I had never had a major injury before this. No broken bones, no appendicitis, no tonsils removed. Nothing of the like. The idea that I had to get a cancerous tumor cut out of me is not the ideal way to have your first experience.
I was worried about a lot of things. Being put to sleep was maybe my biggest. What if I didn't respond well to the drugs? What if I didn't wake up? What if there is more in there than expected when they get started? What if something goes wrong? What will happen to the people waiting for me when I get done in the operating room? These were just a few things to concern me.
I went through all the pre-surgery checks, my heart raced, they had to give me medication to calm down. And then I left my fiance and walked into a cold room with, of all things Katy Perry's "Firework" playing. I wondered if this would be the last song I heard. I laid down on the table and don't remember anything about the process after that.
I woke up in the recovery room, dazed, and was wheeled to the room I would be staying in for the night. My leg was swollen to twice its normal size, and I couldn't move it. The tumor had been removed, along with a good sized piece of fat and muscle in my leg, and I had a scar about eight inches long with 37 staples holding it together. But I was awake which is all I really cared about. It would be a very long road to being able to walk again. It takes a long time to heal from surgery, but even longer when you are on chemo. It took about a month before my leg had healed enough to get the staples out. One thing about the operation was it removed all the feeling in my right thigh. This was helpful when the staples came out.
I couldn't walk for a few days at all. Couldn't dress myself either. Eventually I could walk with crutches but I was basically dragging my leg. Stairs were miserable. They just became harder as the chemo treatments progressed. In the coming months, I would have two leg infections with two more surgeries to clean it out. I had drainage tubes in my leg for one of these. It was very unpleasant but I got through it. I took some positives from it. I met a lot of great health care workers going to the "wound clinic" daily to get my scar cleaned and re-bandaged every day.
It took what it seems like forever for my leg to heal. It was a constant reminder of what I was going through, and I hated it, but eventually the bandages were no longer needed, and my leg was healed over. I still have a big indentation in my leg where everything was removed, and I still have more recovery to do. But it is getting there.
At the end of the day, i was very lucky. Being able to have an operation on your leg rather than the core of your body is a blessing. I was very fortunate. It was scary, but I got through it by having faith in the doctors and nurses in charge of everything. They made life easier (by no means was it easy). Once my leg healed (about 6 months) I was able to focus on chemo and radiation. Anytime you can check one thing off the list is a big step. This is a very short account and I will post on more details of problems I encountered with surgery in the coming posts.