doorChristmas yesterday was OK. I woke sluggish and nauseous so it was a challenge to get going and make brunch for my son and my ex….but I did it. My son kind of liked the huge parka I got him so he’ll be warm in one of Canada’s coldest cities. That may not sound like much but he has hated almost everything I’ve given him in the past, especially clothes, so it’s not bad. I think he’ll like it more when he sees how warm it keeps him.

And good calm spirits were had by all – no Christmas fights or even bad feelings. The pancakes were good, fruit salad with blackberries and kiwi eaten up, presents unwrapped. My son even packed away the paper for recycling. It’s restful to have people around whom I’ve known so many years, no performance is necessary, and we can just sit quietly at times if we want.

After a nap, I cooked brussel sprouts with garlic, butter and lemon and go off to a friend’s for dinner. It was OK. My dish somehow got lost in translation once it was reheated in the oven – all the careful flavouring disappeared – I might as well just have boiled the sprouts and left it at that. Disappointing.

Plus by that time, my social skills had pretty well deserted me. At times I just sat at the dinner table unable to talk and wanted to cry. Very embarrassing. Apparently the party broke up early because I looked like I wanted to go home, and I was driving people. I hadn’t quite realized, but my friend called me this morning and that was the case.

I guess I do get emotional at this time of year and find it hard. Plus, I’d just had another appointment with my surgeon the day before, on the twenty fourth. It would have been good to discuss it, but it didn’t seem like appropriate dinner conversation for Christmas dinner, with someone there whom I barely know. Though maybe I could have mentioned it. Maybe not. Probably not.

Anyway, I ended up sitting there unable to talk and felt like an idiot. Not like a good guest at all.

But I was glad not to be alone at any rate. Today I’ve been alone which was fine at first but by tonight I’m lonely.

The surgeon appointment was scary. Early in the morning too, when I’m not at my best. I was extremely scared before hand, then scared in his office, then scared still afterwards.

This was the appointment where they tell you all the things that may go wrong or my make this a more serious operation. A lot of stuff can go wrong – who knew.

There’s a 25% chance they’ll have to do a more serious operation, depending on what he sees when he’s operating, in which case my recovery time and hospital time would double. There is a chance I’d need a temporary colostomy bag for a few months after the operation. Apparently there is a mistake that sometimes happens where they injure the tube to the bladder. When they bind up the colon again, that site can leak. There is a risk of infection (OK, that one I knew about).

Then two weeks after the operation, I would find out whether there is lymph node involvement and if I’ll therefore need chemo.

Then it turns out I have a ‘budding’ type of cancer polyp. Hmm…I didn’t totally understand this, but it’s a more threatening kind than other kinds. But, the surgeon says it was totally surrounded by healthy tissue, so it seems like it hasn’t advanced very far. So he said it all evens out.

I think by and large, he’s saying it’s likely I’ll have the minimally invasive surgery with no other complications. However, he doesn’t know for sure until he operates.

It was hard to hear all this, then imagine it in gruesome detail. In a way it might be better just to go into the operation a little more blind, not knowing all the ins and outs, just trusting for the best.

So, I’m obviously obsessed by this topic. I’ve noticed that once in a while now though I won’t be thinking about cancer for a while – today I was watching a movie and relaxed enough to enjoy it a bit for instance. No thought of cancer crossed my mind.

And I talked to Ron today on the phone by pre-arrangement. Kind of him. I am scared of the phone, so really scared to phone Ron. I phone him and he is so calm. I am a bit of a mess – I tell him about the Christmas dinner, and my surgeon appointment. I’d say the tone was a teenaged tone – a bit overwrought, wanting to tell him lots of details of things.

Talking to Ron was scary, but it chased my lethargic depression away. He said we can talk again before our next appointment, if I want, I can email him to set it up. Don’t know if I will, but I like having the option.

I think it’s good for me to talk about the medical issues and my feelings. I don’t need another layer of post traumatic stress to deal with afterwards because I once again had to stuff all my feelings about it away. So I am grateful I have Ron to talk to.

  1. Marie said:

    Hey, Ellen –

    I am sad/scared to read about your cancer stuff . . . but, it seems you are handling things as well as can be hoped for . . . my thoughts and prayers are with you!

    – Marie

    • Ellen said:

      I’m touched by your concern Marie, thank you!

  2. Glad to hear things went well with your son. Try not to worry too much, they have to tell you all those terrible possibilities so that your informed, but so many of those things are never going to happen, especially in more common procedures. I agree with you, I’d rather not hear them. šŸ™‚ I’m glad that Ron is being supportiv and I think its good you’re talking about your feelings. Having our feelings heard and understood lets us know we matter and provides the strength we need to face these kind of trials. I hope the surgery goes well and there’s no need for chemo.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks AG. You’re right – there is no point worrying about things I can’t influence anyway. Thanks for being reassuring! Yes it’s great having support. Since I know how to turn trauma into PTSD, I don’t want to do that here, and having Ron help me through it will prevent that from happening.

