Mar 22, 2011 - 2:23 am
I went to the ER December 16, 2010 in extreme pain, throwing up, expecting to be told I had a kidney stone. Instead, I was told I had a baseball sized cancer tumor in my right kidney that had probably been growing for 4 years or longer. The next morning I found myself talking to a urologist about surgery. Because I live in a very rural area, he recommended a larger hospital 5 hours away where, if possible, laparoscopic surgery might be an option. Due to the size and location of my tumor, he wasn't willing to attempt it at our small hospital. It took a bit to get scheduled, but I finally did have it removed laparoscopically on February 16, 2011. I spent 4 days in the hospital and the remainder of a month at home. I returned to work, part time, last week - just four hours a day. This week, I increased that to six hours a day. I cannot believe how tired I still am. I have a desk job and my boss is great, even willing to let me take a nap if I need it - but I haven't done that. She even brought a treadmill downstairs from her husband's bedroom, encouraging me to walk if I need to...but I feel funny about doing that, too, so I haven't. I really don't know what to do to help myself. Sounds stupid, but my midsection doesn't feel like it's part of my body. It feels like it's been implanted with a giant nerf ball! The incisions are still very sensitive and I still have a couple of spots that don't want to close up. I only had inner stitches, no outer. Once the plastic bandages wore off, there was nothing to keep those 2 spots from gapping open. I keep them cleaned out with peroxide and put neosporin and bandaids on them every day, but it seems like they'll never heal. I can finally lay flat and lay on my sides, but sleeping is still difficult. It's still painful to roll over in bed. And while I'm constantly tired, have very low energy, I find I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. I have moments when I just start crying and can't explain why, because I don't even know. I can't put it into words to help my husband understand me because I don't understand it myself. Is this normal? The doctors just gave me the impression that while it was going to be major surgery, I'd be able to go back to work in a month with no dietary restrictions and just have follow up visits with xrays and blood work for 5 years. I feel bad even telling people I've had cancer because getting rid of it was so simple compared to so many people. I'm thankful, don't get me wrong, but I'm also embarrassed to talk about it. If they've not been through this, how can they possibly understand the emotional roller coaster it is? I've never had problems with anxiety or depression. I have a strong faith in God, love my husband & kids, and love my job. But I can't seem to get excited about going back to work and haven't even gone to church once since surgery. I don't want people at church asking me how I'm doing and treating me like I might break. Yet, at the same time, I can't be my normal self either. I can't even wear pants yet. I'm wearing pajama pants to work. Thank God I have a great boss and a very relaxed work environment. I have a strong support group and I know I'm very blessed, so why can't I seem to kick back into gear? If I could, I would just curl up in a little ball and not come out at all.