friends to the rescue

The last three days have been horrendous. Horrendous to the tune of rolling my eyes at nurses, crying over spilled milk, and being totally distracted at yoga. As the expander-implant switch-out surgery approached, I was fine. Totally fine. Not even thinking about cancer. Immersed in job applications, in prepping for campus visits, in when we are going to take down the Christmas tree. Not immersed in cancer.

And then boom. They called to inform me about my pre-opp instructions and to let me know what time to show up at the hospital, and things spiraled out of control. All I can say is, thank goodness there are friends who will go shopping for bright blue professorial shoes with me, and friends who will call late at night and then call another friend and tell them to call two minutes later, and friends who will make batches and batches of delicious soul-soup and leave it in my fridge. Thank goodness.

Yesterday, Sam and I rolled into the hospital mid-day, and that point, I’d already had shopping therapy with one friend, tea with another, and a hug with another. The only word to describe the nurse I got is gruff. Like really gruff. Finally, after she told me it was “more convenient for her” to have me give her all my belongings immediately even though it meant I would have to wait for three hours with nothing. I definitely needed my phone to read the multiple and oh so kind texts coming from every which direction. I said, “What is your problem? I’ve dealt with many nurses and never have I been treated like this. I am a young adult who had cancer and this is hard enough already, and I want my sweater and my cell phone until I have to go in. So please make it more convenient for me, not for you, as I am the patient and your job is to take care of me and I am telling you what I need, and please be nice.” She told me “that was how she practiced.” I was pissed. Livid. When she got all up in arms about my nose ring (which the doctors said I could keep in) I looked at her and said, “You really don’t get it, do you? I will not let you put that IV in my arm until you listen to this song, because you really don’t get it.” She huffed and puffed but I was firm. I made her  listen. She said very little, except, “Now can I put your IV in?”  I don’t care. I complained. I told the other nurses. I told the doctors. I told my surgeon. I told the woman at the front desk. I just don’t care. And that woman should not be nursing.

And then I was in the OR, and Dr. Yoga Surgeon was there, and she said everything would be fine and since I trust her I kind of believed, and then I was dizzy and floating away, and then the doctor was pulling the tube out of my throat and I was waking up in recovery. And soon enough, Dr. Yoga Surgeon was there again, telling me I can’t go to yoga for a month. A month! Umm, yah right. I’ll take ten days. Maybe. But I’ll go crazy otherwise! Crazy.

And then we came home, and Ariana and Kate were here with food and love, and I was still a little woozy from the meds, but I could finally eat which was excellent because I was starving! And that was that, at least for this surgery. I am intensely, forever, always grateful to those of you who have rallied around, who have made this easier and who have sat close when it couldn’t be made easier. I am lucky to be surrounded by friends who don’t balk at my iodine-reddened chest, or at the multiple bandages, or at the high level of intensity that is cancer.

Today, I took the whole day off of work. Well, mostly. I answered a hundred student emails because the semester started yesterday and they’ve already found reason to panic, and I have to prep for a post-doc interview tomorrow, but otherwise, I took the day off. And I’m working on the song fundraising video, and it’s so awesome. We’re going to make a music video! Woo! If you don’t know about the song already, read about it here and here,  and if you want a copy of the final version, email me at And for the rest of tonight, feeling grateful for friends, for dear ones, for soup, for songs, for creativity, for cats, for love, and for this surgery being over.

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