Monday, March 21, 2011

The Week of Reality

Holy cow, I have been a busy girl, living it up while I can. My baby sister came home this weekend and we wasted no time catching up on the last month. We went out on the "town" Saturday night and had some interesting experiences...

I realize I have been the latest gossip in the last few months; however, as I have mentioned before, I am not a circus freak. When I am at a restaurant please do not stare at me from the moment I walk in until I peel my last shrimp. It is not only socially unacceptable, but it is downright RUDE. When you turn around in your chair--not once but numerous times--please realize I know you are staring at me.

Maybe next time I should wave...

Later on that same evening, people treated me the way I appreciate being treated. The guys walked up to me at separate times, gave me a hug, asked if I am OK, and changed the subject...In other words, they treated me like the normal person that I am.

The thing about melanoma that I think people find shocking is that minus my scars, I do not look different. I guess I do not fit their idea of a "cancer patient." One of my fellow melanoma warriors suggested making tee-shirts that state, "This is the face of melanoma." I am sure it would catch some people off guard...We are not all obsessive tanners, we are not all 60 years old, and we definitely are not all males. Woo hoo for beating stereotypes!

Today was such a great day. My sister and I joined Mom for lunch, not realizing that she had special guests waiting for us...Gran and Pop! I had not expected to see them until after I came back from New York so it was an exciting surprise. We had a very lovely day together. Lots of quality time!

On Facebook I asked the question of what to pack during my upcoming hospital visit. Here is the list of suggestions so far:

1) My own pillow
2) the necessities...toothbrush, etc. I probably won't be needing shampoo, etc, since I will not be allowed to shower. (Gross, I know. However, I highly doubt that will be on my list of priorities. Sorry if I smell!)
3) Slippers
4) PJ bottoms (I will have to keep the hospital gown on because of the drains.)
5) Ear buds to drown out the family when I need a break. ;-)
6) iPad to update you fabulous people (Ignore any ridiculous posts. I will swear it was the morphine!)
7) a robe
8) and of course my cell phone!

I have received a lot of good advice from other Warriors, too. I never thought about reminding the nurses not to use the blood pressure cuff on my arm after the surgery. Apparently since I will not have lymph nodes in the left arm, it is not wise! I had no idea I would wake up to my own special compression bra, so I am glad Melanoma & the City warned me...That could have been a huge shock! Everyone keeps suggesting I insist on someone not drugged up to stay near me at all times so that they absorb the information and make the decisions. Hopefully I will have a private room and this will not be an issue. Plus it would help with my irrational fear of hospitals...

I am praying, hoping, and wishing for a drama free surgery and hospital visit!

...I still can not help wishing none of this was happening.

But I will get through it.

I will tough it out.

And...I will sit back & let the morphine do its job.


Erin May said...

You should get a special pink bracelet for your arm where they can't do blood draws and pressure.

As for shower - they have these great warm bath wipes. Or a nurse will offer to wash you. Nice... Haha! You will do fine!

Tina Sullivan said...

So glad to hear that you had some fun. Just what you needed.

The list looks good to me. I also brought a comfy/cozy blanket. I agree that someone not drugged up be around as you really won't be in any condition to really understand the nurses and dotors. The drugs are that good ;) Also ring that call button anytime you need anything. Don't hold back. The nurses are there for you and are more than willing to get you or do what you need.

Also, not sure how long your hair is, but my hair was CRAZY after my 1st surgery. Not sure what they do to you during surgery, but I looked like I had stood in a wind storm! For the rest of them I put my hair in braids which made it manageable for a couple days after.

Hang in there!

Chelsea said...

Tina, that reminds hair was crazy after my first surgery too! I totally forgot about that!!!

I am used to being very independent...having a call button should be an interesting experience. But I know that if I really need something I will not be afraid to use it. I am grateful for all of this advice. I am becoming a nervous wreck!!

Erin, I hate that you had to be a patient at MSK but I love you already know what to tell me!!! ;-) Looking forward to seeing you, friend!

John and Susan said...

Chelsea, We send our love, thoughts and prayers to you. You ring that call button any damn time you feel like it girl!!