The last thing I want is to be a bore. (Not true; the last thing I want is another biopsy, but I think I made that pretty clear already.) However, I did leave my post last week on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I thought I would give an update on my medical progress before returning to regular programming.
First of all, hello, I’m still here. So that’s good news.
I reported to surgery last Thursday at 6 a.m. where I joined a group of about seven others scheduled for various procedures. We changed into our gowns (not together, obviously) and were escorted en masse to a staging area with numbered chairs and beds.
We each sat in our assigned place, and one after another we were approached by members of the surgical team who asked questions and then darted away. It was like speed dating but without the wine.
Eventually they called me in. I lay back on the table as everyone busied around me. A mask was placed on my face, something was injected, and I felt my soul being sucked out of me. It was just like when I watched The Girl on the Train a couple of nights later.
I woke up with six holes stapled shut across my abdomen and a tube inserted where no tube should ever be.
At the end of the afternoon, my doctor came by to tell me he was pleased with the surgery and that everything around my now non-existent prostate looked good. He also told me I didn’t have many lymph nodes to remove. So this: did you know people had varying numbers of lymph nodes? That seems a pretty imprecise way to run a human body.
I was released the next day. I’ll say this about hospitals: you don’t have to worry about a thing. They bring your food and pills, they check your vitals, and there are buttons to call for assistance or to adjust your position just so. By the second day, the nurses were quite interested in whether I had passed gas, but given that they discharged me before my having done so, maybe that was just personal curiosity.
So when I got home and had to do all these things myself, along with Deb and her amazing, patient care (in both senses of the word), I’ve tended to have had some down days.
Little things dragged me down. Fatigue, pain in my shoulders, not being able to do what I wanted, Phil Collins’ “One More Night” going through my head for, like, three straight days. The !$#?*! tube. General worrying about things. Have I passed gas? Have I passed too much gas? Is everything sterile? Is that even possible in this house?
Many kind and beautiful people read last week’s column and congratulated me on being brave, optimistic and good humoured about it all. Indeed, I should be ecstatic that the cancer is out of me. And I am certainly relieved. But I think I may also be in a kind of mourning for my old body before it betrayed me, my old life before it changed for good. Just because it’s good news doesn’t mean I’m not sad.
I actually hesitated putting my story out there, but now I’m so glad I did, because I’ve received so many messages of support, so many stories of people who have kicked cancer’s ass. And these never fail to revive me from my funk (a good shower also helps).
Emails, texts, comments, people stopping by.
Annis sharing her story about how leaving the body behind leads to greater faith in the spirit.
Sarah who offered to send me dried seal jerky “because nothing is as bad as that.”
Mark sending me a pic of his planned reading material (Hemingway, vintage Mad).
Altan confirming that the Western way of saying “no” by shaking one’s head back and forth has no meaning in Turkey.
Kim and Annie sending funny videos.
Andy popping in.
Mike dropping by with a card from my co-workers that made me tear up.
Steve and Karen knowing what fun can be had with helium balloons.
Rebecca openly cussing cancer.
Laurie calling me (more cussing).
My lovely family familying.
So many others, too many to name, so many kind thoughts and wishes from near and far. This has given me cheer. My body may have let me down, but my friends haven’t. This has been the best medicine.
And that is all.
Thank you for sharing your story and your feelings, Ross. Your writing is truly healing for many, I am sure, even if that is not necessarily your objective in publishing it. Best wishes to you and your family, and may you never have a need for that damn tube ever again.
Amen. Thank you, Catherine.
So glad to read that all went well, Ross, and I hope that you have a speedy recovery. Those cupcakes are awesome:)
Tasty as well. Thanks.
Happy to read the surgery went well. All the best for a speedy recovery! Cupcakes always help.
Indeed. Thanks, Susan.
Good luck from The States……..and I’m glad you passed gas.
It’s music to my ears.
“In the Air Tonight” Sorry to hear about the Phil Collins thing, sussaudio disorder, used to be considered a symptom of uric acid buildup, from eating seal jerky, but it’s now believed to be totally random. Glad to hear about what sounds like a very competent medical process, and a good recovery.
It’s coming along but will not be recommending to family and friends.
Not too surprised you’re not promoting this as a fun time. Kind of astonished you were stapled shut & sent home the next day, but that seems to be the current medical thinking.
Incredibly, they may have assumed there were fewer germs in my home than at the hospital.
YOU ARE LOVED, brother. Never forget it. Do you know who didn’t love you? Your prostate. And look what happened to it.
Those gowns are specially designed to prevent escape. So you’d better make up your mind before you get into one because after you do, it’s too late.
Re: hospital stays. A friend of mine was an RN in a poor neighborhood of Manhattan. They had a hard time getting people to leave. At the hosp, you’re fed regularly, have a clean bed and it’s quiet. Not so at home.
P.S. Eff you for the ear worm. Could’ve been worse, though. Could’ve been Sussudio.
And my insurance covered a semi-private room; my roommate was a quiet senior with a gentle wife. At home, I share the sofa with the dog.
The dog is key to your recovery. Something primal going on there. No doubt he (she?) knows you’re knocked back on the balls of your feet. They sense that and bring the healing doggy vibes.
so good to hear the positive results. ❤
It’s looking good. Thanks.
Your good news is great to hear, Ross.
