It’s a Kid Surgery
QUICK UPDATE: Before I get started, I just want to let everyone know I have had my CT and my next step is my surgery consult on Friday. I meet with my oncologist the following Tuesday and the radiologist on Wednesday and by then, we should have the treatment plan in place. Now on to the post!
I have been told on multiple occasions that I act like a child. Sometimes I get the nice version: “You are young at heart!” The truth is, I do try to keep a youthful spirit. I would like to tell you that it’s because of the beginning of chapter 18 in the book of Matthew where Jesus talks about becoming like a child in order to get to heaven. But let’s be honest, it’s because I never really grew up. In some ways I have. I am much more responsible than my Dad ever thought I would be. I take the job of providing for my family very seriously. I am pretty dedicated to my work and to the commitments that I make. But there is a reason why I like teaching youth at church or hanging out at the mic table at CharacterWorks shows, it keeps my mind youthful. I have noticed that I am starting to not understand things like the draw of Tiktok or some of the music that I hear them listening to. But there is a lot adults can learn from kids about how to approach life: fearless, positive, lack of judgement and open curiosity. I hope I never lose that. If that makes me childlike at times, I am okay with that.
So is it any wonder that I end up having to have a surgery that is mainly reserved for kids? When I told one of my friends I had to get my tonsils out, he said, “what are you twelve?” When I first heard it was a possibility I found it funny. I made jokes about how my mouth at least had managed to stay youthful even if my hair was turning grey. But then I started to look into it and it wasn’t quite as funny. Adults struggle with this surgery. The older you get, the worse it is. I started to wonder if I was the oldest person ever to have his tonsils out. Which admittedly, I thought would have been very cool. So I prepared myself to have a rough couple of weeks.
The procedure itself is pretty straight forward and would only last about fifteen minutes. The staff at St. Mary’s was great and I didn’t have to wait long until I was prepped and ready to go. I was a little nervous but I quickly found something that distracted me. They had this blanket that looked like something out of The Jetsons. It was really light and had warm air flowing through it. Apparently, they can change the temperature of the air as well if you were getting too warm. One of those is on my Christmas list for this year! I threatened to steal it but the drugs they gave me made me forget. One note on the drugs. I would highly recommend them. I woke up mostly clear-headed and with zero pain for rest of the day. I don’t know what they gave me but the next time I have to get my pacemaker replaced, I want it again!
I think when you go through an experience like this, there are things that you learn and there are silver linings if you look hard enough. More on those in a second. Let’s talk about the bad stuff first! First of all, you do NOT want ice cream right away. Maybe kids do but that was the biggest lie I was told. I had trouble drinking liquids those first couple of days and the thought of dairy made me queasy. The best thing at first was something the nurse told me about in recovery: discount slushies. You basically take two popsicles, put them in a cup, microwave them for 30 seconds or so and then crush them up. As long as you get the cook time right, they are great to eat slowly with a spoon. I ate so many of those the first few days.
I didn’t realize how deep my love of food goes. The first night I was going to eat something warm, I chose mashed potatoes. We had these microwave potatoes that had been in our fridge for a while and I counted down the days and then hours and then minutes before I could have them. Jillian warmed them up for me and then cooked a pizza for her and Jen. I wasn’t allowed to eat hot foods so I had to wait for the potatoes to cool down as I watched them eat the pizza. Yes, it was as painful as it sounded. I finally was able to taste them and they just didn’t taste right. I took another small bite because I just figured my taste buds were just messed up from the surgery but it still just wasn’t right. So I went to check the packaging and found, to my disappointment, they expired over a month ago. I considered going for it. When I finally came to the conclusion that eating them was a terrible idea and that there was nothing else besides chicken broth to eat, I cried. I’m not joking. I had a moment. I didn’t cry when I was told I had cancer. I cried when I couldn’t eat potatoes. Maybe I am still a kid. One other note, if I never have to eat (drink?) chicken broth or plain applesauce again, I will be totally fine with that!
Now onto the good stuff. For those of you who know me well, you know one of the lights in my life is my daughter Jillian. She is 19 and a truly amazing person. As talented and smart as she is, one of the careers that I can never see her doing is nursing. I bet she’d tell you the same thing. But she did a great job taking care of me, and the household while I was laid up. She gave me medicine, fixed me food and made me follow doctors orders. She was great! And it was a learning experience for her too. At one point, she was trying to cook dinner, put dishes away and switch clothes all at once. She came and sat down beside me and said, “This is really hard. How do you do it all the time?”
Another positive was weight loss. As part of a leadership class I am taking this year, I had committed to doing something I had never done before and committed to completing that task in an excellent manner. I chose to lose fifty pounds and keep it off. I have never been able to lose weight. I’d lose ten pounds and then six months later put on fifteen. From January to April, through an increase in exercise and some diet changes, I lost fifteen pounds. And then I hit a plateau. May through July, I kept off that fifteen but couldn’t lose any more. I got some advice from a friend of mine in the class (thanks Linda!) and was excited to see if that got me losing again. And then this all happened. In fact, she didn’t know about my surgery and she sent me an email about a seven day detox right before my surgery! Well instead of her plan, I did the 14-day tonsillectomy detox program! While I would not recommend this plan to ANYONE, I did lose 15 more pounds that I have been able to keep off so far! So who knows, maybe after treatment, I’ll have abs!
We will see though because like I said, I missed food and I am glad to be eating almost normally again, at least for the moment. On Wednesday last week, I was supposed to have my follow up with my ENT where he would check my throat and let me know if I could start eating again. On that morning, a scheduler for his office called and said that he had an emergency and had to cancel, how was next Monday? I literally started laughing. I explained that I could meet with any doctor in the practice at any office in the state of Virginia but it had to be this week. I needed to eat! She found me one for the very next day. Good thing we didn’t have to find out if I was still “young at heart” enough to throw a fit if I didn’t get my way!