Saturday, October 5, 2013

And Then The Pain Came - [Caution: graphic]

The last 24-hours have been the worst... the swelling and inflammation peaks on the 3rd day they say. I'm tending to agree. My body feels like a science experiment. 

When the physician pealed back my arm dressing to check on the "donor site" (the part of my arm that my tongue was rebuilt from), it looked like a kid got a hold of the power stapler... or Dr. Frankenstein was back in business...

My arms have appeared on the video sleeve for a best-selling massage video, Massage with Confidence. Guessing I won't be posing for the sequel any time soon. I'm still stunned though. Who would have thought that my left wrist, where I've worn watches for years to keep track of the pace of life would be the same tissue that would provide the substance of verbally describing that life one day, before others.

The tissue that volunteered to cover my forearm came from my think for a transplant. It's thin, but will grow layers and bulk up over time. Aggressive massage will help that tissue endure and replicate its cells, giving me durable service. They removed it with a "medical cheese grater", the surgeon said. Feels like it.

Over time, the thigh tissue should essentially resemble a bad case of localized "road rash", the kind you get from falling off of motorcycles that you own in college but keep a secret from your mother... but that's another story...

Over the years I've heard of people "fighting cancer" and never really understood what that meant. I thought they had to endure a little treatment that was uncomfortable or gave them flu-like symptoms. They had "The 'C' Word"...  I didn't ever connect to their journey. In reality, many were dealing with the ravages of the surgeries and aftermath of pain and changed bodies

My years as an autopsy assistant for the Thurston County Coroner gave me unique insights into the body and our fleshly existence on this earth. I walked away from that experience believing that our bodies are a "puppet" that we are issued at birth, designed to carry our spirits around on this earth. 

As I went to bed last night, I looked down on my finger and smiled, remembering the phrase, "E.T. phone home." It glowed... I wanted to say, "Bob, go home." I'm tired, but another 6-days until I get my release papers... In truth, I am still waiting on the comprehensive pathology report from my last surgery. It will be good with safe margins. There is no other option. Again, I am blessed, regardless of the outcome.

This morning, I'm off to a great start. I was able to shave, have a "sponge bath" and "chat" with my nurses as they reviewed my current condition. Using my laptop for communication is a godsend. Meet Kirsten (left) and Michelle (right)... They really do care. I don't think I've ever received more hugs at a hospital in my life.


  1. Bob, your story is so wonderfully inspiring. I do not have any medical problems (that I know of) but life has been dealing me some very negative things recently. You give me hope that it will all be OK.

  2. Please keep up your spirit in this amazing journey. Wounds will heal, scars will mend and the memory will fade as time goes on. Now, with that being said, we never forget. May God continue to bless you and heal you, inside and out. Always in my prayers!!!