Friday, 12 December 2014

December 14: Monday the 8th ~ kicked it!

Surprisingly this last post has been the most difficult to write, it is incredibly hard to sum up in a few paragraphs how it feels to see the last chapter of this part of our story come to a close. So best to simply tell it as it happened. It has been the shortest/ longest six or seven months of our lives and it has challenged and changed many of our perspectives, ideas and ideals. Yet we are still the same people we were before, just better for having had the experience I hope.

The first thing we did when we got home was decorate the tree!

Monday was D-Day, the last step in Brendan’s wellness plan. It would be a two hour operation to remove the part of his lung that contained two cancerous lesions; that had metastasised from the primary sarcoma in his femur. Once this operation was complete Brendan would be cancer free. It was a very exciting day.
We had to be in the perioperative waiting room by 8am, Brendan was nil by mouth and I could wait until we knew what time his operation would commence before getting breakfast.  By 10 am we were both starving, at 10:30am we were called in by the nurse and pre-admission was complete. We were told that the operation could possibly go ahead some time after 12 noon, but we would have to hang around in case it was sooner. We still hadn’t eaten or drank anything as lunch time came and went. We were, by this time watching for the nurse calling in each case, like she was giving away bars of gold, hoping that the next one would be ours. As we watched the room of about 80 or more patients dwindle down to about 10 we started to get an uneasy feeling. When the nurse came out at 3:30 pm and said “we think most operations left will still go ahead, I don’t think anyone will be sent home at this stage,” we all looked at each other, the remaining half dozen of us, brothers and sisters in arms, and our hearts heaved collectively.
At 4 pm the nurse appeared again and Brendan’s and two other names were called, I’m sure I saw a golden halo of light around her head as I quickly said goodbye to my husband, and he was whisked away through the door we had been fixed on for the last eight hours. As I left to find some food, water and panadol; I mouthed good luck to the young guy who was sitting across from us, he told us earlier that he had been sitting there since 6:30 am…I prayed that they would call him next.
I passed the next couple of hours over a cuppa with my lovely friend Holly who has been my support system when in Sydney, always there for a cuppa and a friendly chat when I needed it most. Time passes quickly with Hol and when I looked down and seen that it was already 6 pm I rushed back to the hospital, and went straight up to Brendan's ward, that had been given to me that morning at perioperative.  I was told at the desk that he wasn't back yet. I came back again at 7 pm, and again at 7 :30 pm, this time I asked If I could just wait for him in his room, and was told I could. At a little after 8pm they rolled him in all groggy and smiling, the nurse asked if I had been waiting long, I smiled and said, “not really” My cancer free husband was back, nothing else mattered!
The second nurse came around to write Brendan’s name and doctor on the white board above his bed, and as he went to write doctor Yans name he stopped, looked at his paper work and then looked at me and said very surprised “how did you get introduced to Dr Yan? Did your GP do that?” I replied “No, our Oncologist Dr Bhadri did” He then nodded knowingly and just said “oh…OK, that’s good”
Bren could now settle in for a night of much deserved, slightly aided rest and recuperation. And so could I, my drug alternative would be my two sisters joining me for the next couple of nights.
The next morning Sue, Deb and I all came into the hospital bright and early to have breakfast in the hospital café before heading upstairs to see Bren. Deb and Sue had come down not only to support Brendan and I, but also so the three of us could go down to Wollongong to see our aunty Jill who was in hospital only just being diagnosed with lung cancer the week before, and our cousin Tracy. We would head straight down to see Jill after we made sure Bren was OK. (I will tell a little more of our trip to see Jill in my next post).
We got to the hospital café, placed our orders and who should be having breakfast across the other side of the room, but Dr Stalley. He is an imposing man who fills the room with his presence, even stopping other doctors in their tracks when they realise they are sharing the same space. Even so, his kindness is evident. I didn’t approach him, as unless I'm with Brendan he doesn't have a clue who I am or that he will always be a much loved and appreciated person in our lives, for playing such an instrumental part in saving Brendan’s life.
After we ate it was straight up to see the patient, he looked great and was sitting up, out of bed when we walked in, but was a little pale. He assured me he was fine so the girls and I headed off to Wollongong and would come back later with pizza for dinner.
By the time we got back it was almost 5 pm and Bren looked fantastic, all the colour had come back to his face and he was honestly ready to go home.
The next morning we three girls got off to a slightly later start, as we were up late laughing, crying and laughing some more the night before, reminiscing about days gone by. We were up getting ready to head back to the hospital when we received a message to say Bren was being sent home, we wasted no time as we threw clothes, cosmetics and shoes together, times three and got ready so we could get to the hospital pronto and get on the road for home.
The girls headed straight back to Taree, and I went to pick up the patient. I asked Bren what was going on and he said we just had to wait for Dr Yan and Claire to come back to fianlise things and we could go. He said he had heard them talking outside his room earlier, and Dr Yan had simply said “he is a strong, fit fellow, he’s doing well, he can go home if he wants too”! And then came in and I think gave him the option.
About 20 minutes after i got there, Dr Yan came back and asked Bren if he was feeling OK, discussed a few minor things, shook both our hands and wished us farewell, ensuring plans were made for a follow up with him in January. As he was leaving Bren asked how much lung was taken, Dr Yan then nodded toward the Styrofoam cup on the breakfast tray and said ”enough to fill that cup.” Turning to leave, he took a couple of steps and looked back at Brendan over his shoulder and said “You are all good!” he paused, smiled and finished with “ Now you don’t worry about it” He then waved as he moved on to perform more miracles, before heading off to Milan for the holidays.
And that was that…
Discharge papers were served and we were on our way home in less than a day and half post operation!
Brendan is now cancer free, he will have his 3 monthly check ups with doctor Viv for the next couple of years and then they will stretch out to yearly until he passes his 7 year milestone! After the last 6 months or more that will be a piece of cake for all of us :)
And that my friends is called… “Kicking Cancers Arse!”
 Thank you for being there every step of the way :) xx

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