Excerpts from Napkin Notes:
I was quickly learning how much this battle would be a waiting game. I just wanted to get into the hospital and cut the cancer out of me. Instead, we had to wait until right before Christmas. I hated that this was overshadowing what was normally such a joyous time of year. My surgery was scheduled for December 20. Hopefully everything would go well and I would be back at home by the 22nd. It wouldn’t be a normal Christmas, by any means, but at least, God willing, we would be together. I purchased Christmas presents and helped to decorate the house.
One morning I paused as I watched Lissa washing dishes at the kitchen sink. I knew how heavily all of this was weighing on her. She was trying to be strong for everyone, keep the family running, and celebrate the holidays. I could tell her spirits were down. I walked over to her, hugged her tightly, and said, “I’m sorry. You didn’t sign up for this.” She replied, “Yes, I did. It was in the vows.” She didn’t even stop washing the dishes. Facing this would have been so much harder if I didn’t have Lissa by my side.
When surgery day arrived, Lissa of course accompanied me. As I was wheeled out of the pre- op room, someone put heated blankets on me. What a wonderful, cozy, and safe feeling! I was more than ready for this surgery. I was ready for this battle to be over. The surgery took longer than expected. The tumor had built a substantial network of blood vessels to feed it, and that network needed to be cut away. I woke up in the post- op room but was groggy. I was warm, and someone applied a cool washcloth to my forehead and neck. A nurse came by and asked if I had any pain. I apparently replied, as I pointed to Lissa, “Only a pain in my ass.” Thank goodness I was still under the effect of the anesthesia! But more important, I then realized I was still alive. Hopefully this nightmare would be over. I could go back to being a husband, father, son, brother, and employee. I was done being a patient.