Friday, April 6, 2012


I recently had a little scare. Over the last couple months I had developed a cyst in my lower cheek which needed to be removed and biopsied. My oral surgeon suggested that it was fluid based but wanted to biopsy because there were characteristics that indicated a possible tumor. I was notified that I would need to be put down under general anesthesia – paralysis and my breathing would be controlled by a machine. The cyst was located next to two main facial nerves. One that controlled sensory input – my sense of touch; and one that controlled sensory output – facial expressions. Under general anesthesia he was able to use a device that would activate the sensory input nerve.
The other nerve was left “in the dark” and his goal was to stay the f*** away from it. As if the thought of a tumor wasn't scary enough?!

I stayed with my momma the night before the surgery. She is one of the few people I could trust not to kill me while I was in a state of fasting. Some might say I can be asshole hungry! She also has a way of turning stress into laughter. While sitting in the waiting room she told me that a family friend's sofa burned down by way of a snow globe. WTF? I thought she was making this up. As we're sitting there the 6am news comes on and I'll be damned! Apparently the light from the sun caught the snow globe at the right angle and lit his sofa on fire! My mom and I rolled over laughing. Ah yes, a fire is not funny.......but come on, from a snow globe?
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Ok, ok, my humor is dark. 

My momma always ensures my utter most comfort. I was freezing cold in my little backless surgery virgin gown, so she went and got blanket after blanket from the incubator and wrapped me up like a mummy. It took 8 blankets to stop my shivering. I was still cold though. My vaso-spasms were playing hind-and-go seek when the nurse tried to stick me with the IV. Luckily she got in on the third try or I would have struck someone out. It took forever to fall asleep. I was sure they were going to cut me while I was awake. That was the last I remembered.

When I came to I was ready to get up and go. I was a little groggy but I felt no need to lie down and rest. I mean what for? I had been resting while they were operating. Plus my tummy was growling. Feed me Seymour With my momma's assistance I got dressed, threw on my kicks and I was on my way to a Starbucks Frappacino.

Later that day I grew to regret my impulsive decision. I developed an intense headache which turned into a migraine with violent vomiting. 5 hrs of vomiting led to severe dehydration and muscle cramping. The migraine that was so bad I had to keep my zebra-printed sleeping eye mask on. I could not tolerate the sight of light. My momma took me to the ER. The fact that we arrived in one piece was a miracle. My momma doesn't like driving in the rain (let's not leave out the fact she hadn't changed her windshield wipers since she bought the car -5+ years ago), or the dark, or the freeway, or that she didn't know how the hell to get there! I had to navigate through a 40 minute drive and across 3 main freeways......blindfolded! Holy Moly. When we arrived I was going to kiss the ER welcome mat, but instead I threw up on it. Needless to say I was immediately wheeled into a private room.

The next 2 hours I laid in a cold, dark room with intense hunger pains, thirst, nausea and leg cramps/spasms......waiting for my turn to see a doctor. If it wasn't for my mother's comfort by my bedside I'm pretty sure I would have died. Seriously, she had to “steal” blankets from the incubator to keep me warm and got yelled at for doing so!

Once the doc saw me I got admitted. First I got a couple of bags of saline for hydration. Next came morphine for the migraine. The morphine experience was God-awful. Hot sweats and numbness everywhere. Thankfully the Benadryl kicked in and knocked my ass out. I wasn't out for the count for long. My legs spasms rudely awoke me from my drug-induced slumber. Last but not least was the IV drip of magnesium – which I think hurt the worst. For the next 75 minutes I felt like someone was jabbing an IV in my arm repeatedly. The doc diluted the concentration but that only mildly helped. F***! Can't a girl just get a break? At 4am, 6 hrs after arriving at the ER room I was released to go home with a take home basket of anti-nausea pills. Finally at 5am I was able to stomach food. It was a first in 34 hours. Oatmeal has never tasted sooooooo good. My momma and I crashed hard and slept a good part of the morning away.

It's been two weeks since the operation and recovery has gone well. I went back to see my doc this week for a follow up. He told me that the cyst he removed was the size of a quarter. A f***ing quarter! How it wasn't more visible from the outside was beyond us both.The good news is it tested benign. The iffy news is that I have another hard pea sized lump. The doc said it could be built up scar tissue or it could be yet another cyst. Sometimes I think FML....but I'll retract that and stay positive, praying it doesn't grow. 

This whole clusterf*** made me very grateful for a number of things. Sometimes bad things happen for good reminders. 

  • The cyst is BENIGN = NOT CANCER. Thank God! 
  • I have the best mother in the world. I knew this prior but was again reminded. She selflessly stayed up for 25+hrs straight to take care of me. She made me laugh when I would cry. She brought me warmth when I was cold. She sat by my bedside while I whined endlessly in pain. I LOVE you mom.

  • I live in a country where food is plentiful. (Seriously – look up the obesity stats!) I have never gone without food or nutrients for so long in my life. The fatigue, malnutrition and hunger pains were unimaginable. I will be more thankful of having food/fuel. 
  • I work for a company that is supportive of its' employees health. I never felt “stressed” from my co-workers for missing work. Instead they made me feel wanted and cared for. I have REALLY great health insurance. Sure, I had to sit for hours in the ER w/o care but once I was seen I was treated well AND at NO COST.