Anniversary for many brings to mind a celebration of a wedding. Another year together. That was what I thought of anniversaries as well. As of last November, anniversary brought a new meaning. I marked a year that I wasn't supposed to be here.
Yesterday marked an anniversary I won't forget too soon. This is remarkable because my memory is full of holes. I can remember smells, sounds and feelings - but forget little details such as dates.
A year ago, I had half of my left lung removed. I sent in hoping for a small procedure but ended up with a thoracotomy and lobectomy. The tumor had doubled in six weeks. I was lucky they got to it when they did.
I could feel it pressing between my shoulder blades.
I didn't go into surgery worried or scared. I felt completely confident in my surgeon and the surgical team. Besides, I had placed my life in God's hands.
The post surgery is the nightmare. My pain was mostly controlled by anesthesia for the first day. Until the nausea threatened to cause vomiting. No morphene, codiene, percocet or any narcotics. I am so allergic that I stop breathing. I went home on Tylenol.
The pain was so intense that I remember screaming in the recovery room "Kill me. Kill me." My husband said that I was whispering it and begging him to kill me. Every breath was torture. Natural childbirth was a breeze compared to that surgery.
And then they wanted me to walk. A mile around the floor every day. Without pain meds.
After the surgery a year ago, I focused on the funny side. Old men walking in front of me with the back of their gown open. Tubes coming out of every crack and crevice. Asking for a boob job while the surgeon was working there anyway.
I couldn't look at the rest without tears, depression and fear. It was more than my mind could process.
Now I can look back and marvel. Not just at my ability to survive. But anyone's ability to survive that kind of surgery. My surgery was minimal compared to friends with multiple tumors wrapped around organs, etc. I am grateful.
All in all, this anniversary is very special. The incredible gift of another year.