Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Recovery

The recovery process was okay. I didn't believe in not eating certain things because they supposedly delay recovery, or eating a lot of certain other things because they speed it up. I just ate what I bloody well felt like eating. On the second day after surgery, I had a craving for 'kuey teow kerang' which my hubby not so regretfully substituted with 'kuey teow udang'. I ate that heartily. I also took eggs, even gladly accepted my next bed neighbour offer of her half-boil.

I remember when I was recuperating from my DIEP-flap at the plastic surgery ward in 2007, the help who delivered our breakfast whispered to me, good intentionally mind you..."I put these eggs here because they tell me too. Don't eat them if you want to heal quickly. They are not good if you just had an operation. They will leave puss and blood that'll look worse than a diabetic foot". Her eyes pitily wandered over the two tubes than came out of my right breast and the other two from my tummy. I bet she gave that advice to everyone in the ward because I sure could see two uneaten eggs on every tray, except mine.

The DIEP-flap surgery took approximately 12 hours and I was only woken up the next day. After I had the morphine taken off two days later, I noticed a man opposite my bed, his left foot wrapped and dangled from rods screwed to the bed. His wife came every day, feeding him, changing him. I learned that he was a policeman whose foot got run over by a lorry, wrecking the bones and nerves. He was there to try and get the foot fix , but by the look of him you would have thought he was the one with cancer, not me. He was so down and depressed he didn't talk to anyone, or make eye contact with anyone. The rest of us were happily calling McDonald's and Pizza Hut for delivery.

Unbeknown to me, the wife and the mother who came to visit him were watching me eat. So one day the wife approached me and asked why did I eat everything with little consideration for its effects on the wounds. So I said I did care...that's why I ate everything. I just had to recover quickly to go back to my daughter.

Then of course I had to explain about food pyramid, vitamins and minerals, like I was teaching Form 1 Physical Ed. I guess she told the hubby because the next day he sat up and began smiling to me, and ate everything. The patient before me who had free DIEP-flap was warded for 52 days. I was discharged after 10 days. That's the power of food...

But I digress...

This time round recovery was slower than 2004, but the scar that was left behind was less horrendous than the previous one. My left shoulder was tense for a couple of weeks but massages took care of that. There was more fluid to be drained this time and the drainage tubes were real pain in the ass. Being pregnant made it worse. I couldn't lie on my back because I got breathless and I couldn't lie on my left because of the darn tubes. So I had to be content with facing the sink on my right day in day out, and that resulted in even worse sore than the surgery itself.

Having cancer alone is hard enough on anybody, but to be pregnant at the same time...that requires super power to confront. But seriously, my daughter helps a lot. Although most of my energy is spent on her, she loves to hug me and give me kisses and would always want some parts of her body to be touching mine. That alone is enough to cure me of all the illnesses in the world.

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