  3. Hi Ellen, Just reading and thinking of you. Some ups and downs, anyone would have such feelings given the situation. Seems to me you are coping quite awesomely.

    Thinking of you.

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you Aaron. šŸ™‚

  4. artyelf said:

    Good to see you had a nice lunch, shame about the dinner, but your friends would understand, you are confronting so much at the moment.
    Also glad you had that call with Ron. I find that type of thing scary too. But it’s so important for you to express yourself at the moment, let all those real fears tumble out, let them be heard – they are all valid. And I’d encourage you to set up the second call, try to accept any help that is offered to you on this journey.
    Is anyone going with you to your appointments? I’m concerned you may be doing this alone. And these doctors give out so much information, it’s hard to take it all on board when you are in shock. I used to get my friend’s doctors to write down important terms or meds, so we could look them up later.
    You are very much in my thoughts, and I send you healing light each day ā™”

    • Ellen said:

      I’m glad also I called Ron even if it was scary. Dealing with feelings isn’t what I’m used to, so it’s good to have support to do that. I’m going to appointments alone – a real drawback of not having anyone very close to me. It would be good to have someone else’s brain there to rely on, since I’m a bit overwhelmed. However, my ex will go with me when I check in for surgery so I won’t be alone, thank goodness. He is being great. He has a very caring, good side to him that really comes out in a crisis.

      I have been feeling better overall this week – it may be the healing light. Thanks you so much Elyn for doing that! xoxo

  5. hey, gonna send you a longer email … but that’s not how i experienced dinner at all. i mean, i could tell you were tired and sad, but wasn’t sure you wanted me to draw any attention to it (sorry!!!) … but you know, really, a couple of hours is enough for a dinner party! not sure what your friend was expecting. i didn’t feel like i went home too early, at all. and it was nice to get out and be among people, but i have been sad and suicidal and generally yuck for a few days, so you were not alone in feeling sad. xo c.

    • Ellen said:

      You were so sociable Catherine, I’d never have guessed you were in such pain. With me it’s more obvious, and I was no where near suicidal. I’m real sorry you are feeling so rough. I really get the Christmas sadness though, irrational as it is. I think it touches our childhoods, that’s what makes it so intense. xox

      • thx… i guess appearances are deceiving, eh. i saw sharon’s “replacement” today for 90 minutes. she reminded me about gerstein… so might give them a buzz. it’s nice to know there’s an alternative to the hospital.

  6. weareonebyruth said:

    I understand the need for talking about what is happening with the cancer stuff. When I had my cancer I felt like it was all I wanted to talk about. That feeling passes. Glad to hear Ron arranged to talk to you and offered another phone call. Sounds like it made a difference for you.
    Hugs. Ruth

    • Ellen said:

      Interesting you were the same. I am obsessed and it’s mostly what I want to talk about. And most people can’t stand to hear it it seems, or they feel it’s an impolite topic. Yeah, talking with Ron was good. Thanks Ruth. Hugs

  7. attached said:

    I am sorry the surgeon’s appointment was so scary. Do you have a date for the surgery yet? I am glad you spoke to Ron on the phone. It is helpful to express all your feelings. I agree that it could be helpful to have someone else attend your doctor’s appointments. Would you ex be willing to go with you? Let me know how you are doing today?

    • Ellen said:

      Well, I am a scardy cat also – the surgeon is quite nice and not scary as a person, really. I don’t have a date yet – everyone needed for scheduling is on vacation. I feel it’s too much to ask for him to go with me, but he will go with me when I check in for surgery, which is really helpful. Today I’m OK thanks Diane – went for a long walk, trying to get more fit for surgery. take care now

  8. Harriet said:

    I’m glad you were able to get out for dinner, even though you may not have felt very sociable. When I had cancer I didn’t exactly talk about it all the time, but I have a good friend who had cancer 3 years before and I kept asking her questions and getting her to tell me her story. She had a totally different kind of cancer and treatment, but I asked her about her procedures and her feelings and how she managed it all, etc. By the way, she had the cancer that you have, she was 45 at the time, and she is doing great now! It was caught early with her as well. It’s great that talked to Ron on the phone and that he was a calming presence. I hate the phone, I avoid it at all costs, not just with therapy, but with everyone. So I get how you feel about that. Your ex going with you to the surgery is a good idea, he sounds like he is concerned and caring. Hope you are doing ok today, and not having too much ruminating about the cancer, although easier said than done I know.

    • Ellen said:

      I’m so interested in all stories of cancer at the moment also. Especially when they turn out OK in the end. I never was interested before, but now I sure am. When with other people, I don’t want to talk about it all the time either, but I want to discuss it a bit at least. Once I’ve acknowledged it, I’m OK to go on with other topics.

      I am not as obsessed as I was at first at least – thanks Harriet!

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