husband had a five pound tumor that was of the kind usually malignant. The initial biopsy said benign, but that was so unusual, a tour was then scheduled. Happily it was benigh. Know your joy.

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Yay! That’s great, Katherine.

Five pounds is a B~I~G~G~I~E! Glad it was benign.

15. granny1947 - October 22, 2014

Two months for a result????
Good grief.

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

I assumed the BEST and put residual concerns out of my mind until I got the “all clear.” Still, it was nice to hear.

16. ericjbaker - October 22, 2014

Your protagonist is very likeable.

🙂

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Thanks, Eric! That’s a comment to savor.

17. thecontentedcrafter - October 22, 2014

Such a great story and life lesson and outcome – how could it be any other way given your ‘live in the moment’ choices. Kudos to you Nancy for leading the way 🙂

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Thanks, Pauline. I’m glad I learned the lesson then as it has stood me in good stead for most of the past 20 years.

18. Grannymar - October 22, 2014

Dr. Haydn sounds like a real gem, I’m glad you found him to lead you through the journey to the ‘benign’ result, but humour certainly makes life a little easier along the way. I’m glad the tumour went travelling when outside your body, and not within!

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Agreed. If I’d gone with Surgeon #1, I’m not convinced I would have been as happy with the end result ~ I may well have spent the rest of my life as a drooler.

19. diannegray - October 22, 2014

YAY! I was really worried there until I reached the end. You are a star in my eyes, Nancy (with a beautiful smile) 😀

nrhatch - October 22, 2014

Thanks, Dianne! I’m glad I didn’t lose my smile in the process ~ it’s a strong ally in life (when I remember to use it).

20. Yolanda M. - October 22, 2014

glad the outcome was good and you get to keep the smile 🙂 had to laugh at how the tumour gets to go on tour 😀

nrhatch - October 23, 2014

Me too!

If Andy Warhol was right . . . my tumor stole my 15 minutes of fame. 😛

21. Behind the Story - October 23, 2014

Wow! What a story! I’m glad you had a good result.

A serious story laced with humor, e.g. The surgeon (for whom we had waited patiently) worked patiently on his patient patient.

nrhatch - October 23, 2014

Thanks, Nicki! Stories laced with humor are just what the doctor ordered. Or as Mary Poppins was wont to say, “just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.”

22. Rainee - October 23, 2014

Thanks for sharing your story Nancy. Love your triumph of your sense of humour with it all 🙂

nrhatch - October 23, 2014

Thanks, Rainee. Losing my sense of humor would be the end of me ~> it is a valuable possession amid changing fortunes.

23. valleygrail - October 23, 2014

You are a very patient woman. And your humor brilliant. Thank you for sharing your story. Whew! I am so glad it turned out the way it did.

nrhatch - October 23, 2014

Thanks, VG. Patience is an acquisition, not something I was born with. Back when, I desired to know NOW (aah . . . “instant gratification”), always urging the future to shed its invisibility cloak so I could SEE what was on the way.

Now, I’m content to allow the path to unfold before me.

24. sufilight - October 23, 2014

Oh, my goodness. My eyes actually got wet at the thought that anything (well most things) in life can be handled with courage and
aplomb. Most of us would freak out between the waiting and the surgery. Glad it turned well for you and you are here sharing the story!

nrhatch - October 23, 2014

Thanks, Marie. We can’t control everything in life, but we can control our reaction to the “what is” and, like anything else, practice makes perfect.

25. jannatwrites - October 24, 2014

I’m glad it all ended up okay. The waiting for the consensus on the tumor could’ve been a nerve-racking time.

nrhatch - October 24, 2014

Assuming the Best (or the Worst) helps.

If you assume the Best, there is nothing to worry about. If you assume the worst (and KNOW you’re certain to die), you have every incentive to Seize The Day and Carpe Diem.

26. sufilight - October 24, 2014

Nancy: My sister, is going through stress as she awaits the results of two tests, a pap smear and microcalcification in her breast. I sent her a link to your two posts and a copy of your last comments between you and Janna. I am hoping it calms her down as she has a lot riding on these exams…if it turn out benign she will able to relocate overseas, if not, then she has to stay in the USA because of insurance.

nrhatch - October 24, 2014

Worry is interest paid on a debt we may not owe ~ hope she can relax and enjoy the NOW while envisioning the result she desires.

27. beeblu - October 24, 2014

You have to be different, don’t you?!

nrhatch - October 25, 2014

It’s my forté! 😛

28. Three Well Beings - October 25, 2014

Oh my gosh, Nancy. I am so glad you shared this very personal story and it just amazes me. You really did face this (absolutely no pun intended) with great courage and you and your wonderful BFF are quite a pair when it comes to supporting each other in difficult times. Having to wait for those results must have been really difficult. I’m moving on now to read where your story takes us next! 🙂

nrhatch - October 25, 2014

Thanks, Debra. Once I accepted that the tumor was “unique,” I assumed the best and went about my business. I stopped thinking about it until the doctor called with the “all clear.”


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