An enormous wave of relief flew through my body Thursday afternoon when I woke up from surgery. I was barely awake in the recovery room – still on morphine – and all at once I realized that I had not only made it through the operation (I was alive!) but I would never live in fear of ovarian cancer again. Laying down on that gurney, with needles and tubes in my arms and a catheter pushed between my legs, I felt
liberated. The cancer cloud that had been following me around since my mother died of ovarian cancer 11 years ago was nearly gone and all that was left was me.

The relief I felt was only magnified when my doctor visited me. I still harbored a very real fear that he found something wrong with my ovaries and I imagined him saying, “We were lucky. It’s Stage 1. If you hadn’t had this surgery, we never would have known and it would have been much worse. We caught the cancer early.” So when I asked him if everything looked normal, and he assured me that my ovaries were
completely fine, I started to cry. I dodged a bullet and I was truly free.

My operation was done laparoscopically and now all I have are three little bandages. One is by my belly button, the other is at my right hip bone, and the third is way down below my bikini line. The tape and gauze will fall off sometime in the shower and the internal stitches will just dissolve. I was given a prescription for Percocet – but all I need is Motrin. I was exhausted Thursday following surgery and have
been slowly getting my energy back every day. It hurts more when I sit than when I stand up or lie down – so writing this Blog today has taken me much longer than usual; Every minute or so I need to leave my computer and do something else. Maybe I’ll bring my laptop to bed and try typing on my side…

Other than that, I am still waiting for that big change. When will I feel some huge shift has taken place and that I am a different person? When will those hot flashes strike? So far, I just feel like someone punched me in the stomach and that’s about it. I feel absolutely the same. Actually, that’s not true. I feel better than the same. I feel younger and fear-free. Fear made me feel old. Fear made me feel like I could die today, tomorrow…sometime. Death was real. Now, death feels distant and life is what feels more possible than ever.

I go back to my doctor the day after tomorrow for my post-op check-up. I’ll keep you posted.

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