It’s been about seven weeks so far since Terry’s surgery for stage 4 bladder cancer. While for almost any other procedure seven weeks would be long enough to be recovered, for this type of invasive and dramatic surgery, he’s still weeks, if not months away from complete, or at least as complete a recovery as he’s physically able. He saw the surgeon who did his surgery last week, and he confirmed he still has a way to go.
But every week is a little better for him, and this week he even managed to get on the lawn mower. He didn’t last long on his first ride, but doing it in small batches allowed him to get it all mowed on his own. While I was happy to have the grass, that never really quit growing during our mild winter mowed, I was even happier that Terry felt he could do it. For him, it was proof that he’s starting to get some strength back. Given everything he’s been through, that’s saying something. His hair is starting to come back in, and like Sampson, he seems to derive his strength from his hair. It’s a visual validation he’s getting better.
I was talking to his sister today about what full recovery may mean for him. She said she’s hopeful when it’s all said and done he’ll feel like a new man. I understand her enthusiasm, but his reality is probably going to limit just how new he feels. He has substantial damage to his heart from a massive heart attack; his thyroid is gone due to cancer; and he’s down one adrenal gland. Add in getting his abdominal cavity rearranged, and he’s been through the proverbial wringer. All things considered, it’s amazing he’s able to get out of bed every day. So every day he does gets him that much closer to whatever recovery is possible.
The doctor who oversaw the chemo had him scheduled for a three month check at which point they would do labs, scans, and chest x rays. For reasons we’re not quite sure of, the surgeon does not want to wait that long. He’s moved it up almost six weeks, which is probably not a bad thing, but it is a curious thing. I think he’s finally on board with the understanding that nothing with Terry is easily done. Either the diagnosis, the treatment, or the recovery turns out to be problematic. For now, we aren’t going to worry about it, because he sees the cardiologist and the endocrinologist before he goes back to the urologist. Getting those “gists” in at once! It would be too much to ask for good reports all the way around, but we’ll work towards that.
For now, every day he is trying to do more is to his advantage. He may not be able to be who he once was, but it’s time for him to be who he’s going to be now. That’s a challenge he’s up for, and his baby steps will get larger in getting him there.