Reblogged this on richwrapper and commented:
Ross Murray’s saga continues. I actually have a connection with the man: I spent slightly more than three years being Canadian. Free-state, kindergarten, First Grade and a small portion of Second Grade at Argentia Naval Air State (with a preliminary stop in Placentia), Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada. Loved every minute of it: even school (we had a playground in our classrooms in all three grades…each class was a whole wing of a regular-sized barracks wing!). When you consider Winter sometimes begins in August and ends sometimes in April, indoor recess facilities for elementary-aged youths are probably even more important than restrooms. And, Ross’ tales of prostate procedures perhaps even moreso.
Didn’t know my “reblog” of Ross Murray’s delightful – uggh! how can you say CANCER is delightful, you cad! Right on the cad part! but i must desist digress – accounts of Dealings With Prostate Cancer. I learned this much – and not much more, especially the part about “Duck!” – in the U. S. Marine Corps in combat: you gotta laugh at what you can not control. Who knows? I may even find my laughing self in front of an oncologist someday…Real Soon Now. Thanks, Ross.
Stay healthy, sir.
As I enter the Entropic part of my corporal existence, Ross, I so do endeavor. It now takes two ounces of alcohol (not every day of course, some days none and some days three) to get me where I want to go – thee produces headaches ofttimes. So I do not drive downtown – 1.5K but walk as I well might tip a stine en route back from the library and its internet…my computers are too young for The Web. My garden gives me three full seasons of veg and fruits abound – most on trees. No, guttermind, tomatoes do not grow on trees and I usually expect ripe ‘maters, peppers and other such belladona relatives up to 10 months of the year. Except for a few bits of North Vietnam metal peppering my body in inconvenient (to scratch) places I am most gratefully healthy. My bloodwork (done by a pal, a former active duty Marine now employed as a county health worker/consultant) reveals I have all but one blood pressure issue registering in the fine to exceptional categories. But there be buses…and trucks…and cars and I swim-walk uphill a mile-and-more back to the office from downtown…and when I work I get in upwards of 20 klicks (kilometers…and, why, pray, do all but Americans pronounce it Kill-ohm-eters and the rest of the world seems intent on mis-saying Killoh-meters?
That is good news Ross. Seems we humans save our best for the worst of times. I guess that is how it should be. I am pleased that you are surrounded by love and support!
Me too. Today I spoke to a college friend I haven’t spoken to in over 25 years. Why’d I wait. Thanks, Ilona.
So glad to have the update, Ross. Love it! Sending you hugs…
You had me cracking up. I’m no cancer survivor, so I’m not going to pretend I understand. Nor do I have a prostrate (coz I’m a woman :p) But I have beaten an autoimmune disease which my doctor said there is no cure for.
Your spirit is amazing. I’m sure there is nothing that you cannot trump. God be with you.
Thanks. The body is weird and amazing.
I don’t know about you, but If you’re anywhere my age, our bodies have been slowly letting us down for a few years now, right? I try to think of how much luckier I am than I’ll be twenty years from now. 🙂 Seriously, you have a wonderful voice. I wish you the best as you work your way through this.
Remember the phrase, “It gets better”? It don’t. I’m hoping there’s at least a tradeoff for enlightenment. Thanks for the kind words.
Dealing with a loss in our family the last couple of weeks, so I completely missed your posts on this. I’m so glad the prognosis is good, Ross and as usual, your humor carries the day. So glad you had the support and love to get through this. Best wishes, Michelle.
Thanks, Michelle. I wish you all the best as well.
Content que tu ailles bien. All the best.
it is good to know that the operation went well. I understand that post operation time and coping up with the changes takes a lot of courage but I know you will be able to do that. loads of good wishes to you and your family.
Thanks. I have great support.
I’m sorry to hear some of your organs had to leave, but they really didn’t keep the best company, apparently, so it’s better that way. Hopefully, this is the last time you have to hear the word “cancer”, or whatever was that new brand name that it tried to establish that totally didn’t catch on.
Glad your doing well and keeping us updated.
Quick recovery is your portion.
Thanks for checking in.
Had RALP done 10/10, going back to work today. Still wearing maxi-pads, oops, we manly men cal them guards’ 😉
Not much fun, but I do enjoy the ‘cachet’ of being a two-time cancer survivor. Not so keen on the ED thing…
Anyway, we’re still here and grumbling, that counts for something, right?
Hang in there, Bro’.
Thanks. You sound like a tough mother (father?). I’m still hooked up to my catheter and have not yet experienced the joys of the dribble. Best to you.
I looked and looked for a Hallmark card that would be appropriate but, apparently, no one could think of a word that rhymes with prostate. That being said, be well, my friend, and know that there are a lot of folks near and abroad (perhaps even a broad) who have you in their thoughts. Meanwhile, I’m going to contemplate a rhyme for prostate… hey, wait…
Thanks, Ned. Doing all right.
Sometimes the hesitation in wanting to share a story is proof enough that the story needs to be shared. So glad to hear that everything went smoothly and that you had such an awesome and foul mouthed support system!
Thanks. This week marks two years since the ordeal began, and I am doing well.
so glad to see you in writing, even if you are a bit lighter than before. good to get rid of that unwanted baggage and leave it behind. each day will get a bit better. it’s like when you have that old ford pinto wagon and you come to a. point that the faux wood on the side isn’t really needed, and just take the whole thing off, a bit lighter, but less to attend to and worry about. i’m guessing your prostate was even better looking than a fake pinto wagon ‘wood-ish’. panel, so that’s a compliment. damn bodies! glad you’re okay and hope you feel better soon.
Well, this was a year and a half ago, so all good so far. Prostate? What prostate?
ah, that explains my confusion, as I thought you had already lost it. luckily they don’t grow back