It went as well as it possibly could.
The pathology report said no evidence of cancer, 1.5 cm margins, scar tissue left where the radiation had done its thing, lymphatic removal successful, evidence in only 2 nodes. Basically as awesome as these sorts of things can get.
I remember a world-spinning parade of everyone I love, a basket of flowers, cookies, a stuffed cow, and really awful pancakes.
Through my haze of efficient and fantastic narcotics, I recall the moment the weight finally lifted. I was not sleeping in the hospital room dark, just sort of slipping from nod to nod. But I do remember turning my head to see Christopher, all six-foot-something of him, crammed onto the little hospital room "couch" out cold. For the first time in nine months he was sleeping. Actually sleeping. That terrible thing that had been crouching in the corner of our days was gone, beat back, surgically removed, hopefully in the back of some bio hazard truck on its way to anywhere else. We would get up tomorrow and tomorrow would be different.
Over, however, well...not over. First there has been the nearly insurmountable obstacle of not doing anything of any use for several weeks. This has been a hard road but no one prepared me for the trauma of sitting on my ass watching paint dry. "It won't be so bad," the nurse said, "Just don't pick up anything over five pounds and keep that left arm above your heart a good 45 minutes a day, and no digging, or pulling, or lifting heavy things and you should be fine." Awesome! Except she was talking to a Les Paul playing-amp hauling-vegetable planting-lawn mowing-flour and milk jug using-dog walking-cat scratching WAITRESS! AARGh! Not so good at patience. The tendons in my left arm are tight and they'll require a little work to get back to fighting form. And the nerves in my arm have been monkeyed with so they hurt and are sort of numb at the same time. Otherwise unscathed, just bored.
The scars are going to be pretty tough looking indeed. I go back and forth on the "no boobs" issue. I'm not cool enough to just dismiss it. I had a nice rack. They will be missed. They will, however, not be down around my ankles at sixty either so I've got that going for me. They were also trying to kill me and if you've ever had something trying to kill you (puma, cancer, shark, gun) your warm fuzzy psychological attachment to it/them changes...alot. I look like I got into a hell of a knife fight in Juarez or some other exotic locale. Tough super cedes pretty. I'd rather be tough and alive than pretty and dead.
So we sleep now. Real sleep. I lift lighter things. I ask for help and watch weeds grow. But for all my bitching I am grateful. So grateful for so many and almost entirely incapable of expressing it because there are not words, really. Through so much of this words have failed or fallen short. How do you say fear beyond fear or joy beyond joy?
It may come back. It may never come back. There are no guarantees. Some cellular slot machine lined up just right and I got cancer. Then the universe lined up and kicked it to the curb. Such is the way. Bad things happen. But so do good things. They are not mutually exclusive.
Frost said, "The best way out is always through". There is no other way.