So the surgery was yesterday. Halloween.
We got here late Sunday night because our first appointment on Monday was at 6:30 AM. This time out, we're staying at the Jones Rotary House, which is attached by skyway to MD Anderson, and man... we should have been staying there every time. We had a ton of appointments on Monday, we were there until 7 PM, and it was nice being able to go "home" between some of the appointments and rest instead of having to sit in uncomfortable waiting rooms all that time.
We had dinner at Goode BBQ, a decent if not great BBQ place on Monday night. As it turned out, that was my last meal for... a while. Tuesday I found out I wasn't allowed to eat anything else before the surgery, and today post-surgery I've been told I won't even get on a liquid diet until the weekend. A little foreknowledge and we probably would have gone for a fancier meal. Ah, well. I did have T&S Seafood dim sum and Deckhand Oyster Bar crawfish etouffee before leaving Austin.
The prep included drinking 48-64 ounces of potassium chloride in about an hour on Tuesday night. I flavored it with lemon-lime, so it was of course delicious. This is in no way sarcastic.But I got through it with the help of Life Savers, applied immediately after each 8 ounce glass, drunk every ten minutes.
The surgery check-in was at 6 AM. So of course, since I'd been napping much of Tuesday thanks to exhaustion from Monday, I couldn't get to sleep. Went to bed around midnight, finally got to sleep sometime after 2 AM. Fortunately, being sleepy for surgery is kind of a bonus.
They checked us in relatively quickly, but then I sat in the waiting room in bed for about two hours before signing the anesthesiologist consent form (the last of many... I agreed to a lot of scary possibilities before this surgery was underway) and was taken in to get an epidural installed. Installed? Is that the right word? Anyway, that was done, they put a mask over my face and that's the last thing I remember...
Until I woke up groggy in the recovery room, in much less pain than I expected, and ater what seemed like a long time, they finally asked if I was ready to see my wife and parents. They came in, said a quick hello and told me that it was 10 PM. Which puts the surgery time, for those keeping track, at roughly 12 hours.
It was a long surgery, but by all accounts a successful one. The surgeon is optimistic that he got all the cancer, the plastic surgeon seems pleased with his work as do the many doctors and nurses who have looked at my ass today, and miraculously, I'm not in much pain. I've even gotten up and walked a couple times, albeit while holding onto the wheely thing that carries my medicine around with me.
I'm not a particularly pretty sight at the moment. I've got drains in my legs, a new colostomy that I get to learn how to use tomorrow (whee!) and various things plugged into me. But I'm feeling relatively OK, and the worst part is now over, and some of the more scary things presented as worst-case scenarios didn't come to pass. Life is going to take a little adjusting to with the side effects of the surgery, but overall I'd call it a success.
Now I'm here in the hospital for another 7-9 days, headed back to Austin after that. They tell me I'll be fully recovered in about two months' time, so hopefully by Christmas. Although I'll start chemo again in November, so I won't be 100% again until some time next year. Maybe in time for my birthday.