Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In the flesh

Post Thanksgiving reality is a different bird.

The Surgery Program for Patients - was to me, a drop in session on what is going to happen to me in the surgery. Drop in, grab some papers, and git.

Well no. Actually it is part of the Cancer Survivorship Program - which was my first real entree into the life that lays ahead, surrounded by 12 other women also on this journey. 5 years. It is a 5 year program. 5 years. They are setting you up for the long haul. I think that came as a surprise to us all.  Small forests have been killed to provide us all with a very comprehensive package of great information.
  • Important telephone numbers for your medical "team"
  • Facts about...lymphedema, nutrition...
  • Rehab after surgery
  • Social Services for families
  • Your Emotions, etc
  • Pain management techniques
  • Activities for children and parents when a parent has cancer
  • Discharge Instructions
There are classes / information sessions on every aspect of this scourge- nutrition, pain management, therapy - mental or physical, social workers on how to help your kids, how to help your parents...it is a huge and may I say very comfortable safety net. When I left the 2 hour session which explain in gory and somewhat nauseating detail the entire procedure, I was met by a survivor - as were we all. She introduced herself to me, and said, "Hi Kate, you are going to be ok" - and handed me my next appointment sheet with the Survivorship Program. She also gave me the number for the Canadian Cancer Society so I can call and get a free "pillow" - apparently they also give our free boobs - prosthetics - if you need em. The nurse indicated they were "crude" but fit the bill.  And if there is anything you cannot afford, there is a generous donor in the wings who will provide you with - wig, boob, pillow.

Incisions, drains, staples vs steristrips, what door to come in, what to bring, sentinel vs axillary nodes, regaining movement in your arm, what to eat, how to position your pillows, it was all covered.

Essentially there is little chance in this environment to not feel compelled forward - to move through it, because everyone around you is too. OK, in a bewildered fashion. But the staff are really truly amazing. It is like being welcomed to a family, a sad but not emotionally attached but caring and eminently capable family.

Onwards.

3 comments:

Haideh said...

I admire your spirit Kate.

Anonymous said...

Second that! :-) Lots of Love V xx

Anonymous said...

Great to hear there is so much support and information.

love to you Kate,

Gabrielle