Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why I want to give my trainer a big, wet kiss on the mouth, or, Yes, it was cancer

Can you believe it? All these years of blogging, and I still don't have a solid technique for leading into a story. So I'll remind you of where we left off last time.

When we last spoke, I was about to head into the hospital for laparoscopic surgery on my right kidney. It was a modern day update of the old nursery rhyme:
Because she was trying to fit into smaller jeans, Poppy did hundreds of crunches.
Because of the hundreds of crunches, she developed lower abdominal pain.
Because of the pain, she got a CT scan.
Because of the CT scan, they discovered a mass.
Because of the mass, she had surgery.
Because of the surgery, she kicked cancer's ass.
I went into the hospital last Thursday at 11:00 in the morning, and went into the operating room at 12:30, floating on a white cloud of twilight sleep, with nary a care in the world. After two days, (the first of which was rather uncomfortable, the second much less so) I left the hospital. My insurance would have covered a third day, and if it hadn't been for my surgeon's dire warnings to escape the hospital's germiness as quickly as possible, I'd have hung out longer, basking in the attentions of the nursing staff and a seemingly limitless supply of red Jell-O.

I mean, what wasn't to like? I had had a perfectly lovely time with twilight sleep and general anesthesia. I remembered my nurses' names and everything everyone told me to do. I had two new audiobooks on my iPhone.

I also had two completely delightful new hardcovers to dive into: Jen Lancaster's latest novel, Here I Go Again, and Simon Doonan's Gay Men Don't Get Fat. My bed was comfortable, and I could adjust it to suit me and my incisions. The room was small, but exquisitely clean and decked with masses of flowers.

Most importantly (and this is key) nobody's emotional well-being or self-esteem would be affected by anything I'd say or do. The nurses and doctors and orderlies didn't mind that I was there; it didn't hurt them at their hearts to see me stretched out on a hospital bed. I didn't have to be brave for them or console them or act all siff-upper-lippy. Really, it was lovely. All I had to do was lie in bed, eat and drink, read my books, and fill up my Foley bag. (Catheter, to the uninitiated.) And I was up to the task.

But I went home a day early. To a much less tidy room and a dearth of red Jell-O.

Currently, I'm spending a lot of time propped up in bed so as to adequately communicate the message that I'm not, at present, the go-to person for clean blue jeans or hairdo assistance or homework help or really, much of anything at all.

Here's the thing. I have limited theatrical experience, but I realize with teenagers and husbands, it is all about the staging. If this means that I move around normally after everyone leaves, and only start reclining in bed when my children and husband reappear on the scene, so be it. If it means that I continue to wear pajamas and bathrobes long after I can get back into my clothes, so be it. I have to communicate the message that this is the time to be kind to one's mother or the wife of one's bosom.

So yeah, I'm acting a little drama queeny. Let this be our little secret, internet.

OK, then. Now for my surgeon's report. They removed a 2 cm tumor from my right kidney. Apparently, my surgery was a model of deft, elegant minimalism. The tumor was removed in its entirety, with a nice clean margin all around it, indicating that They Got It All.

When art historians start blathering about "negative space," is this what they mean? (Don't answer that--my pain meds are starting to kick in. If you couldn't tell.)

Anyway, the survival rate for very small, encapsulated tumors like mine is about 99 percent. My surgeon tells me that there's a pretty good chance that I'll live for another 50 years. (OK, I think he was flattering me, or maybe my colorist is doing an even better job than I thought. I don't really think it's reasonable to suppose that I'll still be here when I'm 106 years old. I'm thinking of sticking around for another 40, and even that's pushing it.)

In the meantime, I'm starting to think of myself as Poppy Buxom, Cancer Survivor! With all the kick-assery that that entails.


  1. Congratulations! I'm glad you could have it laproscopically - much less pain and tiny scars.

    You go, girl!

  2. Congratulations, and I'm relieved to hear the outcome was ultimately a good one. Now relax, and let the family take care of you, and the laundry, and the dishes in the sink!

  3. Remind me next time I'm visiting.
    I'll kiss the trainer too.


  4. So happy here in Virginia! Do kiss that trainer.

  5. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  6. Gosh you are one lucky lady...
    take care and let others do for you now.
    Reign with conviction and you might be surprised at your power :-))

  7. You ARE kick ass! So glad for the good outcome. Let your trainer know that kisses from hundreds of people are coming his (her?) way!

  8. So very glad to learn you will be fine. You are the third person in the last 4 weeks to have "discovered" a malignant mass "by accident". My husband is one of them. And you are the third person to have it be completely removed with clear edges. Hooray!

  9. Happy to hear they got it all and you are well on the road to complete recovery! And take it from a theatre professional, you're right about staging and I encourage you to milk all the drama queen out of this situation that you can! You deserve it! Here's to a speedy and complete recovery!

  10. Great news Poppy, than you for filling us in and bask in that drama Queen glory for as much as you need to!

  11. Glad to hear it went well and that you kicked cancer's ASS! Knew you could do it. I just live over the WI border so if you need red Jello, let me know and I will deliver it. ;)

  12. So exceptionally happy that all was caught.

    And I wonder if even your decision to start on fitness was in some way your own spirit helping you find the problem.

    I'm allowed to say that, I'm from California:).

    Best of love, P. You Sarah Bernhardt around all you want. The usual HW constraints are fully inoperable.

  13. Sending wishes for a very speedy recovery!!!

  14. Tag!!! You're it! http://iamthemakeupjunkie.blogspot.com/2013/03/tag-confessions-of-blogger.html

  15. cancer sucks and i hope you're feeling better.

  16. So happy you kicked that growth away ! Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery !x

  17. I love your blog--you are a wonderful writer--and have been wondering where you were! And yes, that might be what art critics are talking about when they talk about negative space. I would know: I am such a blatherer myself. Let's not talk about volume versus line in negative space just now...

  18. No rush. Just wanted you to know that your 'voice' is missed.

    Heal up and come back!


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.