What seems like endless waiting, my surgery date finally came! I have to admit, waiting absolutely sucks! Especially when you have something growing inside you that you fear may be cancer! But, I think I did a pretty good job of not letting it get to me or allowing that elephant in the room. Also, it wasn’t like this big dark cloud hanging over my head. I’m pretty lucky that I can compartmentalize unpleasant things and just file them away until it’s necessary to open that door. Anyway, my surgery date was finally here.
My surgery wasn’t scheduled until 4:30 this past Monday afternoon. I was hoping to get an early in the day surgery but I was lucky they could squeeze me in as quickly as they did so I guess I can’t complain. Its funny how the mind works… surgeons normally have one or two days a week where all they do is surgery. My train of thought was it’s probably best to have your surgery in the morning because that’s when the doctor is fresh… Come on, the guy is only human. If you have surgery late in the day, he’s probably tired and possibly not on his game. But… in this case, I gotta take what I can get. I just want this damned thing out of me! Another problem with a late surgery was that I had to fast for a minimum of 9 hours before hand…that means no food or even water after 7:30 a.m.
They wanted me to check in two hours before surgery so we had to be at the hospital by 2:30 p.m. I could hear my stomach growling the entire time during our 20 minute drive. I was absolutely starving!!! Not only starving, but I’ll admit I was now starting to get a little nervous in anticipation of the surgery. I checked in with the surgical receptionist and they promptly brought me and patty into the prep room where they take your vitals etc. and fill out paperwork. Once that’s done, you get go change into the gown/smock/robe and booties from hell! The entire process takes maybe 20 minutes max and now it’s just wait time until the surgeon is ready for me. This was at about 3:00 p.m. Patty’s trying to entertain me because she knows I’m nervous but seriously, all I could think about at that point was food!!! I told Patty that after surgery we could stop at McDonald’s on the way home and I’d get a Big Mac, Large Fries and a Strawberry Shake! I know it’s not the healthiest food but, like I said, I was starving! In fact, it’s been years… I mean years, since I’ve had a Big Mac! I checked the clock and it was about 3:45 p.m. I told Patty that they should be getting me soon since my surgery was 45 minutes away. We waited… and waited… and waited… no one came and got me. It was pushing 4:30 p.m. and I was wondering what was going on. No one came and said anything to me about a delay but I figured they’d get me as soon as they were ready. So… we waited… and waited… and waited more. It was now pushing 6 o’clock… My stomach was so empty that it was stuck together and I was about ready to eat my hand and I could feel I was getting a little grumpy! OK… not a little grumpy, but a lot grumpy since no one had said anything to me about what was taking so long. I tried to put a smile on my face and marched out to the nurses area donning my blue printed robe, green gown and tan booties. Now, let me ask you, is there any way you can get any ounce of respect wearing those stupid clothes??? I kinda doubt it! There were three nurses in the nurses station laughing and joking and having a grand ol’ time when I interrupted them and politely said “Sorry to bother you, but I’ve been waiting here for four hours now. What’s going on? My surgery was scheduled for an hour and a half ago.” The nurse who checked me in had a puzzled look on her face and said she’d check. I went back to my waiting area with Patty. Moments later the nurse came in and said there were some issues with the surgery before mine but they were getting ready to “close him up” and they’d get me soon. What??? Issues??? Now see, this goes back to what I said earlier in this post… a late surgery isn’t good. It’s now after 6 p.m. and the surgeon is probably tired and I’m next! But, what can you do? Just sit there in my stupid gown and listen to my stomach growl! By the time 7:30 p.m. rolled around I’m still waiting and really, I’m not a happy camper! Finally a nurse came in and said she was ready to take me back to the surgical room. She said “Do you have your party hat?” Oh, that’s right. Not only are you wearing the most stupid looking clothes in the world, they want to add insult to injury and make you wear that net over your head! There’s just no way to look cool now!
The nurse wheeled me into the next pre-op room. This is where they get your IV in and do whatever last minute things they need to do. During this time you’re visited by the OR Nurse, my surgeon and Dr. Happy… the wonderful guy who puts you to sleep. My surgeon went over the process of getting the tumor out and it seemed like a pretty basic procedure which I was comfortable with. He finished by saying “I’ll see you in the operating room in a few minutes. I stopped him as he walked away and said “You’ve had a long day… I hope you’re not tired.” He looked me in the eye and said “Nope… I’m just warming up!” Ok… that helped. By 8:30 p.m. they were finally wheeling me into the operating room with my stomach still growling! Once in the room, they moved me to the operating table. One nurse took a peek under my gown and I was thinking “At least wait until I’m asleep!” She then said “You haven’t been shaved yet.” She then got out the electric razor and attacked my pubic hair. I always joke when I get nervous so made some smart ass comments about “Just take a little off the top” and some other crack about just having extensions put in! I had everyone in the room laughing! Ok… I still got it. Next thing I know is Dr. Happy speaking to me saying he put something in my IV to help me relax. Relax? Hell, I was out in seconds!
From what I hear, a lot happened while I was asleep… The surgeon made a two inch incision on my right side just above my right testicle and removed whatever is in that area. What he discovered was the tumor had attached itself to my right testicle making it impossible to remove without removing my testicle. This was a decision he couldn’t make and needed approval from Patty to do the removal. So, he and two nurses found Patty in the waiting room while I was out on the operating table with Dr. Happy keeping a close eye on me. The doctor explained what was happening and sked for her permission to remove my right testicle. It was either she make the call or he said he could close me up and get my permission and go back in later. Patty asked a few questions and then said “absolutely take it. He’d want to me to say yes!” So she signed a few papers and just before they left, she asked the surgeon “Is it cancer?” He replied “It looks like a slow growing cancer but we won’t know until we get the results of the biopsy.” The then returned to the operating room to finish with me. Patty was pretty upset of having to make that decision as well as learning the possibility of me having cancer. She told me later that she started crying when they left the room and within seconds he sister Kathy called. Funny how God works…
The next thing I know is I’m waking up in the recovery room… I was still somewhat groggy when the surgeon came in. He said “Ed… you did great! But I have some good news and some bad news… “ That’s never a good thing to say to a patient… “The good news is that you’re going to be fine… the bad news is we had to remove your right testicle… It’s going to be OK. You’ll still be able to father children!” WHAT??? I wasn’t upset about him taking my testicle, I was upset that he’d think I’d want any more children! For God’s sake… I’m almost 60!
So… a 45 minute surgery turned into nearly two hours. We didn’t get home until close to midnight. Good news is that I feel about a pound lighter now that they’ve removed that testicle.
So, now is the waiting game. I have my post-op meeting with my surgeon on Friday at 3:45 p.m. This is where we’re going to learn what’s in store for me going forward. I’ve been preparing myself to hear him say that it’s cancer and if it is, it’s not our first rodeo. Patty and I can get though anything. I’m very confident about that! If it’s clear and not cancer… I’ll be doing Patty’s Happy Dance!!!