After six harrowing months for Dianne, she finally has some good news. Her tumors have shrunk to the point that they have been able to schedule her surgery. It will be very extensive, with a long recuperation time.
We went to her surgeon’s office today. This woman is amazing. She is so focused, but at the same time so cognizant of Dianne’s needs for reassurance and some good news. Today, she said that she thought the spleen was no longer going to need to be removed. Her tumor that delayed the surgery for 8 weeks has shrunk, and the doctor said her organs seem to have more independent movement from the first exam. When she had her exploratory surgery in Nov., her organs in her lower abdomen were all pretty much stuck to each other by tumors. If the chemo has worked those tumors have shrunk enough to allow the freedom of movement Dr. Carroll noted today. She said to expect a long hospital stay-probably 10 days or more (that’s Dianne’s guess. The doctor wouldn’t give a number.)
And the crushing news of the day—she said Dianne probably wouldn’t get to work in her yard for several years due to the risk of picking up and infection or soil borne illness. She had so looked forward to retiring so she could garden and do all the fun stuff.
But we left the doctor’s office today and went straight to Home Depot where we bought flowers to plant in her yard.
A few years ago, I did a backyard makeover while she was away on vacation as a surprise birthday gift. She wants shrubbery in her front yard and an island of hydrangeas and hostas. So while she is recuperating, that’s my goal. She’ll be able to sit in her chair inside and see the flowers as they begin blooming.
We also went today to look for a new recliner and sofa for her den. If she’s going to be stuck inside, we want it to be pretty! We also drew off plans for a major remodel of her house, giving her a larger bedroom and a great bathroom/closet suite with a huge walk-in curbless shower, linen closet and a nice sized walk in closet. We’ll begin on this when she is far enough along in her recuperation to put up with moving out for a few weeks and staying with someone else. Mama says her, I say me!
Even if some or none of this comes about, I believe it’s that planning ahead and looking to a better future will serve her well in the coming months, and new furniture and flower beds will certainly lift her spirits.
I look forward to our girl trips together, even though they involve a doctor’s visit, and feel that our friendship and ‘sisterly love’ have benefited from this ordeal. If there is any way to find something positive about her being so sick, I think that is the lesson learned. We had let our girl trips lag, had become complacent in thinking there’s always another day to make that call, or visit, or road trip. Now we savor the thoughts of having the opportunity to do those things together. So, a word from someone who has learned the lesson-cherish those you love and never let the relationship fall to the wayside, whether it’s a family member or friend.